Sunday, September 9, 2007

Musical Heart

Stuart Mossman loved to build guitars, and it shows in the people that gathered around him. Stuart Mossman loved people and it shows in the guitars he made. Stuart Mossman loved music and it shows in the faithful legions camping on the banks of the Walnut River every third weekend in September. Literally hundreds of people have spent millions of hours making the Walnut Valley Festival what it is today; but since I am not here to demean anyone's business acumen or tireless devotion, I can state the simple truth that this campground would not be full of all these folks if it wasn't for the fact that Stuart Mossman loved to build guitars.

And superlative guitars they are, over six thousand of them out there getting mellower and richer day by day, year by year, as any great instrument should. Did he have huge setbacks that would have stopped lesser men? Yes, but he loved to build guitars. Did he train and inspire (and give jobs to) a whole generation of luthiers and repair technicians that we all reap the benefits of every time we get a neck reset or purchase a treasured instrument? Yeah, all because Stuart Mossman loved to build guitars. David Bromberg stopped performing for four years so he could learn the luthiers trade, mostly with violins. Is there any chance he could have been inspired by those tours of the guitar factory that were a mainstay of the early festivals? I'm guessing so, all because this one guy really loved ... one thing ... any one thing, really, is all it takes to make a huge difference down the road. For Stuart, that thing was guitars.

(photo Winfield Daily Courier)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I mentioned in an eariler post about coming to the school's Folk Festival and seeing David Bromberg for the first time. So here's a continuation of that day: while there,my friend and I ran into Don Teeter, authorized Martin repairman and quite renowned luthier, and good friend of Stuart Mossman, and Don offered to give us a ride back to OKC the next day. After the festival was over, we all went to Stuart's house for an afterparty, then my friend and I went and threw our sleeping bags out on the floor of the little shop in Stuart's backyard. Next morning, we got up and went to tour the Mossman Guitar Factory with Stuart, Don, and David Bromberg--an experience I'll always cherish. Then, we drove back to the city, with Don giving a detailed description of his recipe for squirrel stew. Don lives in the City, but his heart is definately in the country, and he and Stuart were very close.