After 36 years in downtown Brattleboro VT, Maple Leaf Music is moving. There are several factors that have played into this difficult decision to pick up our roots. Despite our effort to either purchase or secure a rent controlled commercial space, the steep increase in rent prices over the last four years in the Southern Vermont region combined with the fact that retail spaces in town are fairly limited, have pushed us into moving. For our store, it is not sustainable to remain as a brick and mortar with large online players taking a substantial share of the market.
Maple Leaf Rag
In the Maple Leaf Rag, we chronicle our luthiers, trends in the music industry, new hand built effect pedals and more.
To begin, I would like to thank everyone who has called, emailed or visited the shop over the last year. It's good to know that music and the instruments that create it are still revered by so many people. The holiday season seems to bring reflection around everything that has passed over the last year as well as dreams for the coming year. December, for me, serves to mark the passage of time. As I look back over the last year, I feel a true sense of affirmation that there exists a strong need for the local music store in our technology focused society.
Fall is upon us again and this is one of the most beautiful times to be in Vermont. From the abundance of food produced by local farmers to the smell of apple pies cooking in the air to the maple trees displaying their vibrant colors, it is truly a season to behold and experience. I was recently speaking with a friend of Maple Leaf Music about how different seasons influence what instrument we choose to play. It's almost like the resonance of a particular instrument is suited for a certain season, like hot steamy summer nights are best paired with resonator guitars played with a slide. We both agreed that crisp fall weather pairs perfectly with the rhythmic drone sound of banjos. So this fall, I thought I would share some of the small banjo builders we carry here at Maple Leaf Music with you. I hope you have a chance to visit us and experience the sound of the harvest.
This newsletter marks a huge milestone for us, we've finally hit our third year of ownership which is aptly celebrated with leather. According to historical sources....
The leather anniversary is significant because by the third year "it is believed couples are aware of the marriage’s durability, and tradition has it that while the initial honeymoon period is well and truly over, husband and wife have discovered and dealt with the more irritating and less enjoyable aspects of each others personality and got through that stage successfully so the marriage has even more chance of lasting.
Leather is therefore chosen to mark the third year due to its feel of resilience, durability, strength and flexibility as all these qualities are important in helping a business to continue to flourish.
2014-2015 has seen a lot of change in the music industry with the faltering of large music retailers, massive improvements in electric guitar effects, and an upswing in younger musicians becoming more involved in traditional American Musics' and utilizing folk instruments in the world of pop.
When you hear the name Guild, the first thing that comes to mind are the unique players who chose a Guild as their go-to instrument from Mississippi John Hurt and Richie Havens to the newer musicians like St. Vincent. Guild as a brand has always been considered something of a third rail in the acoustic and electric instrument market. Not garnering the same amount of press as the other two major competitors (Martin and Gibson), Guild established itself as a rogue entity that was sought out for its distinct tone and playability. Musicians wanted something outside of the box literally. We have more people come into the shop to reminisce about the Guild guitar they owned in the 60’s and 70’s than any other brand. Guild has created a loyal following from being an outsider.
Saturday March 21st, The Snaz made their debut appearance at The Trophy in Austin Texas as part of the South by Southwest annual music festival. If you haven't heard of this four member, Brattleboro based band, then you'll definitely want to check out their newest album "Running Away From Home," which was produced by Peter Solley. Solley, a Brit turned Southern Vermonter, is a Grammy nominee for his work with Motorhead and was the production manager for the 1980 hit tune "What I Like About You" recorded by The Romantics.
Kate Spencer founder and former owner of Maple Leaf Music has recently launched an archive website (http://aesmithbanjo.com) for the A.E. Smith Banjo Company which she was the co-owner of in the 1970's. This archival website is a wealth of information where you can see images, original catalogs and the history of this New England Company. Kate is currently looking for current owners to send photographs and quotes so she can build out the website's portfolio.
The holiday season is a time for sitting around the table or fire with friends and family to share food, drink and the stories of our lives. This year Maple Leaf Music thought we would share with you music and videos from a few artists with a deep connection to the southern Vermont music scene. These artists are our local friends and family telling their stories through song. We wish you all a safe and music filled new year.
As you well know, the team here at Maple Leaf Music makes it our business to find the cream of the crop of anything with strings and frets. We look tirelessly, day-and-night for the best fretted instruments in all of North America to bring back home to southern Vermont. During our latest expedition in search of a great new banjo maker to bring aboard, we came upon the beautiful creations of Cedar Mountain Banjos from Brevard, North Carolina.
Most days at Maple Leaf Music we see stringed instruments walk in the door in need of help. Some call for slight adjustments while others require complete overhauls. Nearly all of it gets sent to our trusty local luthier, Tucker Barrett, whose years in the instrument building and repair industry have made him the go-to guy for players all over the region, from beginners to hobbyists to professionals.