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NAMM's Believe in Music Week recap

  • By Robert Kinsler

    NAMM is a worldwide community of companies that manufacture, distribute, and/or retail musical instruments and products. For decades NAMM — whose headquarters are in Carlsbad, CA — has staged its highly-anticipated winter show in Southern California every January. The annual event attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually, with attendees coming from more than 100 nations worldwide.

    However, with the continuing challenges related to the COVID-19 health crisis, The NAMM Show couldn't be staged in Anaheim earlier this month.

    However, rather than remain silent this month, NAMM staged its new virtual event, Believe in Music Week, Jan. 18-22, 2021. The event offered more than 80 hours of content, including the debut of new products, live performances, and educational sessions. 

    I was able to enjoy much of the content which was provided online from the comfort and safety of my home.

    A highlight of the event was the 9th Annual She Rocks Awards which recognized the growing role that women play in the music industry — including as composers and performers and in the manufacturing and recording part of the music industry. This year's well-deserving honorees were groundbreaking band the Go-Go's, singer-songwriter-guitarist Nancy Wilson (of Heart), Evanescence frontwoman Amy LeeCherie Currie (lead singer of The Runaways), drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, comedian Margaret Cho and other top-tier names. 

    Among the welcome surprises was Lee performing a stirring solo performance of "Use My Voice" (a song set to be including on Evanescence's upcoming album "The Bitter Truth" scheduled for release on March 26, 2021), Wilson performing a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising," Currie joined by a slew of special guests (including Suzi Quatro and the duo 7Horse) on her track "Roxy Roller" and the Go-Go's playing their new song "Club Zero." 

    This year's She Rocks Awards ceremony was hosted by Halestorm singer-guitarist Lzzy Hale, with rising band Magnolia Boulevard performing its sonic blend of blues and Southern rock as well.

    I always look forward to seeing some of the new models unveiled at the NAMM Show. Fortunately, that tradition was honored as part of Believe in Music Week too. Look no further than new instruments revealed by Martin and Gibson last week.

    C.F. Martin & Co. — better known as Martin — released its OOL Earth guitar at the beginning of Believe in Music Week.  

    Inspired by the growing movement to fight climate change, artist Robert Goetzl's inspired watercolor painting of the earth was fused with Martin Chairman and CEO Chris Martin's own commitment to the planet to develop the Earth guitar — the first acoustic guitar that is 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®)-certified and 100 percent plastic-free. Martin lead instrument designer Tim Tell and former Martin Green Team leader Chris Thomas were also involved in developing the beautiful and beautifully-sounding acoustic guitar.

    “There’s so much that we can do as individuals to fight climate change in our daily lives,” said Chris Martin. “Yet we are continually looking for ways that our company can inspire musicians and their fans to take action. Not just on Earth Day, but every day. Music has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together for change."

    The guitar is priced at $2,249, and Martin will make a charitable donation to the Rainforest Alliance as part of its commitment to helping the planet.

     

    Late last week, Gibson announced that it is celebrating the legacy of famed singer-songwriter/lead guitarist Peter Frampton with the new Peter Frampton "Phenix" Les Paul Custom VOS electric guitar.

    “My brand-new Gibson Les Paul Custom VOS is here, and boy is it good,” says Frampton in a media announcement. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the look and sound. Gibson has gone that extra mile in every area to make this feel and sound the closest to my original, storied Phenix Les Paul Custom guitar. The neck and weight of this mahogany guitar will amaze you at how great it feels and how light it is (and it’s even a hair lighter than the Phenix). This is the real deal. Thank you, Gibson!”

    Yamaha focused on several new products, including the cutting-edge YDS-150 Digital / Electronic Saxophone. The instrument allows musicians to play the saxophone anytime and anywhere. With a fusion of acoustic and digital technologies, viewers can see well-known artists discuss and showcase the instrument. According to Yamaha, the digital sax delivers an authentic, gorgeous sound that feels and responds as if you were playing an acoustic instrument. Learn more online at https://usa.yamaha.com.

    For more information on Believe in Music Week (most of the content will remain online through the end of February), visit NAMM.org.

     

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