Five for Friday, September 13, 2019

The Fretboard Journal is happy to be announce Five For Friday, a new column where we recap what went down in the guitar world this week…

Passings: Daniel Johnston
Genius songwriter Daniel Johnston, the Austin, Texas legend whose quirky, brilliant music was covered by innumerable artists, passed away at the age of 58. Though diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder for most of his life, Johnston managed to release tape after tape (and eventually CD after CD) of amazing songwriting, often with decidedly lo-fi results. It didn’t matter: His music was that good.

Victor Furtado Wins the Steve Martin Prize

Every year, comedian/actor Steve Martin grants $50,000 prize to someone in the banjo community. This year, the award goes to its youngest winner yet, 19 year-old clawhammer phenom Victor Furtado. Furtado may very well be the banjo world’s answer to Michael Hedges, a virtuoso who has taken clawhammer playing far beyond its Appalachian and old-time music roots. The crazy thing is that Furtado still hasn’t even graduated from Berklee; he’s at the very start of his career. In other banjo news, someone attacked the Wall Street bull with a five-string (we think, it may have been a tenor).


The Craziest Prince Story in the New Yorker
There are plenty of Prince stories floating around (and a ton of new tidbits about the trademark of his famed Cloud Guitar), but the New Yorker offers us the must-read Prince story of the moment, penned by Dan Piepenbring. Piepenbring was “hired” (his official start date was nebulous, to say the least) to help Prince write his autobiography towards the end of the artist’s life. What follows is a crazy glimpse into the day-to-day life of Prince, his love for music, his vision for the future and more. There’s no guitar content, but just read it. It’s worth it.

New Documentaries: John Scofield and Redd Kross
There’s no shortage of great music documentaries out and we were ecstatic to hear of two new ones: Redd Kross, the unlikely rock group that formed in 1978 and immediately opened for Black Flag, is getting the big screen treatment. On the other end of the proverbial dial, jazz guitarist John Scofield will be featured in a documentary in 2020.

James Burton Proves He’s Still the Coolest

Last week, guitar god James Burton donated 60 acoustic instruments to Shreveport’s North Caddo Elementary Middle School through his James Burton Foundation. “Hopefully, they’ll learn to play and if one decides not to play, maybe someone else will come take the guitar and play. It’s an honor. Truly and honor,” he told the Shreveport Times. 

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