Made on August 14th 1992
In August of 1992, I was doing a two week stint at a pub in Jasper, Alberta.
Jasper as it always is, at anytime of year, was beautiful.
One afternoon, I was sitting in the pub having lunch.
The radio was on and tuned to CKUA out of Edmonton.
A James McMurtry song came on.
I had never heard a McMurtry tune on the radio before, so I was pumped just to hear him.
Then the DJ came on after the song and said that he was playing in Edmonton on August 16th.
That was Sunday night!
I couldn’t believe it!
I had that night off!
Sunday morning, bright and early, I made my way in to Edmonton.My brother drove in from Bonnyville with our buddy Cool Hand.
I couldn’t believe that McMurtry was playing in Edmonton.
I was such a fan it was embarrassing.
The show was at the Media Club, which was in the basement of an IGA on 99th street.
The show was at 9, which meant the doors were at 7, so we lined up at 6.
I found it odd that it was only Chris, Cool Hand and I standing there on the sidewalk waiting to get in.
Anyway, the doors finally opened, we went in and grabbed the table right in front of the stage.
There might have been 30 of us there for the show.
McMurtry walked in around 8:30 and stood at the bar.
I convinced myself to go and say hello.
He was quiet but pleasant.
My brother got his autograph.
He went on stage and peeled off one great song after another.During his song “Angeline” my brother and I sang along to the chorus at the top of our lungs.
“Angeline, Angeline… darker nights I’ve never seen. I don’t love these East Texas Pines…”McMurtry looked down at us and said “I’ll sing this one, thanks…”
Anyway, that little incident aside, the show was great.
He played a jumbo Guild that sounded like a million bucks.
After the show, he packed up his guitar and hit the road.
I was so envious.
I wanted that to be my life.
I wanted to be a singer, songwriter out there on the road playing my songs for 30 people 3000 miles from my home.
And I really wanted a Jumbo Guild like McMurtry’s.
As luck would have it, all of the above happened.
I bought a Jumbo Guild that I played at hundreds of shows, thousands of miles from home for 30 people.
I bought it at Long and McQuade in Edmonton in October of 1992.
I walked in the store and there it was.
As pretty as a picture.
I didn’t even think twice.
I picked it up, strummed a G chord and walked to the cash register.
I wrote “Eldorado” and “Daisy’s Dream” on that guitar.
I also wrote the entire “Kerouac”, “Simplify” and “Song And Dance, Man” albums on that guitar.
I played that guitar on every song the “Northern Town” album except for “Benny” (a parlor guitar) and “A Million Miles Away” (a 12 string).
It’s the only acoustic guitar I played “Kerouac”.
Old Number 2 was my main guitar from ‘92-’97.
Old Number 1 sat on stand behind me, in front of the kick drum most nights.
In April of ‘97, there was a changing of the guard and Old Number 1 became my go to guitar until June of ‘99.
For the albums “Song And Dance, Man” and “Simplify” I tuned the Guild to a “Nashville Tuning”.
That’s when the E,A,D and G strings on a normal six-string guitar are strung an octave higher.
Kinda like a 12 string minus the lower octaves.
In October of ’93, while waiting for band rehearsal to begin.
I was sitting on a drum stool, strumming my acoustic.
Byran Bueckert, who played drums on the Northern Town tour, came down and asked me to hand him his seat.
I laid my guitar on the floor, stood up and handed Byran his drum stool.
The bottom fell out.
Ten pounds of drum stool hardware fell on my guitar and I was left holding nothing but the seat.
A heartbreaking crack ran across the top or face of the guitar.
If you look to the left of the picture you can see the crack running top to bottom.