Podcast 357: C.J. Lewandowski of The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Pt. 1

How far would you go for a great deal on the instrument of your dreams?

How about a 5,500 mile trip halfway around the world in the middle of a pandemic?

On this week’s podcast, we meet C.J. Lewandowski, mandolinist and lead singer for the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. C.J. just flew to Greece to buy a Lloyd Loar-signed Gibson F-5 mandolin, dated July 9, 1923, just like Bill Monroe’s.

He recounts the leap of faith he took to obtain it, the complexities of buying an instrument overseas, the condition of the mandolin when he finally obtained it (which had likely never played bluegrass prior to his ownership), and what’s next.

It’s the ultimate guitar, err, mandolin safari tale… all the way to Athens, Greece and back.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys have a great new album coming out March 25, 2022 called Never Slow Down on Smithsonian Folkways. We’ll hear more about that on a future FJ Podcast episode.

This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars; Izotope (use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase); BED|STÜ shoes (save 20% off with the code FRETXBS for a limited time); and www.acoustic.coffee (use the code FJCoffee2021 and get a free bag when you order two or more).

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Don’t forget, beyond the magazine, the FJ now has an entire network of podcasts, about everything from lutherie to tube amps: Luthier on Luthier; The Truth About Vintage Amps; The Truth About Recording & Mixing; Acoustic Voices; and Sweep the Floor.

Above photo: Amy Richmond