top of page

"Creativity" in Music

Updated: 4 days ago



CREATIVE:  “Resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.”  That conventional definition includes Steve Spurgin’s thought-provoking songs, Dan Crary’s flights of fancy up and down the neck of a guitar, Don Stiernberg’s cerebral mandolin improvisation, and John Carlini’s masterful guitar chord solos.  We all know that musicians and songwriters are creative.


Let’s dig a little deeper.  After hearing Scott Nygaard (Editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine) play a great solo during an intimate jam session a year or two ago, I said something to him about “how mellow your guitar sounds.”  He flashed an impish grin, leaned the guitar against a chair and asked, “How mellow does it sound now?”  I got the point.  “Creativity” in music also stems from the unique “voice” that professional players develop on their instruments.  Stringed instrument players call it “touch”; horn players call it “tone”.  Some say that music is 80% player and 20% instrument.


But what about the guy who looks at an old burned out garage, saws up some of the charred wood, and makes a killer guitar out of it?  That’s Mario Proulx.  What about the guy who gets hooked on bluegrass music, follows his muse, and starts making some of the most beautiful, mellow mandolins on the planet?  That’s Ray Dearstone.  What about the fella who moved to Maui for greater accessibility to its native koa wood so he could fashion gorgeous instruments from it?  That’s Steve Grimes.  (Check out his recently released “Labor of Love,” a CD on which he plays electric and acoustic guitars and sings some of his own tunes.)  Finally, what about John Montelone?  His artistic, creative approach to making guitars and mandolins is legendary.


So let’s celebrate the luthiers.  Every time we play, those men and women are there with us, and they deserve accolades galore for what they do.


By the way, this site’s “Links” page includes one for each of the builders and musicians mentioned in these paragraphs.  Check ‘em out.





Recent Posts

See All

On the Therapeutic Value of Music

Sometime in the early 1970s, a couple of “Wild Oats” bandmates of mine (Ron LeGrand – banjo; Mel Durham – bass) and I decided that it might be fun to play music for some of the folks living in Orange

Hurt Feelings And Ruffled Feathers

Having spent 40 years standing in the front of university classrooms (1974 – 2014), and having read a boatload of graduate student papers (my favorite topic was “What Grade I Deserve in This Course an


bottom of page