Back to our regularly-scheduled program: Continuing now in sequence of events at the 11th Harp Guitar Gathering…
Most of you have known Dave for some time as one half of the Powell Brothers (they originally went by the group name “Rex James”). Anthony (Tone, to his friends) is the older one, who sings, plays mandolin, fiddle, guitar and harp guitar, while Dave (who also sings) sticks to harp guitar (coincidentally, a Tonedevil, which the brothers build in their new shop/factory in Sandpoint, Idaho).
This older photo is one of my favorites of the boys (yes, my wife and I still think of them as “our boys,” even though Tone’s rapidly approaching 40[!], with Dave four years behind…).
They’ve both come a long way – both as builders and players – from the first Gathering they came to eight years ago (HGG3 in Salem, Oregon). I mean, just look at the youngster below with one of the first harp guitars his brother built.
At HGG5, they got a last minute spot performing in one of the Gathering’s public concerts (above), and have been performing (and eventually joining the Luthier Panels) at every Harp Guitar Gathering since (HGG10 below).
We’ve been hearing a lot more interesting solo harp guitar writing and arranging from Dave in the last couple years (after two Rex James CDs, he made his solo harp guitar debut on Further Beyond Six Strings) – and, as he also has his own very distinctive style, we (at SB’s suggestion) decided it was time to ask him to do a feature and workshop this year.
He was great! Some nice new originals, in between which he took us through his classic “Axel F” arrangement, and some examples of his most recent specialty: fiddle tunes on harp guitar (the boys have been gigging for a year with fiddler Arvid Lundin). BTW, Tone unfortunately had to stay home this trip to mind the business.
He played the prettiest (and perhaps best-sounding) Tonedevil yet: a redwood-topped instrument with extravagant inlay work by Liz Sedler, who formerly worked with the R.L. Givens Mandolin Co.
Between tunes, he took questions and discussed some of his techniques, tunings, and writing and arranging methods. His next morning’s workshop took players through his arrangement of Fisher’s Hornpipe (Dave kindly agreed to share the TAB with you all here).
Expect to see much more of both Powell Brothers as they help friend Alden Morgan finish up his highly-anticipated harp guitar documentary film (1 minute trailer now live!) and then host next year’s Harp Guitar Gathering in Sandpoint, Idaho next October 3-5!
Pics of Dave’s Saturday morning feature at HGG11 by Chuck Thompson, CHGP.
Note Dave’s thumb rest-stroke, palm-muting technique with simultaneous neck and sub plucking.
“Rugged Idaho hipster” or “sexy Pacific Northwest vampire”?
Thanks for the generous and well-written article on my sons, Gregg. So happy they have you two as “surrogate” parents : )
A well deserved feature!
Two too talented Tonedevils! Can’t wait for HGG 12 and I love potatoes. Perfect!