A few weeks back, we talked to Keith Calton, founder of Calton Cases (Fretboard Journal Podcast, Ep. 313). Keith, as you hopefully know, perfected a fiberglass "flight case" design decades ago that is still used by touring artists around the world.
This week, we're talking to Calton's current owner, Austin, Texas' Jeff Poss. Jeff explains how he ended up in the musical instrument industry, the evolution of Calton's construction over the years, their current-day output (including the non-guitar cases they produce) and much more.
Bob Minner returns to the Fretboard Journal Podcast to walk us through his new album, SOLO. Recorded entirely on the newly-announced Collings CJ-45 T, the album is a must-listen for Collings fanatics or anyone who appreciates great flatpicking.
During the chat, Bob tells us how he's spent the last year off the road (he's usually found backing Tim McGraw on acoustic guitar, a job he's held for nearly three decades) and walks us through his home recording setup. We talk about Bob's love for slope-shouldered guitars, his appreciation for both boutique and vintage instruments (including "Frankie," his cherished 1936 Martin D-18), and why he dedicated a song to Collings employee (and former FJ Podcast guest) Bruce VanWart. Plus a lot more.
https://www.teegardenaudio.com (Bob used the PPC-125 mics, and the 2100 pre)
Today, some of the world's most valuable acoustic and electric instruments are protected by Calton Cases. What you may not realize is the colorful history of the case company or its founder, Keith Calton. On today's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Calton about his unlikely entry into the musical industry some 50 years ago, when he came up with the brilliant idea of a fiberglass guitar case and began tracing friends' instruments in his father's garage. Somehow, he stumbled upon a timeless (and nearly indestructible) design that is still considered the gold standard of flight cases. And, though he no longer owns the case company (it's going strong and is now based out of Austin, Texas), he's still hard at work making stuff out of fiberglass... these days for boat owners.
We'll be interviewing Jeff Poss, current owner of Calton Cases, on a future episode.
Until we can convince legendary live sound engineer Robert "Nitebob" Czaykowski to host his own podcast, we'll just keep inviting him back onto the Fretboard Journal Podcast. This time around, Nitebob regales us with tales of early NAMM Shows, working with the New York Dolls, getting fired mid-concert, and more. We also hear more about his work for Walter Becker of Steely Dan, his advice for bands on the road, discover the one guitar brand he's not a fan of and much more.
If you missed Nitebob's first appearance on the Fretboard Journal Podcast, check it out here: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/podcasts/podcast-301-robert-nitebob-czaykowski/
Johnny Sangster of Seattle's Crackle & Pop! studio joins us this week to walk musicians through some home and studio recording basics. Johnny will be the host of our newest Fretboard Journal Podcast, the Truth About Recording & Mixing. This all-new show aims to demystify the world of recording and will feature Sangster and an array of world-class engineers, producers and mastering experts fielding your questions on recording gear, technique and more. It's inspired by our extremely popular Truth About Vintage Amps Podcast and we can't wait to share it with you. Launches late January 2021.
Submit your questions or voice memos for Johnny to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to the Truth About Recordings & Mixing via Apple Podcasts here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-truth-about-recording-mixing/id1545628110
Martin’s Custom Shop is a unique anomaly: Within their large Nazareth, Pennsylvania production facility, a small crew of luthiers builds completely custom, one-off guitars for discerning customers around the world. From personalized inlays and wood choices to double-neck Martins (!!), nothing seems off-the-table. On this week’s podcast, we bring back one of our favorite guests, Fred Greene (Vice President of Product Management for C.F. Martin & Co.), to talk about the Custom Shop, the ordering process and what Martin will (and won’t) build. We also have a candid talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Martin’s 2020 output and get some hints at what new products they’ll be unveiling at the virtual 2021 NAMM Show.
Get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine and support independent publishing and this podcast.
Danny Barnes returns to the Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the making of his 2020 Grammy-nominated album, Man on Fire (ATO). The album is full of surprising twists, right down to the lineup: Bill Frisell, Dave Matthews and John Paul Jones all make appearances. We talk to Barnes about the making of the Man on Fire, how he met Jones, and learn a bit about his creative process (beyond banjo playing and songwriting, Barnes is a talented visual artist and cartoonist). It's a great chat with one of our favorite boundary-pushing musicians.
Danny's Music page: https://dannybarnes.com/
Danny's Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/isotope709?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=911282867
Danny's interview with Bill Frisell for the FJ's fourth issue: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/columns/listen-danny-barnes-new-awful-strange/
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Jordan Tice and Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids join us on this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the making of Tice’s 2020 album, Motivational Speakeasy. The Pattengale-produced solo album is noteworthy not just for Tice’s always-exceptional playing and vocals, but also for its stripped-down beauty. It’s one of our favorite albums of 2020.
During the call, we hear about the songs on the album, Pattengale’s recording process and Tice’s latest guitar acquisition (yes, he's doubled his guitar collection). Pattengale - at the time hunkered down in a cabin in Eastern Canada - also hilariously describes the pandemic project he picked up in 2020, plus a lot more. It's a fun chat about the making of a great acoustic album.
Note: We've included a track from Motivational Speakeasy on our new Thirty for 2020 Spotify playlist, filled with some of our favorite songs from the year.
Recorded November 11, 2020.
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We make a rare exception on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast and talk to a drummer! Percussionist / singer-songwriter Joachim Cooder joins us to talk about his new album, Over that Road I'm Bound: The Songs of Uncle Dave Macon. It's a captivating collection of Macon songs performed on a rather unlikely instrument, the electric mbira. Joachim is also joined by his dad, Ry Cooder, on the banjo; Rayna Gellert on fiddle, Juliette Commagere on vocals; and Sam Gendel on bass-guitar hybrid.
During our chat, we hear about Joachim's first exposure to the music of Uncle Dave Macon as a kid, his own daughter's infatuation with this material, the versatility of the electric mbira, his pedal board of choice and a lot more. Whether or not you're a fan of Macon's decades-old original recordings, we can't recommend this new album enough.
Get a gift subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine and help support independent publishing.
Nels Cline joins us on this week’s podcast to discuss his new double-album on Blue Note, Share the Wealth. Share the Wealth finds Nels alongside the powerhouse lineup of Scott Amendola, Skerik, Trevor Dunn, Brian Marsella and Cyro Baptista. Inspired by the cut-up recording methods of Os Mutantes and influenced at least a bit by Miles Davis' electric period, it's one of his wildest projects to date. During our chat, we also talk gear (including the guitar that is closest to his heart while he’s quarantining during the pandemic, his pedal board and more), collaborator Julian Lage, forthcoming Wilco recordings and more. It’s a fun conversation with a Fretboard Journal favorite.
Author and guitar collector John Stubbings joins us for a very special episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast to read from his monumental book, The Devil Is In It: A Story of Love, Obsession, and the American Acoustic Guitar. This hefty, slipbound-cased tome is equal parts history lesson, art book and memoir, showcasing John's love for the modern lutherie movement and all things acoustic guitar. It also features exquisite illustrations from FJ contributor Drew Christie.
Listeners to the podcast can get a 50 GBP discount if they order now by using the discount code LONDON. Click here.
On his latest release, 'I Love You,' Kevin Breit does something truly monumental: 30 covers of his favorite songs performed entirely on vintage, mandolin family instruments. Performing all the parts, Breit himself becomes a one-man-band mandolin orchestra, while a different guest vocalist appears on each tune.
It's just the latest brilliant idea to come from the Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist and mandolin player. Over the years, Breit has backed the likes of Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Cassandra Wilson and Hugh Laurie. He's also released some truly high concept solo albums and 2019's 'Stella Bella Strada,' where he showcased his latest custom guitar from builder Joe Yanuziello.
During this week's podcast, we talk to Breit about his love for the mandolin, hear about the cool-looking pickups that inspired the 'Stella Bella Strada' album and much more.
This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases.
Kevin Breit's 'I Love You' (Bandcamp)
Guitarist and composer Jim Fox has backed dozens of vocal luminaries over the years, including Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Rosemary Clooney and Dean Martin. During this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk about his start in music, attending Berklee, his early stint backing Bobby Vinton, and the numerous years he spent accompanying Frank Sinatra, Jr. We also talk about Fox's jazz albums, his friendship with late studio legend Bob Bain, and his obsession with the archtop guitars of Australian luthier Steve Gilchrist.
The Fretboard Journal Podcast is sponsored by Mono Cases. Want to support the show? Get a digital or print subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine. Digital subscriptions are just $30 per year.
The Fretboard Journal Podcast is sponsored by Mono Cases.
Steve McCreary is the GM of Collings Guitars and Mandolins and one of the most respected members of the musical instrument industry. Since joining Collings in 1992, he's helped helm the Austin, Texas-based company's growth into mandolins, electric guitars, and – most recently – their more affordable Waterloo line of instruments.
During this lengthy interview, we hear about Steve's unique background (he's a former stonemason), what it was like to work with the late Bill Collings (a larger-than-life character) and how the company is navigating the COVID crisis through 2020 and beyond. We also talk about Collings' ongoing collaboration with guitarist Julian Lage, hear about the '70s and '80s Austin music scene, and a lot more
If you enjoy in-depth interviews with the people behind your favorite guitars, we’d love your support. Get a digital subscription to the Fretboard Journal for just $30 (click here) or a keepsake print edition subscription (click here). We know you'll love it.
Fretboard Journal #46 just mailed and our next issue will be out in early December 2020. Subscribers also get subscriber-only perks.
Previous Collings Interviews:
Bill Collings on the Fretboard Journal Podcast (link)
Bruce VanWart of Collings on the Fretboard Journal Podcast (link)
Our tribute to Bill Collings in the Fretboard Journal magazine (link)
Robert "Nitebob" Czaykowski is a legendary rock & roll sound engineer. For nearly 50 years, he's done front-of-house mixing for musicians both famous and infamous, consulted with musical instrument companies (there's a "Nitebob" setting on Fender Cyber-Twins), worked as a gear tech, and even served as Walter Becker's de facto "guitar pimp." During this sprawling talk (hopefully the first of many), Nitebob reflects upon years working for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Steely Dan, Lez Zeppelin, and REM (to name a few), talks about his early love for the guitar, explains what makes a great live mix and so much more. We think you'll love getting to know Nitebob.
Support our show with a subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine (get our digital/PDF version or the keepsake print edition). Our new, 46th issue is now mailing featuring John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash, Hubert Sumlin, luthier Steve Grimes and many other guitar greats.
Links mentioned: Nitebob on Roadie Free Radio; Nitebob on Joseph Arthur's Come to Where I'm From; Satellite Amplifiers on the Truth About Vintage Amps Podcast; and the Fretboard Journal's tribute to the guitars of Walter Becker.
For our 300th episode, we're mixing things up with an informal Zoom conversation with two of our favorite people, jazz guitarists Bill Frisell and Anthony Wilson. During this hour-plus chat, these two friends riff on influences, the Los Angeles jazz scene, Dennis Budimir, Gerald Wilson (Anthony's dad), Gabor Szabo, and so much more.
Watch Bill Frisell perform alongside Dennis Budimir and Bob Bain here.
We are also sponsored by Izotope. Use the coupon code RUIN10 at izotope.com/ruinous to save 10% off any order.
The Fretboard Journal's new 46th issue is now available, with features on John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash, Hubert Sumlin and much more. Order or subscribe via this link.
Guitar great Adam Miller joins us once again (he originally appeared on Fretboard Journal Podcast #240) to talk about the making of his fantastic new electric album, Unify. Miller has had quite an interesting year: He and his wife were all set to relocate to Los Angeles full-time when COVID hit and sent him back home to Australia. He recounts how Unify came together, the influence his California time had on the album and why he decided to re-record its guitar parts. We also hear about Adam's current gear of choice and a lot more.
Check out fretboardjournal.com for a new video featuring Adam playing the track "Leaving" from his new album.
With Beginners (ANTI- Records), Christian Lee Hutson released one of our favorite records of 2020, so it only felt fitting to invite this Los Angeles-based musician back on the Fretboard Journal Podcast. During our chat, Hutson talks about the making of his album (including his previous failed attempts to record these songs); overcoming self-doubt; working alongside Phoebe Bridgers (who ended up producing Beginners and appearing on it); taking up the clarinet and flute in the middle of the pandemic and much more.
On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, Jason checks in with luthier and fellow podcaster, Michael Bashkin. It's an unfiltered and fun chat about the boutique guitar industry at large, the annual output of an independent solo maker, Michael's Luthier on Luthier Podcast and a lot more. Jason also asks Michael about guitar shows, Moon spruce and the realities of building production guitars overseas. It's a nearly 90-minute look at the state of the handmade guitar market.
Luthier on Luthier on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/luthier-on-luthier-with-michael-bashkin/id1208172851
Beginning in March of 2020, while most of the world was in lockdown mode due to COVID, Daniel Romano did something truly remarkable: He began releasing an album nearly every week on his Bandcamp page.
On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to the Canadian musician about his prolific output this year: from a track-by-track re-creation of Bob Dylan's Infidels album played as if the Plugz were Dylan's backing band, to his British folk-inspired Alias Ensemble album, and all points in-between. We hear about some of the self-imposed rules he gives himself when recording, his current gear of choice, his forthcoming (ninth) album for 2020, 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' (out Sept. 18, 2020 on You've Changed Records) and a lot more. Romano is one of our favorite musicians and it was great to get a peek at his creative process.
Further reading: The story of the Plugz and Bob Dylan's appearance on Letterman.
This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Mono Cases.
Support the podcast by picking up a PDF or print subscription to the Fretboard Journal.
For forty years, Bruce Harvie (Orcas Island Tonewoods) has carved out a nice existence for himself in the instrument making world as a tonewood supplier. His one-man operation is based in one of the most beautiful spots in North America (Washington State's San Juan Islands), where he sells spruce, redwood and other raw materials to mandolin and bowed instrument makers around the world. He's also a prolific musician.
Musician and singer-songwriter Mac McAnally has led quite a life: As a teenager, he was a studio musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, able to jump from between sessions and studios as an in-demand acoustic guitarist. He soon started writing songs, got a record deal of his own and penned hit songs for Jimmy Buffett, Alabama, and other top country acts. Since 1994, he's played guitar in Buffett's Coral Reefer Band.
As you'll hear on this podcast, McAnally is as humble as it gets, but he's also a ten-time CMA Musician of the Year winner. In 2007, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
McAnally just released his latest solo record, Once in a Lifetime. On this week's podcast, he recounts his early days in the Muscle Shoals scene, tells about his gear of choice (including his cherished, slot-head Martin guitar), and we talk about the making of the new album.
As a kid, guitarmaker Sherwood "Woody" Phifer would tinker with everything, from model airplanes to his high school track shoes. "I would look at something and I'd be redesigning it as I was looking at it," he says. Eventually, he was taking guitars apart, which led to him building his own instrument and stumbling upon Charles LoBue's Guitar Lab in 1970. Within a couple of visits to that influential NYC shop, he found his passion for lutherie and his life's calling. During this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, Phifer tells us about that fateful trip to Guitar Lab (a shop that employed soon-to-be-legendary employees Larry DiMarzio, Charles LoBue, Ralph Novak and Steve Kauffman), walks us through some of his thoroughly original creations (including his archtop guitars, his chambered-body electrics, his unique bridge system and more), and describes what it's like to be one of the only Black guitarmakers in the country.