Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Double Twang of Cigar-Box Guitars

At this year's inaugural New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Festival, held January 14th-16th, Jon Miller screened his 81-minute documentary Strung Together.

This weekend, Miller, a native of Satsuma, Alabama, is back home to host a 6 p.m. Saturday night showing of his film at the local library. Admission is $5 and proceeds will go to support local schools.

Miller has been a singer-songwriter for about 15 years but as he recently explained to Fox 10's Chasity Bird, the project started by way of a musical novice - his dad. He gave his father Merlin the gift of a book about guitars made from cigar boxes several years ago, after the latter saw a report about them on TV. Even though his father had never played guitar, the gift got Merlin interested in trying to make such an improvised instrument and, in turn, son Jon attuned to the idea of a documentary about the subject.

There are in fact a number of U.S. festivals dedicated to cigar-box guitars. Elsewhere in Alabama, the 12th annual edition of a large event in Huntsville is set for May 27th-28th. And tonight in Stonewall, Texas, there is an early kick-off party for the Annual Republic of Texas Cigar Box Guitar Festival.

That shindig also starts at 6 p.m. and also features a screening of Strung Together, followed by a live performance from Convict Hill. It all goes down at the Albert Ice House and Dance Hall, where the local Guitar Box Guitar festival takes place in August.

It should be a grand old time. Here's how the featured band has described themselves:

We are Convict Hill, an outlaw country, bluegrass, honky tonk and everything in-between band! We like whiskey, beer, dive bars, sunsets and long walks on the beach.

[Strung Together]

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