The Taylor Guitar Road Show was held upstairs at Lillian’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs on Thursday as a warm-up to the 15th annual Capital Region Guitar Show, which is being held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Saratoga Springs tonight and Saturday. In the intimate space provided by Ray Morris and his staff, several rows of chairs faced the make-shift stage surrounded by Taylor guitars on three sides. Other models were standing in groups on tabletops around the room.
Each of the regional Road Shows features one of a chosen handful of revolving special-guest guitarists – all world-class musicians who, of course, play Taylor guitars. In Saratoga, it was Wayne Johnson, a Grammy Award-winning artist (“Pink Guitar” in 2005), who has played for several decades with Manhattan Transfer and just wrapped up a two-and-a-half year stint with Bette Midler in Las Vegas.
For those fifty-or-so people who came to the free event, it was a chance to hear Taylor Guitars’ history, a description of some of the company’s ever-evolving manufacturing techniques/innovations and to hear Johnson beautifully play a wide range of musical styles in a dizzying medley. Jazz ditties spun into country western fragments with countless musical nods in between. The man is nothing if not versatile.
Matt McCabe – whose Saratoga Guitar shop sponsored the evening session at Lillian’s as well as the Capital Guitar Show – obviously loves being a Taylor Guitar dealer. “We’ve been selling Taylor Guitars for over 10 years now,” he explained. “The company is really pro-active. Taylor has a philosophy to keep in touch with the owners of their guitars. The company’s involvement doesn’t end with the purchase of one of their guitars because they keep in touch and support their customers through things like this seminar.”
The informative evening concluded with Johnson and Taylor’s regional sales manager Monte Montefusco presiding over a drawing to give away free t-shirts, strings and guitar picks.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk