Canadian Musician - May/June 2017 - Page 49

By David McPherson The Instruments That Inspire Us Canadian Musician’s 2017 Focus on Guitar What are musicians without their instruments? For many, a guitar is a constant companion – a godsend when loneliness sets in or inspiration strikes. Many even give their guitars a nickname. Think of Willie Nelson’s battered beauty, Trigger, or Neil Young’s 1953 Les Paul, Old Black. I grew up taking regular family trips to Aspen, CO, and the state’s native son, John Denver, was my parents’ soundtrack of choice on the portable tape deck that helped while away the hours as we drove through the Rockies. I thought of Denver as I was writing this piece and interviewing these half-dozen award-winning songwriters and guitarists for this feature. Specifically, I recalled the poetic way Denver describes the 1910 Gibson guitar his grandmother gave him when he was 12 years old, and the special relationship that ensued in his 1974 classic, “This Old Guitar.” With lines like: “This old guitar taught me to sing a love song /It showed me how to laugh and how to cry/It introduced me to some friends of mine/And brightened up some days,” Denver pays homage to his trusty acoustic in fitting fashion. Let’s hear what six JUNO Award-winning Canadian musicians have to say about their favourite guitars and how these instruments played a crucial role inspiring their muses and bringing forth the songs on their most recent releases. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 49