An Emerald Guitars customer has made the incredibly generous gesture of presenting a band with an Amicus, our short scale 12-string, after being ‘floored’ by their sound.
Jon Allen was hugely impressed with Ha Ha Tonka from Springfield, Missouri after seeing them open for their fellow Bloodshot Records compatriots, Old 97’s at Neumos in Seattle, Washington where he lives.
“I’m no pushover when it comes to music. A tough critic, actually. It takes a lot to impress me. But Ha ha Tonka knocked me out. They incorporate a lot of ingredients into the recipe of their music. You can hear a definite mid-western (almost Celtic) folk/bluegrass thing, as well as some just flat-out rockin’ blues but it’s their five-part vocal harmonies that really make a crowd get involved. Toss in some intriguing chord changes and lyrics and they have a very unique sound with amazing range.
“Right from the beginning, I was intrigued with their front man, Brian Roberts, using an acoustic 12-string w/capo. You don’t see that every day. But then the lead guitarist, Brett Anderson pulls out a mandolin and they play a couple of songs that really floored me. That’s when the light went on for me. These guys need an Amicus! And it just so happens that I have five of them! Well, actually four. I gave one to Joe Walsh.”
Jon’s friend also had tickets to see Old 97’s in Portland, Oregon the next night, so Jon told Brett that he would bring an Amicus for him to try out. “First came the oooh’s and the ahhhh’s from just seeing it and then Brett pulled it out and started playing it. It was an instant love affair.
“People that know me think I’m nuts. ‘You just GIVE them away?’ Yup. I do. Under two conditions: You’re an excellent musician and I see that look in your eye when you start to play it.”
Ha ha Tonka’s carbon fibre bliss
Brett from Ha ha Tonka said anytime he meets someone boasting about specific guitars he’s never heard of, he takes it with a grain of salt.
“Jon had some very nice things to say about our set and then went on to mention the Amicus and Emerald Guitars, and kept going on and on and on about this thing; Said I was gonna fall in love with it the second I touched it, blah blah blah. That’s all I really heard at that moment.
“I didn’t know what to think at first, but he mentioned he was going to bring the Amicus to the show the next night in Portland for me to play, but was hinting at a guest list spot. I’ve heard this story many times before, but decided to give the man a chance.
“So after the show in Portland, we brought Jon backstage with the Amicus. He opened it up, and I said to myself, hmm, that looks interesting. I had never seen anything like it. Carbon fiber bliss.
“I must say, the second I strummed that thing, all of Jon’s words made perfect sense. This was an incredible instrument. Plays like butter and sounds like heaven. I did fall in love, and Jon knew it. He said ‘I can see in your eyes you really love it, and that’s what I wanted to see. It’s yours.’
“I couldn’t believe it, but Jon gave the Amicus to me. It’s been used a lot since that day. I can’t thank Jon enough for introducing me to Emerald Guitars and the Amicus.”