“The Band’s” Robbie Robertson Honored<br>With Twin Flamed Hawaiian Koa Signature Guitars
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 23 - July 2007
00-42K Robbie Robertson
00-42K2 Robbie Robertson
“I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead.” As written by Robbie Robertson and performed by the Band, the opening lines of “The Weight” rank among the most evocative in all of rock. The song is a spiritual journey, but the story behind the song is one of a Martin guitar providing musical inspiration of a most unusual kind.
While the Band was living in Woodstock, New York in 1967, Robertson began writing “The Weight” on his D-28, but struggled to come up with lyrics. At some point he looked into the guitar’s soundhole and saw the word “Nazareth,” along with the rest of the C. F. Martin hotstamp on the back center brace. It became the focus of the song’s opening verse, and the rest of the lyrics quickly fell into place. He has said looking inside the guitar “gave” him the first line of the song.
The rest is rock history. “The Weight” and “Music from Big Pink,” the album from which the single came, established the Band as roots rock innovators and Robbie Robertson as a powerful songwriter and guitarist. Robertson’s next eight years with the Band and 30 years as a solo artist have cemented his reputation as an artist of uncommon originality and depth.
Martin guitars have remained a constant element in Robertson’s music. His favorite Martin is a unique 1919 00-45K, the only Koa 00-45 ever produced. To honor Robbie Robertson and his contributions to American music, Martin is proud to introduce two guitars based upon and inspired by this exquisite instrument: the 00-42K and 00-42K2 Robbie Robertson Signature Editions.
These strikingly beautiful guitars feature Martin’s traditional short-scale (24.9”) “00” 12-fret design, considered by many to be the most elegant and tonally balanced body st yle ever produced. Both the 00-42K and 00-42K2 Robbie Robertson Signature Editions showcase spectacular solid tonewoods: backs and sides of rare Hawaiian flamed koa, among the most beautiful woods in the world, and tops of either rare Italian Alpine spruce – for warmth and power – on the 00-42K or Hawaiian flamed koa – for clarity and punchiness - on the 00-42K2. In both cases, 1/4” scalloped braces give these guitars superb responsiveness.
Style 42 abalone inlay around the top and fingerboard extension combine with a Style 45 abalone inlaid rosette to give these guitars sumptuous good looks. Black/white fine line inlay around the sides, back, endpiece and heelcap accent grained ivoroid bindings and fittings throughout. A colorful Style 45 mosaic embellishes the back. A flawless polished gloss finish allows the body’s stunning tonewoods and appointments to shine.
Carved from genuine mahogany, the 1 13/16” modified V neck, with its diamond volute, slotted tapered headstock and square slots, is true to the original. The handsome polished Madagascar rosewood headplate bears the Martin “Torch” inlay first seen on Style 45 Martins from the 1920s and early 1930s. Waverly open-geared tuners with engraved bronze plates and ivoroid buttons, and the “C. F. Martin” pressure stamp on the back of the headstock, add to the vintage vibe. The black ebony fingerboard showcases Style 45 snowflake position markers. Both neck and headstock are bound with grained ivoroid and accented with mitered black/white fine line inlays. The entire neck is finished to a polished gloss to match the body.
A black ebony pyramid bridge, Style 45 bridge and end pins with abalone dot inlays, and bone nut and saddle complete these vintage-inspired masterpieces. Like the guitar that inspired them, the 00-42K and 00-42K2 Robbie Robertson Signature Editions come without a pickguard.
As is clear from his namesake guitars, Robbie Robertson has an appreciation for tradition. The son of a Jewish father and Mohawk mother, Robertson was born in Toronto, Ontario and spent a portion of his childhood at the Six Nations Reservation. His first guitar lessons came courtesy of a cousin, and he soon began composing songs. While influenced by a range of musical styles, including country blues and big band, he eventually gravitated to rock and dropped out of school to pursue a career in music. In 1958, he hooked up with rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, the Hawks.
After leaving Hawkins at the end of 1963, the Hawks remained together as a band. Soon after, they came to the attention of Bob Dylan and – renaming themselves “The Band” – backed the singer/songwriter on his legendary 1965-1966 world tour. While continuing an association with Dylan, the Band – propelled by Robertson’s insightful, narrative songwriting, and its instrumental and vocal prowess – forged a unique musical identity that began with “Music from Big Pink” and continued through nine more albums and a handful of hit singles, including “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In” and “Life is a Carnival.” The Band dissolved in late 1976, following an all-star concert filmed by director Martin Scorsese and released as “The Last Waltz.”
Though “The Last Waltz” marked the end of Robertson’s association with the Band (which regrouped in 1993 without him), it also marked the beginning of a fruitful relationship with Scorsese. In 1980, he composed the score to “Raging Bull” and in the years since has served as music producer or music consultant for “The King of Comedy,” “The Color of Money,” “Casino” and “Gangs of New York.” On his own, he also wrote, produced and acted in “Carny,” starring Jodie Foster.
In 1987, Robertson launched his solo career with a well-received self-titled album. His second album, “Storyville,” a conceptual work about the famed New Orleans district, was released in 1991. In 1994 he returned to his roots by teaming with Native American group, the Red Road Ensemble for “Music for the Native Americans.” A collection of songs composed for the television documentary “Contact from the Underworld of Redboy” followed in 1998. Most recently he executive-produced a five-CD and DVD box set of the Band, released in 2005.
The 00-42K and 00-42K2 Robbie Robertson Signature Editions are limited to 100 guitars each, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each guitar going to Robertson’s chosen charity, the American Indian College Fund, an organization that supports Native American college students, and tribally-run colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Delivered in a Geib-style hardshell case, each of these Signature Edition guitars bears an interior label personally signed by Robbie Robertson and numbered in sequence with the edition total. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will accept orders for the 00-42K and 00-42K2 Robbie Robertson Signature Editions until the edition is sold out. As the edition begins to be subscribed, Martin will post the names of participating authorized Martin dealers on Martin website.