STRINGS & THINGS

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I love guitars! Banjos, mandolins, violins, viola de gambas! Not only do I get to photograph the musicians that make music on these amazing stringed creations, but I also get to work with the especially talented, thoughtful and gifted folks that design and build the instruments that allow musicians to make the noise that we call MUSIC! I recently had the opportunity to document a few of the latest guitars from Pennsylvania luthier Matt Artinger and some stunning banjos from Beltsville, Maryland based Kevin Enoch! Not only are these amazingly beautiful bits of musical eye candy, but they all sound as good as they look. photo Artinger Guitar  photo copyright Michael G. Stewart37.jpg photo Artinger Feb. 2014 copyright photo Michael G Stewart087.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart110.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart009.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart008.jpg photo Artinger Feb. 2014 copyright photo Michael G Stewart105.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart012.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart020.jpg photo Artinger Guitar  photo copyright Michael G. Stewart88.jpg
My personal favorite- “The Tokyo Rosie” but, then again, it would be! I got to lend a small hand in the design of this one- Billy Gibbons, eat your heart out! ( now I just need some folks to play with- )

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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

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From ancient petroglyphs to modern jumbotrons, man has felt compelled to leave a sign of his passing upon the landscape. While I usually focus heavily on neon, I also love ghost signs, graffiti and just about any other artistic mark that humans leave upon their environment, especially where it concerns commerce.
Here are a few more from our trip through Arizona and New Mexico. photo a sign blog1.jpg
Try as I might, I just can’t get away from those damn banjos!! photo a blog sign3.jpg
It is actually “Barn” Again, (In a barn) next to the Burger Boy photo a blog sigtn2.jpg
Just great vintage neon photo a blog sign6.jpg
I don’t think this development ever really got off the ground- (alongside an abandoned stretch of old Route 66) photo a blog sign5.jpg
**** note the strange little box in the right hand corner*** photo a blog sign 8.jpg
Left over from an old windmill- wish I could have brought it home photo a blog sign10.jpg
Let’s get Fluffy right over!! photo a blog sign 4.jpg
This is some great graffiti on an abandoned water tank photo a blog sign 9.jpg
I think this about says it all

SAN DIEGO DREAMING

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We recently took a trip to beautiful San Diego. While my significant other toiled away in the bowels of the city’s splendid convention center, I was left to my own devices to while away the daylight hours. The sky was blue, the temperature a soothing and constant 70 degrees, and the quality of light was a visualist’s dream. I averaged about 4-6 walking miles a day, and there was literally too much to possibly fit into this abbreviated blog, but here’s a small sampling, divided into a few brief sections.  photo a blog san diego faces.jpg
Faces were everywhere- and not just the ones on the people I met photo a blog Balboa .jpg
It had been over 30 years since I was last in Balboa Park, and it remains an oasis of beauty
and vibrant activity photo a blog sandiego retro.jpg
San Diego is in a huge boom of new building and renovation, but the remnants of an older existence are still to be found if you keep your eyes open photo a blog san diego 2.jpg
New and old architecture, side by side photo a blog sandiego water.jpg
….and of course, San Diego is a city whose livelihood and identity are linked closely to its historic status as a seaport city.

PAUL WINGO CELEBRATION

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PLEASE FEEL FREE TO JOIN US IN OUR CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF JAZZ GUITARIST- PAUL WINGO, A DEAR FRIEND, TALENTED GUITARIST AND COMPOSER, AND TRULY GENTLE SOUL! THIS TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF PAUL WINGO WILL BE HELD ON, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014 FROM 1:00-4:00 AT CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH, 9545 GEORGIA AVENUE, SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND 20910- ALL ARE WELCOME!! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PERFORM, OR SHARE ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF “WINGO” STORIES THAT WE ALL HAVE, PLEASE CONTACT STEVE ABSHIRE at steveabshire33@facebook.com or 301-318-4275 or MICHAEL G. STEWART at michephoto@msn.com TO GET ON THE PROGRAM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU JOIN US IN CELEBRATION OF A TRULY GIFTED & UNIQUE HUMAN BEING!

2014 SHEEP & WOOL FESTIVAL

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For several years now, my significant other and I have been attending the Sheep and Wool Festival every May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in suburban Maryland. This may seem like a far cry from the musicians, tattoos, guitars and other fringe gatherings that I usually train my camera on, but believe me, it is as visually absorbing and culturally stimulating as any other event I attend. This time out, I tried to focus on doing a bit of lamb and ram portraiture, as well as the usual carnival parade.
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The irrepressible Lynn Zwerling, founder and driving force for “Knitting Behind Bars”. photo ablogsheep4.jpg
“What’s that smell?” photo ablogsheep5.jpg photo ablogsheep2.jpg photo ablogsheep9.jpg photo ablogsheep8.jpg
Fun for all ages! photo ablogsheep3.jpg

THE GREAT GUITARS

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There are a lot of great guitarists plying their trade as 6 string gunslingers these days, in every musical genre from rock to pop, classical to folk, from metal to jazz. A world of talent to choose from, and enough diversity to cover the globe and reach out to the heavens! Back in the time before ipods and cell phones, when vinyl ruled the world, three supremely gifted guitarists recorded and toured the world as good-will ambassadors of sound, calling themselves “The Great Guitars”. Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. ……and truly great they were, as anyone who ever saw of knew them can attest! ( myself included) Alas, these giants are no longer with us. Today, we have a new generation assuming the roles, and (deservedly so) the title of “The Great Guitars”. Peppino D’Agostino, Vinny Raniolo, Martin Taylor and Frank Vignola. These four monsters of the guitar tradition have filled the very large shoes of their mentors and inspirations and filled them with grace and a musical verve equal to the originals. They proved their mettle at a recent concert sponsored by the Levine School of Music held at The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. on a warm spring evening and set the stage on fire with fretwork that stunned the ears and eyes, from the sublime to the incendiary.
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Martin & Peppino
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Vinny, Frank, Martin & Peppino
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Tearing it up with Vinny & Frank
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Martin, how do you do that?
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Peppino D’Agostino
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The Great Guitars
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The very gifted, Martin Taylor