The Alabama Cigar Box
Guitar Extravaganza 2006
Featuring homemade instrument
builders and players from across the U.S.
May 20, Music from 12 Noon until . .
JOHNSTON (Hernando, MS)
Richard Johnston will be returning as the headliner of this year's
festival. Winning the 2001 International Blues Challenge, he became
the first person in it's 17 year history to simultaneously win both
1st place and the Albert King award for most promising blues guitarist.
His Handy nominated, self-produced debut album entitled, "FOOT HILL
STOMP" has become one of the top-selling independent blues albums
Johnston's ferocious one-man-band performances have secured him invitations
to play blues and music festivals around the world, including Belgium,
Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Italy and scores of festivals in
the states, but he always returns to where he started and will forever
be remembered as "the Tramp King of Beale Street".
2005 Johnston gained even more notoriety as the subject of a PBS Documentary
"RICHARD JOHNSTON: HILL COUNTRY TROUBADOUR", a special screening of
which will be presented during the festival by the filmmaker Max Shores.
LOWEBOW (Memphis, TN)
Johnny Lowebow is the stage name of John Lowe, a Memphis, TN, based
musician who's one man band performances have been described as "brutal
blues blasts" with set lists containing everything from Johnny Cash
to punk pioneer, Iggy Pop. Lowe's set-up is a mixture of old drum
parts, milk crates, guitar amps and his ever present Lowebow, a cigar
box guitar made from two oak dowel rods, a wooden cigar box, three
guitar strings and a bass string. It is played with a slide in the
old blues tradition, but that's about the only thing traditional about
it. Lowe designed the instrument, which in turn was used by another
musician, Richard Johnston, to win a major blues competition in Memphis.
Since then, Lowe has attained a cult status among blues aficionados
and has adopted the Lowebow as his main instrument.
Donald "Boz" Bostwick is the Godfather of America's Cigar Box Guitar
movement! Boz plays everything from one-string shoe-tin diddleybows
to the finest vintage production guitars. For Boz, its all about making
music, enjoying friends, and treatin' people right! I'm proud to have
Boz playin' a Turbo! Boz's recent home recorded CD "Raw Footage" is
the real deal!
BOX SLIM with Two Dollar Pistol (South Carolina)
Slim was born in Texas and raised right on the Louisiana state line.
He got the best of Texas swing/blues and Cajun music growing up. He
incorporates a little of both into his style of music. At the heart
of his sound you will find Slim's homemade double neck, seven string
electrified cigar box guitar. It features a 3 string "Blues" neck
and a 4 string lap steel neck. With this combination Ol' Slim can
crank out anything from The Rolling Stones to Merle Haggard! www.cigarboxslim.com
THOMPSON (New Jersey)
Gerry Thompson plays "backyard Americana" on a variety of cigarbox
guitar. "I am not a musician " says Gerry who admits to being a "storyteller",
adding that a storyteller without music is just a liar...hence the
need for the instrument. "I sing sad songs for sunny days" says Gerry...."I
think I'm one of the only hillbillies from a flat state...NEW JERSEY.
South Jersey...that is....not north. Gerry was a stand out performer
at last year's show.
(Hinton, West Virginia)
Tom Hartwell, a.k.a. Tomi-O, is a cigar box instrument builder and
player extraodinare. His effects-laden performance at last year's
event was the surprise of the evening, and took cigar box music into
a whole new realm - outer space. He returns this year with an all
new one-man-band show that will knock your socks off. Tomi-O will
also be conducting a workshop where participants will get to build
their very own cigar box guitar.
DAVE (Huntsville, Alabama)
Microwave Dave Gallaher needs no introduction to North Alabama audiences.
His live performances both as a solo act and with his band The Nukes
are legendary. Dave has been incorporating a Lowebow into his solo
performances for years now, and though he was not able to attend last
years Extravaganza due to a prior commitment, his support and promotion
of the event was invaluable. We're very proud to have Dave on the
lineup for this year.
OAKROOT (Boston, Mass)
Doctor Oakroot was born in a taxi with no brakes, and, he says, "I
been rolling ever since. I rolled right down to Hell, pulled up the
devil by his tail and brought back some dark, dark songs."
Unsatisfied with the ordinary, Oakroot's been making his own music
on his own homemade instruments ever since he was a kid. Mostly string
instruments, and, recently, mostly cigar box guitars. When you get
it down to a box a stick and a string, you have music with a rough
edge that works at a primal level - nowhere to hide - and anything
but ordinary. Rough-edged songs from a dark place in the soul - songs
to haunt your dreams. Some would call it blues, but some folks have
a narrow definition of blues and Oakroot's music is anything but narrow.
PRESTAGE (South Florida)
Ben was voted one of the three best unsigned performers in the world
at the 2006 International Blues Challenge and is the only two-time
recipient of the prestigious Lyons/Pitchford Award' for "Best Diddley-Bow
Born the grandson of a Mississippi sharecropper, Ben Prestage has
been soaked in Blues tradition and Mississippi culture since birth.
Growing up in the swamps of south central Florida, Prestage began
to mix Mississippi Country Blues with his own brand of Florida Swamp
Blues. This muddy-water-meets-black-water stew has led him to perform
from California to the Carolinas to the Florida Keys, in large festivals,
every kind of bar, and sometimes on downtown sidewalks. Prestage spent
some time as a street performer on historic Beale Street, while living
in Memphis, TN. He used to share a spot in front of the New Daisy
Theatre with modern blues legends Robert Belfour (Fat Possum Records)
and Richard Johnston (2001 International Blues Competition winner).
Ben later played slide guitar on Richard's Official Bootleg CD
NORRIS (Helena, Alabama)
Steve Norris is a singer/songwriter from Helena, Alabama who has been
playing around the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham area since 1997 with his
favorite band The Overalls. Before that, Steve was a part of the trio
Robyn and the Journeyman Geezers. For the past year Steve has ventured
out with country/folk solo performances. Steve's debut solo CD, Tributes
to Family and Friends, was released in January, 2002.
BECKMAN (Kalamazoo, MI)
Doug Beckman was compelled to learn slide guitar after hearing Elmore
James' 1950's recording of "Dust My Broom". He never got beyond open
tuning or the blues, but after hearing Richard Johnston play the Lowebow
at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, he was again compelled to try to
produce the sound he heard. He met John Lowe at the 2001 King Biscuit
Festival and got a Lowe-Bow of his own, and it won him the chance
to represent the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association as a solo act
in the 2002 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
will also be:
A special screening of the documentary "Richard Johnston: Hill Country
Troubador", presented by special guest, filmmaker Max Shores.
Box Guitar Building workshop conducted by Tomi-O. Build you own cigar
box instrument on site. $25 fee includes all materials needed. Limited
to 25 people.
Admission is only $10
The show will be held at Flying
Monkey Arts Center
2211 Seminole Drive