NEWS and EVENTS
Martinfest XVIII – August 2019
The late night song circle starts to fill up
(Neil Young’s “I Believe in You,” wiith Diana Keller)
Paul Ukena Trio Works Up a New Tune for Martins on Main
Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” with Paul Ukena and Frank Krupit
Blow Hole Theater – April 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019
165 W 26th St, New York, New York 10001
7 PM Sharp! I am the opening act, as usual.
Just got back from a three day marathon of shooting videos of the 2019 Martins for Maury’s Music
And boy are arms tired!
And we even had time to shoot some video of me playing one of my own songs on one of my own guitars, on the stage at the Martin Museum.
* FYI – the official Freddy’s email went out stating the Highland Shatners are going on at 9 PM – not 9:30 on Sunday Night.
I think it is safe to say that if you arrive by 8:30 you may have time for the foam on your Guinness to settle and your corned beef sandwich to ring up at the food counter prior to whenever we actually start our first ditty.
It is fair to warn you all that I had a dream the other night that our front man, Kodos the Executioner, acquired a gigantic novelty leprechaun hat made of fuzzy fake green fur, festooned with big plastic shamrocks on springs, and sundry shiny green and white Mylar ribbons.
Hopefully the hat was but a dream. I will however be wearing my authentic Irish National Rugby Team jersey for the occasion. *
Freddy’s is at
Address: 627 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
March 2019 – St. Pat’s with the Highland Shatners!!!
“One of the best bars in America!” – Esquire Magazine
“The corned beef sandwich they do but once a year is worth the trip alone!” – T Spoon Phillips
January 2019 – Two days at C. F. Martin & Co.
Thanks to all at Martin Guitars, and especially Tim Teel, VP of Guitar Design, for hosting me and providing their sound testing room for my video reviews of the 2019 models, which were debuting at the NAMM show out in Anaheim at the same time. And special thanks to Michael Dickinson for handling the details of housing, meals, guitars, and access to the priceless Martin Museum instruments. The videos and written reviews will be appearing at One Man’s Guitar.
But I have been so busy with freelance writing I have not yet started to put the Martin stuff together. Soon…very soon….
Original Solo Acoustic Guitar Compositions
Order YOURS today!
A Visit to Maury’s Music
Sunday, March 17, 2019 – St. Pat’s with the Highland Shatners
Come have a Guinness, or a Smithwick’s, and their amazing corned beef sandwich made only for St. Pat’s!!!
The Shatners have been playing St. Pat’s at Freddy’s for years, and it is always a blast!
*Saturday November 17, New York City, I will be playing solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar for my friend Dick Boak at the opening of “Illustrations and Guitars by Dick Boak and Paintings by Tullio Desantis.” 273 Bleecker Street (formerly Matt Umanov Guitar Shop,) NY, NY 10014. 5 – 9 PM. For those unfamiliar, Dick was the longtime good will ambassador and public face for C. F. Martin & Co., the premiere builder of acoustic guitars in the world, before his retirement earlier this year.
* Saturday November 10, Fogelsville, PA – D.O.R.K.Fest 2018, Sam Adams Brew Pub in the Lehigh Valley Holiday Inn Conference Center
* Sunday, August 26 – The Paul Ukena Trio House Concert – actually an outdoor theater concert for about 60 people in West Chester, PA, Sunday Aug. 26th, 4 – 7 PM. Inquire if you are in the area, as it is invitation only event, but the band has some clout with the venue.
Spoon is in Pennsylvania this weekend, where he will be making a series of Martin guitar demonstration videos for Maury’s Music, after taking part in the musical memorial celebration of the life of dear friend Greg Kendig of Autumn Brew, who passed away earlier this month.
Check out Spoon’s Martinfest Journal of Adventure at the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum
With Photos and Videos!
Spoon’s Martinfest Schedule:
Thursday and Friday: C. F. Martin & Company, Nazareth, PA, catching up with old friends and playing new guitars.
Saturday: Martin on Main Street Fair, center of town at the top of Main St.
2:45 Spoon will be appearing with the Paul Ukena Trio on the main stage.
5:00 Spoon will be preforming solo on the main stage
Sunday: Nazareth Boro Park, rain or shine.
Highland Shatners At Hank’s Saloon – Friday, April 13
The Highland Shatners Annual St. Patrick’s Day Show
The Martin 000C-21 TSP Public Debut
My new Custom Artist Martin guitar made its public debut at Bushwick Book Club, featuring songs inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel Player Piano. At the new artist tea house called Mirror in the Woods, in the upcoming Gowanus section of Brooklyn.
So Many Features!
The T Spoon Phillips Custom Artist Martin Guitar
“I am proud as punch on Christmas Eve” to have the honor and privilege to design a Martin guitar made available for sale to the general public at Maury’s Music (maurysmusic.com)
It will be officially announced at Maury’s Music on Thursday, January 25, 2018.
Play in 1080p for best sound
If you like this video, I made it myself. If you don’t, I had no help.
I stole that line from a friend’s home studio CD. But the same sentiment applies to this video, and especially to this guitar, as I designed it entirely on my own.
And while it represents where I am musically in 2018, and the kind of guitar required of the diverse modes and genres of music I am expected to perform these days, it’s design contains decades of my experience with some of the world’s finest acoustic guitars.
I am especially indebted to Maury’s Music for their longtime friendship, and their confidence in my ability to put together a guitar that they would be almost as proud to offer for sale as I am for having designed it.
I believe this finely-crafted, professional-level musical instrument will be of practical use for players of Jazz and Rock, due to its sleek, fast neck, and expressive dynamic range, while the quintessential Martin tone will appeal to those who play music more-typically associated with flattop acoustic guitars. It is as well-suited for cowboy songs as it is New Age or Celtic fingerstyle tunes, and was designed and constructed with versatility as its primary virtue.
It is an instrument geared to be the do-all workhorse for many kinds of musicians, while built with the precision and delicacy to make the most out of precise, delicate musical artistry, and with a list of special features both luxurious and exclusive, yet all chosen carefully for the creation and enhancement of tone and the music made with it.
As Dick Boak says, “It is all about tone, Tone, TONE!”
There truly isn’t another high-end, short-scale, rosewood 000 on the market remotely like it.
Just about everyone among Martin’s main Custom Shop team did something to help me realize this long-and-thought-out project. I do not know if I am lucky or liked, but if I had been turned loose in the wood acclimation warehouse at Martin, I could not have picked out a soundboard more to my liking. And whoever found a Guatemalan rosewood back with that much straight grain in the center deserves a much bigger box of pastry than I could fit in a mailbox. And the way it takes on a 3D effect where the back meets the neck, like a waterfall plunging into a deep abyss, is far out!
click to enlarge
And the time and effort that obviously went into the smallest details in the creation of this instrument, e. g. picking out a perfectly matched set of colorful abalone position markers of equal and balanced iridescence, made me choke up like an Oscar winner when I took it from its case for the first time, and then sat down on the morning of December 21st, and my new amazing Martin guitar told me what to play. And it was love.
Forty Years in the Making
It has been over 40 years since the Jackson Browne album, For Everyman, made its initial impact upon my young, impressionable ears. More to the point, it was the never flashy but always evocative guitar work provided by David Lindley on that record that schooled me in how a sideman can so enhance a song without overdoing it with superfluous fireworks. And it has been less than 40 years since I read the interview where Lindley mentioned that his favorite recording acoustic guitar was a 000-21 from the early ’40s.
If I would not have already been drawn to Martin’s Style 21 instruments because of their esoteric status and utilitarian yet beautiful aesthetics, with rosewood a bit too wild and woolly in its looks for the staid Martin Company’s ship-of-the-line 28s, Mr. Dave’s endorsement sealed the deal.
Long have I had the dream of creating an instrument that would prove genuinely versatile for a musician who played as much Jazz or Rock on their acoustic guitar as Folk or Fingerstyle, while having a tonal heart that would have been right at home at the Martin Guitar Company of the 1930s and ’40s.
And this instrument has exceeded my every expectation.
In other news: I will be appearing at Bushwick Book Club on Tuesday, January 30. This installment of the show based on great books is at Mirror in the Woods, the hot new venue on Union Street in Gowanus, not far from Park Slope. They are doing songs inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. But I did not write a song, but I will be playing with someone who did.
After all it is January, and that means NAMM and new guitars, and I got enough to write about as it is!
So that is all I can say about this particular new guitar for now!
Blowhole Theater Holiday Spectacular!!!
Thursday Night! Dec. 14th – 7 PM
BLOWHOLE THEATER HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR!!!!!
Hosted by Don Rauf of Life in Blender and me, your humble Spoon
37 West 17th Street – SECOND FLOOR
New York, NY 10011
Inspired by the Coney Island sideshow of the same name, Blowhole Theater the (once upon a time) annual holiday variety show, is returning to December for the first time in many years.
Featuring the first NYC appearance of the Paul Ukena Trio in far too long!
Plus many fun musical acts, stand-up comedy, witty monologists; even the Amazing Sargasso, our mystic contact with the great beyond!!!
Including… Robin Aigner, Chris Rael, Chris Smiley, Charlie Nieland, Susan Hwang, Marlon Cherry, Henry Tenney, and Don Rauf, The Possible Gaynor, Martin Kramer, Leah Coloff, Andrew Lederer, Jessie Kilguss, Kenny Young and the Eggplant, Angela Alverson, Myron the Magnificent, Monty Banks, Bill Tipper, Jon Protas of the Nice Men, Michael Wilder, and The Jackson Pinks.
All in the amazingly cool showroom of CounterEvolution with handmade furnishings built from old bowling alleys.
FREE!!! – ok, there may be some small donation expected to help pay for the refreshments.
As ever, I will be doing a song at the start of the show, and the Paul Ukena Trio will be on sometime during the first hour. And I will be doing the co-hosting throughout the night, and running the traditional Blowhole Moonshine Ritual with volunteers from the audience.
The Most December Fun You Can Have With Your Snow Pants Off!!!!
Bring Both Your Friends!!!!!
Blowhole Theater – December 14th – 7PM Til the Reindeer Come Home!!!!!!
37 West 17th Street – SECOND FLOOR
New York, NY 10011
You Can Say That Again!
I just got back from another visit to Maury’s Music to shoot guitar demos, “And boy are my arms tired!”
Bushwick Book Club – Meat Cake Bible by Dame Darcy
Here is the tune Wax Wolf, with lyrics by Henry Tenney and music by your humble Spoon, inspired by Meat Cake Bible, the recently released collection of Dame Darcy’s macabre alt-comic Meat Cake, video by Dame Darcy.
Blow Hole Theater – August 23
The seasonal variety show that goes back to the 1980s surfaces to send up another spout of talent, music, comedy, and impersonations of barnyard animals
Barbes, Brooklyn 6:30 – 9:30
Co-hosted by your humble Spoon
Martinfest 2017 – August 3 – 7
Saturday Aug. 5 – Main Stage at Martin on Main, Nazareth, PA.
I will be doing my own stuff at 1:30, and playing with the Paul Ukena Trio at 2:30
Sunday Aug. 6 – Boro Park, Nazareth, PA
Paul Ukena Trio – approx. 1:00
“It was a total blast!” recalls former spokesmodel
Check out these and other revealing guitar demonstration videos at Maury’s Music’s YouTube Channel
Off to the wilds of the Panther Valley and Coaldale, Pennsylvania, to shoot some guitar demonstration videos for Maury’s Music
This will be my first opportunity to see the new Martin 0-18 and compared it directly to the 00-18. Awesome!
Friday, March 17, 2017 – St. Patrick’s Day with the Highland Shatners!
Paul Ukena Trio Website
Check out the new site and add your name to the mailing list
Bushwick Book Club
I was happy to accept an invitation to accompany Henry Tenney at the June Bushwick Book Club, featuring songs inspired by David Lynch’s autobiographical work.
June 8, 2016
Counter Evolution in New York’s famous Manhattan
Tennessee Williams Inspires New Music
Monday night The Bushwick Book Club at Superfine in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
The poster said 8, BUT the official start time is 7pm/SUNSET with a new conceptual piece by Marc Buchy.
St. Patrick’s Day with the Highland Shatners
Thursday March 17 – 7:30
627 5th Ave near 17th St. in Brooklyn
We will be playing unplugged acoustic in the main bar near the piano
The R train to Prospect Av (which is 15th St.) at 4th Ave. and Freddy’s is between 17th and 18th St. on 5th Ave.
But the 5th Ave. bus from Park Slope is leisurely and drops you off right across the street.
So come get your Irish on with the Highland Shatners, even though we play Scottish music and stuff from Star Trek.
The Winter NAMM show opens Thursday in sunny Southern California.
I am off to the frigid snowfields of Nazareth, PA and the Martin Guitar Factory to get a hands-on look at the 2016 models.
My exclusive reviews will be appearing at
and check out my social and cultural commentary at
But I intend to find time to further expand and improve on the new version to tspguitar.com
So check in from time to time and see how it’s shaping up!
Not all guitars are created equal
1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe (photo: Robert Corwin)