Stephen Bennett | Good Wood

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Folk: Fingerstyle Easy Listening: American Popular Song Moods: Instrumental
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Good Wood

by Stephen Bennett

A musical celebration of the 100th birthday of my great-grandfather's harp guitar. This truly magical instrument turned 100 in 2009 and so I used it to perform this collection of harp guitar solos. And - my great grandfathe makes an appearance as well..
Genre: Folk: Fingerstyle
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Beale Street Blues
2:03 $0.99
2. Cielito Lindo
2:58 $0.99
3. We Shall Overcome
2:57 $0.99
4. Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
2:45 $0.99
5. Down By the Old Mill Stream
2:22 $0.99
6. On The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
2:03 $0.99
7. Londonderry Aire
3:06 $0.99
8. Home On the Range
2:41 $0.99
9. Shenandoah
2:32 $0.99
10. Gentle Annie
2:15 $0.99
11. Aunt Lu's Waltz
3:18 $0.99
12. Simple Gifts
2:04 $0.99
13. Whiffenpoof Song
1:35 $0.99
14. Hard Times
3:24 $0.99
15. Star Spangled Banner
1:14 $0.99
16. I've Got To Powder My Nose
0:34 $0.99
17. Rolling To the Sea
1:55 $0.99
18. The Bachelor
2:31 $0.99
19. Reprise (Bonus Track)
0:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This project is called GOOD WOOD because I think that is truly part of what makes the particular instrument celebrated here – my great-grandfather’s harp guitar - sing out so beautifully.

A well-built guitar often can sound great when new, but when combined with the aging process of a century, there is potential for real magic.

My harp guitar was very well built to begin with. It turned 100 this year – 2009 – and it is one of those instruments that have the magic. If you consider the likelihood that the wood for this instrument was cut a few decades prior to 1909 and then set aside for seasoning, that suggests that the trees providing that wood started life several centuries earlier, perhaps more. Good wood indeed!

My great-grandfather played it for many years, for fun and for part of his livelihood. He played in bars in the Yukon, in the pool halls on Pike Street in Seattle, and on the radio in Portland, Oregon in the 1930s. This was on a radio show on KGW called the Hoot Owl Radio Hour. Another Hoot Owl, incidentally, was Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny and many other cartoon characters). I love the imagery of my great-grandfather in a radio station in front of the microphones with Mr. Blanc sitting next to him, entertaining the folks of the Pacific Northwest. I don’t know if in fact they worked together at the same time, but it’s entirely possible.

On only one occasion, in 1965, on a family trip back to Oregon when I was 9 years old, I got to hear my great-grandfather playing. I have only the dimmest of memory of that, so I can’t say it directly inspired me in any way.

The instrument itself however, inspires abundantly. It is a magical sound, as any guitar player who tries it soon discovers. Indeed, I fell in love with it immediately, and I still am…

After 2 decades of writing and performing on various harp guitars, I wanted to celebrate this birthday with a project of tunes that would have either been around in 1909 when this, my first harp guitar, began its life. The only exception is Aunt Lu’s Waltz, which I wrote. Lu (my Mom’s younger sister), along with my uncles, kept the harp guitar safe for the 20 years after Gonky died (this was my great-grandfather’s nickname – apparently because Augie and Gonky were the closest my mother could get to pronouncing Grandma and Grandpa when she was a toddler), as well as hanging onto the old family house on the Oregon Coast where the harp guitar spent many years. Other than this one tune for Lu, the newest music here is from 1916.



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