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HOLY MOLY! Paul McCartney playing a CBG at the Sandy Relief Concert (Edit: and much more)

Hurricane Sandy Relief show 12/12/12


I know who made it, do you?

(It's a Matty Baratto Resofiddle with wine box amp)


Saturday Night Live 12/15
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So very cool.

Well, tell us...Who made it?



Krist Novoselic / Paul McCartneySaturday Night Live

With all the excitement that’s come from the surviving members of Nirvana writing and performing and recording an original song with Beatles icon Paul McCartney, there are a million questions about the musical collective’s future. Will the spontaneous collaboration lead to more material? Will there be a tour? How exactly do you persuade Sir Paul McCartney to come jam in your basement? To list off the mental ramblings of Nirvana and Beatles fans would fill an encyclopedia, but bassist Krist Novoselic has got some inside info to share via his official blog.

Paul McCartney himself has told the tale of how he found himself in the middle of a “Nirvana reunion,” but Novoselic has now documented his side of the story as a casual musician who was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The collaboration came out of the Sound CIty film that was produced and directed by Dave,” writes Novoselic. “He asked me if I wanted to play with him, Pat and Paul? I said YES! It was a wonderful day — Paul came in with this cigar box guitar and started playing some mean slide on it. He said it was in a “D”. Hearing that, Grunge instincts took over my left hand and I dropped the E on the bass to D. Pat and Dave got into it and the tune took shape. Paul flashed a riff and we picked it up. I busted another one out and everyone picked it up. Things started coming together.”

Novoselic continues to recount the dream jam session, while offering his view on exactly what the track ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ represents for the future of the impromptu band. “It was so exciting to play with Paul,” gushes the Nirvana bassist. “I became seized with thoughts, for I hadn’t played like that with Pat or Dave since the last Nirvana show in 1994. Wow, it was emotionally and musically heavy! Some other things brought me back; there was a Lefty on guitar who was a heck of a songwriter. Anyway, words can’t really describe it and I returned to the task at hand. A new song was born! And that’s about it. That’s all it is — a new song by some players who have doing it for a while.”

‘Cut Me Some Slack’ has been performed live twice by the group, debuting the track at the ’12-12-12′ Hurricane Sandy benefit, with an encore on ‘Saturday Night Live’ soon after … not bad for a band without a name. According to Novoselic in a separate blog post, although the project has been called many names, the bassist’s personal favorite seems to be ‘Sirvana,’ which offers a nod to the Beatle legend’s status as Sir Paul McCartney

Sirvana’s sole original song is now available to purchase via iTunes.

From Huffington Post

It's the End of the World: Have a Cigar Box Guitar

Posted: 12/21/2012 8:46 am

The Maya never predicted that 2012 would be the Year of the Cigar Box Guitar. They missed the most important story. The end of the world, which ought to be in a couple of hours, is not this year's crucial event.

Should the world end, it won't be remembered as vividly as Paul McCartney's appearance with the surviving members of Nirvana: an incident that produced indifferent music, but introduced the world to the Next Big Thing -- an instrument that will change the face of rock and roll.

Just to be sure that it will change the face of rock and roll (Paul's good at this), he appeared with this same instrument, and these same remnants of a band, a second time. On this occasion the results were not so much indifferent, as different. That's not entirely fair: this time Sir Paul's slide cigar work was properly front and center, and it was jaw-dropping.

The advent of the Cigar Box Guitar (CBG) may not be as important as the introduction of the Fender Telecaster. I guarantee, however, that music historians will consider Kurt Cobain's Jag-Stang a mere blip on the iconic radar relative to this new instrument.

All right, this new instrument is in fact older than your great-grandfather. The difference is that Paul McCartney never played one in front of a huge audience in 1850. He waited until 2012.

To be precise, that odd-looking beast hanging around the neck of Sir Paul was a Resofiddle, built by Matty Baratto, one of the shining lights of today's cigar box guitar revival. It is Barrato's Dobro-like version of the CBG, and the circular metal thing on the front is a cone, just as you'd find on an expensive resonator guitar. This one was made with a paint-can lid.

Baratto's standard model of cigar box guitar, sans resonator, is called the Cigfiddle. It's really nice. I want one.

That's okay: I'm about to have another fine instrument, banged together by another vaunted cigar box luthier: Bluesboy Jag. En route to me is a three-string Avo Heritage, which I particularly admire, because it sounds like this:

(That is in fact my very guitar. You can't have it. It is currently being abused by the Mexican postal service, and I expect it to arrive any moment.)

Yes, these are made with actual cigar boxes. "Avo Heritage", before it was the name of my guitar, was the name of a cigar.

If I really wanted to be legit, I'd kludge together my own CBG. Most people do -- that's the whole point. Back in the day, blues players -- including the most revered -- could not afford luxe instruments like Martins and Gibsons. They bought mail-order guitars from Sears, Roebuck & Co. And if they couldn't afford one of those, they made their own. The home-made guitar in fact antedates Sears Roebuck itself by quite a stretch.

Now, if you're going to make a guitar-like instrument, you need a hollow, resonating chamber. These days, such a chamber might have a face of Italian Alpine Spruce (favored by Stradivarius), with sides and backs of Brazilian rosewood (endangered and illegal), and set you back thousands of dollars. Such a guitar makes a truly refined sound, and I want one of those as well. On the other hand, a $3 cigar-box works too, and makes a sound that is arguably superior for certain kinds of music. Not "arguably." It just is.

You don't want to play gutbucket blues on a boutique instrument crafted by elves beneath the watchful eye of a master luthier. You want a cigar box, nailed to a blunt neck: preferably red oak. That nut and bridge carved from fossilized mastodon tusk (yerp, you can buy those) are just not appropriate: threaded bolts will do -- the kind of bog-standard bolts you use to put together bad furniture. That's right... drumroll... the nut is a bolt. The bolt is post-mastodon, in Darwinian terms, but way pre-fossil, when it comes to guitar history.

If you're too lazy to build a cigar box guitar yourself -- or simply want something above your skill level -- Bluesboy Jag is the sort of builder you want. He hammers together CBGs in his laundry room, when he's not gigging. He hand-winds his own pickups. He makes bass drums out of suitcases.

Matty Baratto is more of the high-end luthier kind of guy, since he also makes bespoke non-cigar-box guitars -- expensive ones -- for famous people. Baratto's famous-person CBG, however, is nicely primitive. Yes, somebody once smoked cigars delivered in the resonant box now played onstage by Paul McCartney.

I'm a bit late to the cigar box revival, which is at least a decade old. This is because I am, fundamentally, uncool. There are a few people less cool than me -- I do play passable slide guitar, really badly, and this gives me a touch of street cred. Unfortunately, you can manage a wretched rendition of Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" -- and still be So Ten Minutes Ago. In fact, you're going to be. Pretty much by definition. So, like the rest of the world, I discovered the cigar box guitar at that crucial moment in history, just prior to the end of that same world, in which Paul McCartney appeared onstage with a funny-looking thing that I couldn't identify.

I did ask this precise question in a Facebook update (trying to beef up my cred here): "What the hell is he playing -- an electrified Dobro cigar-box ukulele?"

And lo: he sort of was.

from BBC 2/13/13

Sir Paul McCartney surprised at 17th Grammy win

Sir Paul McCartney
The Beatles won their first Grammy in 1965 for best new artist and best performance by a vocal group

Sir Paul McCartney said he was "surprised" to win his 17th Grammy Award for his album Kisses on the Bottom, which was released last year.

"It came as a big shock to me to know there were 17 to tell you the truth," he told BBC 6 Music.

"I don't keep count, I suppose that's somewhat flash - people know my figures better than I do."

The best traditional pop vocal album Grammy was his first for a record of new material since his Beatles days.

He might have lost count of how many Grammys he has on the mantle-piece, but Sir Paul said receiving praise from the American awards is always flattering.

"I don't think a lot of the best musicians in the world got Grammys, it only goes to select few, and so to be one of those for the 17th time is phenomenal," he said.

Grammy success theory

Sir Paul did not attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday but watched it on television.

The musician said the moment he and his wife received news of the win via a text message from his manager was "particularly exciting".

"We were watching it on telly, it was like 'Oh yeah!'. You can imagine the room went wild," he said.

The singer also shared his theory for Grammy success - not to attend the awards.

"The only way to win one is to not go," he laughed. "The minute you go and you're sitting in the audience it'll be 'And the winner is... John Mayer', and you do that face, and you smile and clap and go 'how good humoured am I?'.

Last year, Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic joined forces with Sir Paul for some casual recording sessions.

They created the rock behemoth Cut Me Some Slack, which features on the soundtrack to Grohl's Sound City documentary, Sound City: Real to Reel.

It resulted in them playing on stage together in December, joined by guitarist Pat Smear, to perform the track live at a New York charity concert in Madison Square Garden, in aid of victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney performed with Nirvana in December in New York for a charity concert

"One thing I love about what I do is that so much of it happens organically," Sir Paul said about working on the project with his "friend" Grohl, who he described as "likeable", "enthusiastic" and "on the ball".

Upon deciding to make up a new song rather than do a cover, Sir Paul said he turned up to the recording session with a "crazy guitar" actor Johnny Depp had given him.

"It's a cigar box guitar, but it sounds like the hottest piece of kit on earth... it just takes over, it's amazing, it's like it's alive," he said.

"I was so excited by it, I took it over and I think Dave was a bit surprised. I think he thought I might play bass."

After jamming, they gave the song some more structure, recorded it again and formed Cut Me Some Slack.

"The organic aspect of just showing up for a jam and then we made this track - it's something a major label should have spent six months planning, but it just came out of the blue and I love that," he said.

New album

A collection of musicians including Mick Hucknall, Joss Stone and Beverley Knight, were at Abbey Road Studios on Monday to recreate The Beatles' debut album Please, Please Me, to mark its 50th anniversary.

"When we started we really were just four kids from Liverpool hoping to get a bit of money to buy a car, that's all there was to it," Sir Paul said.

"It wasn't this great artistic voyage, but it happened and it was phenomenal."

A follow-up album to Kisses on the Bottom is currently being recorded at Air Studios in London.

Sir Paul said he was working with a stellar line-up including Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, Sir George Martin's son Giles and acclaimed producer Paul Epworth.

"They're cool people whose work I liked and of course, what's happened is I like them all," he said.

He added he aimed for the "modern songs" to form a new LP which will be finished within the next few months.

Trailer for the film Sound City. 


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