Archive for the ‘MFG News’ Category

Monday, January 14, 2013 @ 03:01 PM
posted by MFG

This just in!
GRAMMY-Award Winning Guitarist Clay Hess will perform at MBOTMA’s (Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association’s) Winter Weekend March 1-3rd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Plymouth, MN!
Clay will join Mark Kreitzer and Jon for workshops and a set with The Mark Kreitzer Band at The Festival!
And just ahead of Winter Weekend, Clay and Mark will join the very talented group Alabaster Falls for concerts at the Old Log Theater in Excelsior, MN on 2/27 and The Three Crows in Delano, MN on 2/28!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 @ 01:12 PM
posted by MFG

Jon’s 1959 D-28 and his 1953 000-28 conversion.  The ’59 came from Bryan Sutton about ten years ago and can be heard on most of our concert footage and on our MFG CD.  The 000 was obtained from noted luthier Steve Kovacik, (it had been re-topped with Adi and 1/4″ scalloped braces and converted to a 42-style guitar.  Both of these are Jon’s favorites!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 07:11 AM
posted by MFG

Our friend Don Hurley from the UMGF (Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum) plays his new MFG Custom OOO-18 at The Ruskin House — London’s leading folk and blues club!  Go Don!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 07:11 AM
posted by MFG


Don Hurley from the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum plays his new MFG Custom OOO-18 at London’s leading folk and blues club!  Go Don!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012 @ 01:10 PM
posted by MFG

Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott
Station Inn,
Nashville, Tennessee

October 9th, 2012
CD Release Party for We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This

I had the great pleasure of seeing two living legends of Americana music perform together earlier this month.  Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott are extraordinary musicians on their own, but when together on stage they create music so captivating and harmonies so compelling, you begin to wonder how they have ever been apart.  “We are trying a new strategy,” joked O’Brien, regarding the release of their new live album.  “We’re not touring together at all.”  The duo’s appearance at The Station Inn was one of just a handful this year, making it even more unique.

O’Brien, GRAMMY-winning mandolin player, described as “one of the spearheads of contemporary bluegrass,” is known on the festival circuit for his earlier groundbreaking work with Hot Rize and later work as a solo artist.  Scott, a GRAMMY-nominated performer, is best known for his aggressive guitar playing, rough and honest vocal style and success as one of the best country songwriters of his time.  Between the two of them, they have written major hits for Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Keb Mo, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Guy Clark, and Sam Bush.  Both are multi-instrumentalists, masters of mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bouzouki.

We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This, released the day of the Nashville show, is a live album recorded at the Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina.  The songs were recorded during two benefit concerts in 2005 and 2006 for their children’s school.  O’Brien and Scott brought most of the songs on the album to life at The Station Inn, including a chilling a capella version of Hank Williams’ “House of Gold,” the traditional song “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” originally recorded by blues artist Blind Willie Johnson (1928), and Scott’s rendition of Keith Whitley’s “You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain.”

The two highlights of the night for me were O’Brien’s originals “More Love” (the opening song of the set) and “Walk Beside Me,” actually both recorded on the previous O’Brien/Scott album, Real Time.    Scott’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” medley finale had all of us on our feet for the first of two standing ovations.

By that point, I was happy to stand up, as I realized I hadn’t moved from my chair once during the 3-hour performance that seemed like 15 minutes.  I quickly posted on Facebook: “This is one of the best live shows I have ever seen.  I don’t want it to end.”  And I secretly hoped that somehow I could stay at The Station Inn all night, maybe all week, being transported by Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott’s timeless musical magic.

The thing is that it’s not like they are performing.  They are opening a window into a whole different world, where time does not exist, tradition and innovation unite, and our history, our ancestors live forever.  What I heard (and felt) was their insatiable passion for music that has defied tobacco farming, the rural hardships of West Virginia, the challenges of raising a family, the responsibilities of being a husband, the loss of parents and the despondence of a life on the road, away from the home that they love.  Their music is a passion and a calling that spans generations, reaching through our walls and barriers to remind us that at anytime, we too, can return home.

I can’t imagine that they are ever “Usually A Lot Better Than This.”  I do highly recommend picking up BOTH of their recent albums: Real Time and We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This.

Visit and for all the details.

- Robyn



Monday, October 15, 2012 @ 01:10 PM
posted by MFG

Martinfest 2012 – Martins on Main in Nazareth, PA
Clay Hess & Jon Garon perform Victory Rag

Friday, August 31, 2012 @ 05:08 PM
posted by MFG


Deep River Blues with Clay Hess and Jon Garon
(try to ignore Jon’s originals at the beginning!)

Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:05 AM
posted by MFG

May 14, 2012

Well, it’s been two weeks since I returned home from my first MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  I think I’m still trying to sort through the memories of the weekend, and catch up on my sleep!  I thought I would share a few highlights…

So…MerleFest is huge.  Attendance the last few years has been around 80,000 people!  And I think I counted most of them Saturday morning when I was working the perimeter security volunteer shift.  I felt a little bit like I was at “Bluegrass Disney,” with the shuttles to Lot C, long lines, checking backpacks at the gate, buying MerleFest hats in the MerleFest mall, bounce houses for the kids, $220 reserved lawn chairs, and Alison Krauss on the big screen.   The music was truly magical, however.

2012 was the 25th Anniversary of MerleFest.  Our good friend Jack Lawrence helped commemorate this event by performing in several tributes to the Festival’s hero, Merle Watson, whose life was taken by a tragic accident in 1985.  Jack was joined by several others on stage, including Merle’s legendary father – Doc Watson.

The MerleFest website explains:  “As a testament to Merle’s popularity and musical accomplishments, one of the world’s most renowned gatherings of acoustic musicians began two and a half years after Merle’s death and continues today, 24 years later, to honor the memory of a great talent silenced too early.” –

The Claire Lynch Band stole the show on Friday at the Creekside Stage, and again Saturday on the main stage, with their debut of new fiddle player Bryan McDowell, who just recently at the age of 20 earned an unprecedented triple win on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar at Winfield, Kansas.  Chris Thile wowed the traditional bluegrassers with his Zappa-esque sound, lively stage antics, and solid backing by The Punch Brothers.  I truly believe that it won’t be long before Thile is considered one of the great musical legends of our time.  Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi fought the 45-degree temperatures Saturday night to entertain an unsuspecting Americana audience.  The bluegrassers seemed to groove with the blues, however, and Truck’s horn and rhythm section captivated the midnight jam ticket holders later that night.

I was happy to see Shannon Slaughter, of Shannon and Heather Slaughter & County Clare (and formerly Lonesome River Band fame), win the 2012 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest for his country tune “I’ve Hit Everything In My Life (But My Knees).”  Sierra Hull and her new guitar player Jake Stargel rocked the Cabin Stage Saturday with Highway 111 – showcasing one of the best high-energy line-ups of her career to date.

With Vince Gill opening on Thursday, and Alison Krauss closing the show on Sunday, MerleFest 2012 was truly a place where all of your musical dreams could come true.  I’m looking forward to next year.  I think I will save up for a hotel reservation and backstage pass…and, maybe, if I’m not as star struck…will make a point to get my own guitar out of the case and jam!

Sunday Crowds at MerleFest

MerleFest Stage – Claire Lynch Band Sound Check

Claire Lynch Band on the Watson Stage, Saturday

Sierra Hull debuts her new guitar player, Jake Stargel

Guitar Legend Tony Rice with Josh Williams and CLB’s
Mark Schatz (bass) and Bryan McDowell (fiddle)

I loved spending the weekend with my good friends
from Naples – Micki and Roli Scholl!  I hope 2012 is the
first of many MerleFest memories.

- Robyn

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 @ 04:01 PM
posted by MFG

Jon will perform with world-class musicians Richard Smith at the 2012 Bayshore Festival of the Arts on Saturday, January 29th at 3pm. We hope to see you there!

Friday, January 13, 2012 @ 01:01 PM
posted by MFG

Today we are featuring one of the most well-known and respected artists in Denmark (who plays, among many other guitars, a custom Martin 000-45S Madagascar):  Finn Olafsson.

Playing the guitar since age 10, Olafsson has been featured on over 150 Scandinavian releases.  He is an expert on steel-string acoustic guitars, and became well-known in Europe for his work with legendary rock band “Ache,” which he co-founded in 1968.

Please visit his website to listen to clips of his latest projects – including his solo releases – which are arguably some of his best.  He also shares his helpful tips on choosing an acoustic guitar: