There is an LA Times article about the coming of the Cigar Box Revolution, it has been years in the making by many dedicated builders and musicians.
It mentions a great artist and luthier John Lowe who is at the forefront of this movement and who happens to be a good friend of mine.
John’s work is special because he focuses on two things: his music and the instrument (the cigar box guitar) he is becoming synonymous with, and builds at his Xanadu music in Memphis,TN.
John makes great music and his work on the instruments he builds is detailed and finely crafted.
What is also special is that John has the niche of the niche. First, though the cigar box nation is getting its due, the cigar box genre is very specified and a niche. It is getting its just attention because the artists in this unique genre are all also each unique in their own right which makes for an interesting mix. What makes John even more special is that he is considered a master builder, perhaps the seminal master builder, and is also a prolific artist himself. John has taken what was once considered a thrown together “diddly bo ” of sorts and turned it into a fire breathing, growling electric monster of a guitar.
Where this applies to the general theme of this blog is this: John Lowe has found his own niche and something he feels passionate about. John exemplifies this passion in his work which has been played by everyone from Kid Rock to Lyle Lovett. John Lowe is an iconoclast in a small world of iconoclasts.
Where this can apply to the general theme of this blog, the INDIE artist, is this: John Lowe is not afraid to be himself.
So many artists today, many times the younger ones but also the older ones are as guilty, think their road on the artistic highway is paved with bad imitation or mirroring something someone else has done, most likely better than they ever will. This is why the internet is so cluttered with wanna-be this or wanna-be that and the real artists, those unafraid to be unique, truly provocative, or just damn good get cluttered into this mix. Here is why.
Great music rises on its own. Though there is a bunch of chatter coming out of the box the real words do escape through it for that simple reason, they are real. Steven Tyler said about someone one “You sang that like you wrote it.” Originality and passion show immediately and separates the wheat from the chaff. So you Go on John Lowe with your Bad Self!
The lesson: unto thyself be true.
Go practice your…er…cigar box Guitar!