The Fretboard Journal (Number 4)
When a guitar player friend asked if I'd ever checked out this magazine, I couldn't imagine it appealing to non-musicians like myself. But lo and behold, it's for anyone who appreciates a beautifully designed, well written publication that could practically double as a coffee table book, and this issue includes a few stories with local interest. Besides an excellent cover story on the late John Hartford—who's accurately described as a "hippie eclectic Southern riverboat intellectual"—and a visit with legendary Memphis guitarist Steve Cropper, it also features an interview with Baltimore native Bill Frisell and a photo tour of the Paul Reed Smith guitar factory in Stevensville. The Frisell piece gets to the heart of a restlessly creative and prolific talent, while the factory tour is nothing short of fascinating, thanks to the artful photography of Lely Constantinople and insightful captions written by Smith himself. In the first caption, Smith notes that guitar making "starts with the wood" and proceeds to explain how the piece of quilted maple in the picture "grows only on one side of the tree, so loggers don't make such good money with it." But high-end guitar makers do, and the photos beautifully document how such a piece of wood is fashioned into an instrument that can end up in the hands of Carlos Santana.
Derry Moore, Carl Skoggard, Joseph Holtzman
Speaking of a beautifully designed magazine that could double as a coffee table book, Nest magazine was exactly that. The brainchild of Baltimore native Joe Holtzman, Nest was an innovative and subversive interior design magazine that won a few National Magazine Awards, and more than a few devoted fans, before Holtzman pulled the plug to focus on a career in painting. Starved Nest fans will be satiated (at least temporarily) by this sumptuous volume of photographs by Moore, a frequent Nest contributor, with accompanying text by Skoggard, Nest's former staff writer. Moore's photos, mostly of lavish European estates, were edited by Holtzman and laid out by Tom Beckham, Nest's former designer. With this book, the dream team of Holtzman, Skoggard, Moore, and Beckham has reunited. Let's hope there's more to come.