(photo courtesy Chris Jones)
Chris’s Gallagher Guitar: G-70 (rosewood/Sitka dreadnought, 1970); GC-70 (rosewood/Sitka 000, recent)
Chris Jones has been playing a Gallagher guitar for 37 years. In fact, he’s been playing the same Gallagher guitar for 37 years.
Now the frontman of the bluegrass band Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, Chris started playing guitar when he was 14, learning from a private teacher and from slowing down Doc Watson and Norman Blake records. Chris played with Special Consensus and the Weary Hearts before forming the Night Drivers in 1995. Chris is also a host of SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction and columnist for the online bluegrass news source, Bluegrass Today.
Chris’s main guitar is a 1970 G-70 model he found in a music store in Burlington, Vermont, in 1980. Already familiar with the playing of Doc Watson, Chris jumped on the opportunity to own a Gallagher. “I was thrilled to find it, and I’ve been playing it ever since,” he says. “I’ve only once recorded with a different guitar in my entire life.”
The G-70 is Gallagher’s traditional rosewood-bodied model. It has a Sitka spruce top, voiced bracing, and herringbone trim. Chris also plays a newer GC-70 model, the 12-fret, 000 version of the dreadnought G-70.
Chris Jones and the Night Drivers is a four-piece ensemble featuring Jon Weisberger on bass, with Gina Clowes on banjo and Mark Stoffel on mandolin. Described by Bluegrass Today’s John Curtis Goad as “classy-grass”, the band released a record earlier this year entitled Made to Move. “I’m a Wanderer”, the latest single from that record, has been the #1 spot on Bluegrass Today’s airplay chart four separate times.
Juan M Soria
Juan’s Gallagher Guitar: SG-50 sunburst (mahogany slope-shoulder dreadnought, 2016)
Juan Soria first visited the Gallagher shop in July 2016. Less than two months later, a Gallagher guitar became one of the singer-songwriter’s main touring instruments. Juan discovered Gallagher Guitar serendipitously while playing a gig in Harlem, New York. Juan was part of a line-up that included the Tennessee-based band Reed Turchi and the Caterwauls. Playing electric guitar for the Caterwauls was Joey Fletcher, a long-time friend of the shop and electric Gallagher player.
“The first note that he played during sound check caught my attention,” says Juan, of Joey’s guitar. Joey introduced Juan to his Gallagher, and a few months later, brought him to visit the shop. Juan played every guitar on the premises. “There was one that stood out to me,” he says. “I played it and fell in love.”
“My main reason for wanting to play a Gallagher, aside from the sound and quality, is the fact that they are handmade and each instrument is unique. I think a guitar is an extension of your body, and my Gallagher fit with me in such a manner.”
A native of Argentina, Juan currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and regularly tours throughout the U.S. and abroad. He performs folk/rock songs in both English and Spanish. Juan’s Gallagher guitar is a SG-50 model with a rare sunburst finish. It has mahogany back and sides and a spruce top.
Juan started playing guitar when he was eight years old. The Rolling Stones played in Argentina that year; when Juan watched their concert live on public television, he knew he wanted to play guitar like Keith Richards. He studied guitar for seven years with renowned Argentine guitarist Pino Marrone. Juan credits Marrone with his ability to “see the guitar as not only an instrument, but as an orchestra.” Juan cites Joe Satriani, John Lennon, Dave Matthews, and Gustavo Cerati – among many others – as some of his major musical influences.
Juan’s first album, Erase una vez (“Once upon a time”), was produced by Tweety Gonzalez and released in 2016. He is currently recording a new album, Out of my element, an all-acoustic venture set to drop later this year.
Juan is touring in Montana and Alaska this summer, and in Argentina and Europe in the fall.
(photo: Lucius Musick)
Joey’s Gallagher Guitar: “Gallacaster” (the first electric Gallagher, 2013)
“I remember instantly thinking, ‘this is my guitar’,” says Joey Fletcher, of the first time he played his Tele-style guitar. “When people talk about me and my playing, my guitar is just as much [a part of] the conversation. I wanted to play a Gallagher because of the quality and craftsmanship that goes into every guitar.”
A fellow Middle Tennessean, Fletcher started seriously playing guitar in high school, learning by copying musicians he heard on tapes and CDs. He names the Allman Brothers, Luther Dickinson, and Nashville’s Jack Pearson as major influences.
Joey’s guitar is the first official electric Gallagher guitar, and one of only nine total made. It has a mahogany body, maple top, and ebony fretboard.
Fletcher currently plays with Rhythm Kitchen, Josh Farrow, India Ramey, and Banjo Mouth. Rhythm Kitchen’s long-awaited album is due out early this year, and Fletcher is working on his own EP to be released this summer.