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Archive for June 29th, 2009

Buddy Miller

Buddy Miller

Conventional wisdom is you build a star through hits.  Be it “hits” with motorcycle models or music songs.

These days the media is busy parading the faces of barely pubescent “artists” in front of the non-caring public while true musicians are doing what they’ve always done.  Play!

Hey, there’s a concept… perfecting your craft until their so great people become “infected” when they listen to that magical concoction of musical sound which penetrates your body.  We can debate through the night what’s good intellectually, but when someone starts to play and they wring out a good feeling from their guitar, like being in a bar way past midnight wanting the evening to never end because tomorrow is drudgery…. you get a feel good smile on our face.

That’s what Buddy Miller’s music is about.  Defined by the music “machine” as country, yet that’s not the only format his music belongs.  He isn’t good-looking enough for a fashion spread in “GQ” or a multi-page foldout in “Rolling Stone”.  Buddy Miller is 56 years old.  He’s a heart attack survivor and like many people in their mid-life he’s viewed as being on the downhill slide, but he’s just starting to hit his stride!  He didn’t give up or quit and go into his daddy’s business.  Instead he focused on the music.  Recording it and playing it live.  As a craftsman he goes into the studio when inspired vs. when label’s want to sell more and lay’s down something truly great.  I’m a fan.

What’s my point, you ask?   It involves motorcycles and is specific to Buddy Miller’s aluminum neck electric guitar.  Made in Italy it’s a 1960’s vintage called a “Davoli.” You can see/hear about his guitar HERE or read more information at Vintage Guitar.

wandreBriefly it all started with Wandré Pioli who began designing and building guitars in the mid-50’s.  At some point during those early years, Wandré hooked up with Athos Davoli, whose company at the time was part of a conglomerate known as Radio Elettromeccanica Krundaal, located in Parma, Italy. The two worked on developing the electronics that eventually appeared in Wandré guitars.  As a pioneering guitar designer, Wandré was attracted early on to aluminum and it’s structural material.   As a motorcycle enthusiast he restored motorcycles and was often seen riding the Italian countryside.  His interest in motorcycles was reflected in the design and workmanship of his guitar vibrato system. Either a triangular or diamond-shaped affair was attached to the aluminum core and faced outward with a cast metal “W”… it looked very much like a motorcycle medallion of the day.  However, most of the guitar production used pickups made by the Athos Davoli company. These were large, trapezoid-shaped pickups with stamped metal covers that said “Davoli/Made In Italy.” The Davoli pickup cover imprint was often the only identification found on Wandré guitars, contributing to the misinformation that they are “Davoli” guitars.

It seems much of life is drudgery.  We worry too much and it’s why we’re searching for gems to get us through.  And when we find one, we tell everybody we know.  So, here is a shout out to the motorcycle loving master craftsman Wandré and his eccentric guitar design.  And to finding a real gem playing that guitar is Buddy Miller and a brilliant song.

Photo courtesy of Michael Wilson.

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mil_mile_certToday is the Million Mile Monday ride.

H.O.G. members around the world ride together for the purpose of logging 5 million miles in a 24 hour period.

Why?  Because they can!!

So, to support the ride call I took some extra time today and rode beyond any normal commute to work.  The weather at lunch was a perfect clear-blue-sky,  in the mid 70’s with a light on-shore breeze from the pacific ocean.  It doesn’t get any better than this…unless it’s a day off and work issues are a distant memory.  And I sure thought about a sick day…

I think the reality of the second anniversary of the Million Mile Monday will be how many miles beyond the 5M target will H.O.G. members go?  I registered my 57 miles and got the certificate.

Photo courtesy of H-D/H.O.G

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