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John Dee: The Crossroads

The Legend of the Crossroads -

It's a gloomy night at a crossroads on a rural Mississippi plantation in the early 1930's. A struggling blues musician named Robert Johnson has a burning desire to play his guitar better than anyone else. At this lonely intersection, the Devil waits for Johnson. With the moon shining down, the Devil plays a few songs on Johnson's guitar. When Robert Johnson gets his guitar back, he has complete mastery over the instrument. His soul now belongs to the supernatural being, and for the next 5 years or so, he creates music that will live past his tragic, suspicious death in 1938 at the age of 27.

The story is legend; an entertaining tale told by traveling bluesmen through the South that eventually seeped into popular culture. But the astounding music Robert Johnson left behind continues to influence music more than 70 years after his death. His poetic lyrics and the sense of dread and doom he brought to his songs inspired Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Jack White, John Mayer and countless others both famous and unknown.

John Dee Holeman is one of those supremely talented blues musicians you've probably never heard of. He learned his art from Blind Boy Fuller and was influenced by Lightnin' Hopkins. For many of his 86 years, he's traveled the backroads of North Carolina, playing his guitar in both the Piedmont and Texas style. John received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship and has toured America, Europe and Asia continuing the blues tradition.

John Dee Holeman discovered the Martin 000-42 later in life. It's the perfect guitar for playing mournful, dark Delta blues.

And you don't have to sell your soul to do it.



 Continue your journey to find the Crossroads with photos on Flickr, then go behind the scenes with our Facebook album, and finally check out a video of John Dee Holeman in action on Youtube. Photos by Jimmy Williams.

John Dee is represented by the The Music Maker Relief Foundation which helps the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day to day needs. For more information visit:

LP: Ocean Way Recording

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Hollywood is synonymous with making movies. But in a nondescript building on Sunset Boulevard, you'll find the venerable Ocean Way Recording. From this hallowed studio, a large chunk of the soundtrack of America was created.

The list of artists who have worked within the walls of Ocean Way reads like a musical who's who. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack recorded here. Miles Davis created jazz here. Ray Charles belted out the blues here. Eric Clapton jammed with B.B. King here. The Mamas & the Papas polished their sound here. Tom Petty created hits here. The Rolling Stones, R.E.M. and U2 all rocked the place to the foundation. Ocean Way practically echoes with the sound of great artists making timeless music.

Which brings us to Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter LP. She's been partly inspired by the mind-boggling range of legends who have shaken the walls of Ocean Way Recording. You can hear a whisper of Sinatra in her style, and she cites Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrison as key influences. You can hear this intriguing blend of pop, rock, old-school-style singing in her cover of Roy Orbison's "It's Over" and her debut EP, "Into the Wild | Live at EastWest Studios," available everywhere.

LP's instrument of choice is a Martin 2 Concert Uke.

Check out Warner Bros. recording artist LP's unique vocal style at and learn more about the Martin 2 Concert Uke.


How to Enter:

·         Click on Show us your Love in our Love of my "Lifespan" Contest Above
·         Create an original song using the word "lifespan" in your lyrics 
        (your song must be 2-3 minutes long)
·         You must sing the song and be playing a guitar 
        (other instruments may be present)
·         Record your song and video and upload it to
·         Copy the video URL from and enter it on your submission form 
        (your video will be judged on originality, creativity, content and suitability)
·         Fill in all information and click "Submit" 
        (limit one entry per person)

Sounding Board Newsletter

The Sounding Board™ newsletter, available in both print and online editions, is written and published by C. F. Martin & Co. Typically, issues are published in January and July of each year beginning with Volume 1 in 1996.

The Sounding Board™ provides us with a vehicle to communicate with acoustic guitar enthusiasts, players, dealers, current owners, customers, and potential buyers. It includes letters that we have received, plus new product announcements, details about special edition instruments, developments in the string making area, news about the company, occasional technical information & helpful hints, and stories that will be of specific interest to either Martin guitar or Backpacker® owners.

To download a PDF version of The Sounding Board™, click on an image below. You will need Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view the file.

The print edition of The Sounding Board™ is available for free from your local authorized Martin dealership. If you wish to be included on our temporary recipient list, please mail your request with complete name and address to: The Sounding Board, The Martin Guitar Company, P.O. Box 329, Nazareth, PA 18064.

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