Layla Musselwhite

vintage guitars

Layla Musselwhite
vintage guitars

A guitar is a precious thing.  Each has its own speaking voice, and its own poetry.  My first early 60's Harmony Stratotone had a voice like a night bird, one that wanted to talk to me about blues, and not the easy kind. This guitar spoke sweet enchanting dark rhythms and notes heavy like marble, full of earth and water and dirt.  Certain songs are played on this guitar, and she won't play others. No problem....respect.

My second early 60's Harmony Stratotone was another kind of beast, a bright strong shining one with a lot to say, and she wanted to plug in & stomp & sing. Lucy has a badass pickup,  a powerful through line to cut over a rhythm section, and this guitar is balanced...she had a better upbringing, I think. She hears everything I say, and calls it back to me like a sweet rock n roll angel - fluent in both the light & the dark, and a good traveler.  She will always be by my side. 

But my very first guitar I bought when I was 19, a 100-year old parlor guitar named Pearl & the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  We went to Thailand, New York, Amsterdam, and she never complained, though her spine is fragile. This one likes to play old songs - she's partial to Robert Johnson's music - and the slide makes a sound like fine molasses.  This guitar is a teacher,  because if you don't treat her right she won't play.  The old music that I love...you have to listen deeply, and feel it in your bones, and then you have to play right from that feeling or it doesn't sound right.  So Pearl always lets me know where I'm at, and sets me straight.  I played her at Preservation Hall a few years ago for a French jazz project, working with Tete, a Senegalese/Parisian songwriter...now that place dates from the 1700's, and the songs were from the 1930's, so of course she was right at home.  

Layla best 2 Harmonys edited.jpg
best black dress parlor.jpg
red dress & piana.jpg
dramatic white slip sideview.jpg