The Public 16 October 2010
The large pink doors admittedly put me off at first but in for a penny in for a pound, the staff at the front desk were very helpful and enthusiastic I paid my entry fare and stepped forward not knowing what to expect I had seen cigar box guitar players on youtube and I was fascinated, the music hit a chord in my very being(sorry obvious pun) I wanted to meet these people that built their own instruments and sang their songs that harkend back to another time and place, Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters,Bo Diddly, people of modest means who went on to greatness they could'nt buy a Fender or a Gibson but they did'nt let that stop them from sharing the burning in their soul they built instruments from cigar boxs, broom sticks, wood slats, bits of metal and whatever else they could find making not only guitars but diddly bows, dulcimers, mandolins, and they made music.
I came to Bromwich to see with my own eyes the people that made the music.As soon as I walked out of the lift I was met by one ChickenBoneJohn and welcomed with open arms into a community happening evolving around me, at the front of the room a movie/documentary was just winding down but I was assured it would be played again later on in the day John then informed me that I had shown up just in time for the players clinics where we could learn from established players the ways of the cigar box I was fortunate enough to have a session with HOLLOWBELLY and personally I believe that alone was worth the price of admission a half hour of instruction from a recorded artist and all around decent person. I also found that these people are not just rehashing the old tunes but writing new ones painting the pictures of life with the colours of thier own soul.After an enjoyable time of instruction was Roostermans "HowTo Build A Cigar Box Guitar" seminar a gifted speaker and wood worker he went through the details of breathing life into one of these magnificent constructions creativity buzzed through the room like a willow the wisp jumping from person to person the entire time spent there I did'nt hear a single cross word or witness one act of character assasination that you see so often with musicians it is a full bodied community that took me in and nourished me.
The events were well planned, the speakers were entertaining and informative and the open mike portion of the day was very enjoyable I only regret that I had to pack up and head back to Stafford before the concerts got underway. My thanks go out to ChickenBoneJohn, RandyRoosterman HOLLOWBELLY Tinqui8 Bluesbeaten Redshaw Dogfinger and everyone else that made me feel so welcome