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.
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- )
Tag Archives: photo by Michael G. Stewart
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
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.
Try as I might, I just can’t get away from those damn banjos!!
It is actually “Barn” Again, (In a barn) next to the Burger Boy
Just great vintage neon
I don’t think this development ever really got off the ground- (alongside an abandoned stretch of old Route 66)
**** note the strange little box in the right hand corner***
Left over from an old windmill- wish I could have brought it home
Let’s get Fluffy right over!!
This is some great graffiti on an abandoned water tank
I think this about says it all
Our recent trip to the American Southwest also presented us with the glories of the desert in springtime. I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
SAN DIEGO DREAMING
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.
Faces were everywhere- and not just the ones on the people I met
It had been over 30 years since I was last in Balboa Park, and it remains an oasis of beauty
and vibrant activity
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
New and old architecture, side by side
….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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-318-4275 or MICHAEL G. STEWART at email@example.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
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.
The irrepressible Lynn Zwerling, founder and driving force for “Knitting Behind Bars”.
“What’s that smell?”
Fun for all ages!
THE GREAT GUITARS
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.
Martin & Peppino
Vinny, Frank, Martin & Peppino
Tearing it up with Vinny & Frank
Martin, how do you do that?
The Great Guitars
The very gifted, Martin Taylor
On our recent visit in a southerly direction, through Winchester, Harrisonburg and Staunton, Virginia, we happened upon various reminders of these town’s genteel and charming pasts. While the usual strip malls, big box stores and detestable chain eateries were very much in evidence, churning out their oh, so regimented and reliably bland totems to mass consumerism, we also encountered the quaint and polite charm of a by-gone era, along with the reminders of the individual American spirit that is so often overlooked today.
The Scales of Justice, Harrisonburg, VA.
The DIXIE Theater, Staunton, VA.
Home after a hard day’s work, Winchester, VA.
George’s, Harrisonburg, VA.
Cleaning up in Winchester, VA.
The skies the limit in Staunton, VA.
When a car dealership really meant something, in Harrisonburg, VA.
Now this is a home worth coming home to!
THINKING OF YOU
On a recent roadtrip to Staunton, VA., we came across yet another tranquil oasis and resting place of the departed on the outskirts of town. Here are but a few of the interesting bits of funerary art that helped fuel my creative mind that day.
They do love and respect their dogs down here in Virginia-
A more apt name was never seen
Remember the Maine! Don’t see many of these
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
THE HIGHTSTOWN DINER EXPERIENCE
On our way to cover the NEA JazzMasters in NYC every year, the intrepid Miss Julie and I always make a point to stop along the way, take a break from the New Jersey Turnpike, and have an invigorating breakfast at the Hightstown Diner. It may not be the original, classic structure, pictured on so many vintage postcards, but it is friendly, charmingly local, the coffee is good, and the experience is what we all go to diners for! Just off exit 8, the sad and long abandoned Mom’s sits in the shadow of the new exit overpass, the reminder of tasty pancakes from my youthful trips to Maine, but an extra 5 minutes into town still yields the goods of small town eats in a wasteland of fast food franchises. Check it out, it’s a great treat!
Long closed, Mom’s! the name said it all!
You gotta love the art at Mom’s
Even though the new “Enviornmental” style facade can’t really compete with the original, it still has certain charms
A great breakfast and never-ending coffee,with plenty of bacon
We only stop here once a year, and run into this fun & friendly father and son every time! What are the chances? Dad, checking out the chicken sandwich on a diner’s plate- “Somethings wrong with that chicken!” Son “What?” Dad- “It’s DEAD!” Same joke every year, too funny.