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“Down Home” BACK PAGES 4/17/01


BACK PAGES 4/17/01

Hello Again!

It always seems to me that this time of year should be quiet…like waiting for the ground to awaken to Spring after the long Winter’s rest… It never works that way for Breezy Ridge! This time of the year is always crazy! We have had booths at three shows since the middle of January: The NAMM Show in Anaheim, California; The Folk Alliance in Vancouver, BC, Canada and MusikMesse in Frankfurt, Germany! And next week, it’s off to Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina! What is it they say, “No rest …”

NAMM, Anaheim, California

If you don’t know what NAMM is, the letters represent “National Association of Music Merchants” and it is the American-based music trade show. It was the first year that the show returned to Anaheim from a four year stint in Los Angeles…we were glad to be back! The work that has been done on and around the Convention Center–tying it in with all the new construction in the Disneyland area of Anaheim–made it even more of a winter paradise for these kids from Pennsylvania than normal!

Our booth is very comfortable and “low-key” by comparison to some of the other booths at the show which more closely resemble home constructions! We got to touch base with old and new dealers and wholesalers from all over the world and to show off our new “Li’l Nipper™ String Winder and Cutter” and the “K’Saire™ Humidifying System“! We also told them about this website…sharing with them our hope to have every dealer in the world listed here who carries our strings. They were really enthusiastic about that and have been helping us to update the information there!!

In addition to visiting with old friends, it also gives us a chance to make new ones, sometimes finally meeting in person someone with whom we have been dealing by phone, fax or internet!

Here’s a photo of John with ISATO NAKAGAWA, a wonderful musician and guitarist from Japan who also happens to be one of our Endorsees! He was at the show doing demonstrations for Martin Guitars and it was wonderful to finally meet him!

The strangest thing about NAMM is that it is very difficult to get to see the rest of the show because you are so busy on your own booth!

The Folk Alliance, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Folk Music is very close to the heart of Breezy Ridge– John is as much a collector of folk music as he is a performer, song writer and author! I was raised on Traditional Music and also like to write my own songs! But you can not imagine what one of the Folk Alliance Conferences is like until you have been to one! The best thing I can do is refer you to their website–just take a LOOK at the schedule for the Vancouver Conference. And as if there weren’t enough scheduled programs and workshops, there were hundreds of informal showcases and impromptu jam sessions all over the hotel… everything from Old Time Music to Japanese drumming! Here’s our friend and Endorsee Frank Lee with Rayna Gellert early one evening on the Second Floor!Where was my Hammer Dulcimer?!

The “Folk Alliance” Conference is a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and play catch-up! Here are some of the friends I had the opportunity to hear during the conference–and get pictures too!

David Rea, guitarist and singer and Endorsee, introduced a song by telling some tall tale during a showcase late one evening! It was wonderful to see him again and to realize how many of the players who attended use our strings!

Kim and Reggie Harris are long time friends from Pennsylvania! They were just wonderful during the Saturday Night “Singer/Songwriter” Folk Alliance Showcase–so honest, and passionate!! Reggie has been using our strings and Studio Flat Picks forever! It was wonderful to see and hear them again!

The Hawaiian Slack Key Tour included Vancouver as its last stop–lucky Folk Alliance!! George Kahumoku Jr, an Endorsee, and his son Keoki Kaliko Kahumoku, Ledward Kaapana and Princess Owana Kaohelelani Salazar played several showcases and gave us all a breath of the Islands before they left to return home! They each sang and played individually as well as with the ensemble, including 12 string guitar, 6 string guitar, ukulele and the Hawaiian Lap Steel which Owana played with one of John’s Thermo-Cryonic Tone Bars!! It was the first time for me to meet them–and it was a pleasure!

Keoki, who played Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele as well as singing, gifted me this orchid lei at the end of the Saturday night Concert!

Art Turner lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has been using and endorsing our strings for several years! Accompanied in the Folk Alliance “Folk Smorgasbord” Showcase by bassist Michael Manring and violinist Oliver Schroer, here he performed a solo piece on Saturday Night! After listening to and enjoying his sensitive recordings, it was wonderful to finally get to see him perform and to meet him!

The Band “Zubot and Dawson” come from Vancouver so they were right at home performing on Saturday Night, in the Folk Alliance “Singer/Songwriter” Showcase. Framed by the percussion of Elliot Polsky and the integrated bass of Marlow Holder, Jesse Zubot’s mandolin and fiddle and Steve Dawson’s guitar and acoustic slide guitar is some of the tastiest music I’ve heard! They call their music “STRANG music”…and it works! Steve endorses our strings and uses them on his guitars!

I did get to meet and talk with many of the performers who use and endorse John Pearse® Strings at our Booth in the Exhibit Hall. It’s always exciting to talk to performers who have, as yet, not yet tried our strings and to see if we have what they need! Some new names will be appearing on the Endorsees page before too long!

Frankfurt Musikmesse

The Musikmesse is the largest music trade show in the World! If it has anything to do with music, you will be able to find it there! Everything from Accordians to Zithers! We participate in the United States Pavillion so it is always busy! Not only does it allow us to show our products to stores and wholesalers from around the world, it lets us speak to many musicians who either are demonstrating at the show or come to the show during the public days. All in all, the five full days are hectic…and, of course, add in the transatlantic flights and time changes, well–talk about exhausted!!!

It’s hard to believe we are about ready to leave for Merlefest…we have one of the booths in the Sponsor’s Tent there. In addition to being one of the Corporate Sponsors of Merlefest, we sponsor the “Americana” Stage and the “Heritage Crafts” Tent. Sort of goes along with the things we feel are important! Hope we can see you there!

We have some wonderful new products which should be up on the web in the next month or so, so come back and visit us soon!


Mary Faith

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