How did you get into music?
I actually remember the first tape, yes cassette tape, I purchased; it was Pearl Jam’s Ten. I was in the 5th or 6th grade and that’s what hooked me on music, but really only as a listener. I went on to become a devout metal head throughout high school (and even still for the record). I started guitar later in my life (my first year of college) and that was the moment my ears were opened to so many other genres. What really sank the hook for me musically, was my first “music” job at the Old Town School of Folk music in Chicago. It was there that I got bit by the acoustic music bug and there was no turning back from that moment forward.
Who inspired you?
My greatest inspiration is my Dad. Both he and my mom have supported me every step of the way through life, but also in music. My Dad was the one that got me started on guitar by teaching me the descending bass portion of the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Beyond that, he continually has shown me that music is something to find joy in, whether listening or playing. I know that may sound very “pie in the sky” or even cliche, but whether him and I were listening to records at home, seeing a show together, or jamming it was always about fun and enjoyment…. something I know I’ll always carry with me.
What has been the toughest challenge you have faced while building Acoustic Tuesday?
To be honest, keeping the show under an hour. Once I get talking about guitars, artists, and gear I feel like I enter a time warp of sorts.
Do you have a favorite story from your community?
There are so many it’s difficult to pick just one. Tony’s Acoustic Challenge is unique in that it helps members of all levels to truly achieve their goals by focusing on a regular and consistent guitar routine that works for each member’s unique situation. If I was to pick one favorite story line it has to be the magic that happens every year at our annual Acoustic Life Festival. Each year 100 plus Tony’s Acoustic Challenge members come to Bozeman to live their best Acoustic Life for 3 days. The festival culminates with open mics and group performances and to date every participant has played on stage in front of their fellow guitar geeks. This is a major accomplishment for each and every member and especially for those who may have held the self limiting belief that they would never have the courage to perform or play live. It is so inspiring to see players of all ages get up on stage and for many of them live out their guitar dream scene.
Who are you listening to now?
Holy smokes I’l try my best to narrow this list down. Here goes nothin’: Kelly Joe Phelps, , Tony Rice, Dead Horses, Charlie Parr, Caitlin Canty, Antoine Dufour, Gwenifer Raymond, Slipknot and Lamb of God (I told you I was still a metal head), Colter Wall, Riddy Arman and Kiki Cavazos (both incredible Montana singer songwriters), Will McNicol, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley… and the list continues on and on.
How are you utilizing your “Stay at Home” time?
Well, I can say there’s been quite a bit of guitar time. I’ve been writing lessons for Tony’s Acoustic Challenge and working on writing material for my next album. Along with guitar time, my wife Whitney and I are prepping for the arrival of a new baby. I do have to say I feel an extreme amount of gratitude for both my family and guitars during this rather odd time in history.
What are your top 3 go to guitars?
Custom Bourgeois OMSC
(Torrefied Italian Spruce top with Cocobolo back and sides) I recorded nearly my entire album, Rodent, on this guitar. –
Beard Guitars Josh Swift Squareneck Resonator
(All solid maple). An absolute hoss of a resonator guitar, and quite the looker too.
Tom Sands Custom Model L
I don’t even have this guitar yet, but I am so looking forward to it. I’ve picked out the specs and I am beyond excited to have a guitar made by a friend and one of today’s premier boutique guitar builders. This guitar will have a master grade European Spruce top and Macassar Ebony Back and Sides.
(I have to mention one more) Thompson D-CMA (Adirondack Spruce Top and Cuban Mahogany back and sides). So much horsepower with this dreadnought… I am continually blown away at the depth of tone and power this instrument has.
This is a great story… I remember back at the Old Town School of Folk Music my dobro teacher, Rob Anderlik, had a Calton case and from that moment I was smitten with them. After that I went to the Rocky Grass bluegrass festival, I believe in 2010 or so, and I saw Calton cases everywhere. Those two moments cemented the need for a Calton in my mind, but it wasn’t until some years later that I got my first of four (and counting) Calton cases. The funny thing is that it started simply by just wanting a Calton because I thought they looked incredible, but then as I started to perform more and tour, the true need for a Calton arose. I choose Calton Cases simply because I feel they offer the best protection for my instruments… period. The fact that the instruments that I love so much and use to make a living are safe and sound in a Calton brings me the ultimate peace of mind. I have flown with Caltons, I have driven with Caltons, I have accidentally dropped a Calton… and every single time the instrument in the case survived unscathed. Plain and simple, Calton Cases keep my instruments safe and in the best playing shape possible.
What is the vision for Acoustic Tuesday and your Community?
The ultimate vision for both Acoustic Tuesday and Tony’s Acoustic Challenge is to unite guitar geeks across the entire world. I want guitar players of all backgrounds and experience levels to come together, lift one another up, and to help each other attain their unique guitar goals. I would love for all viewers of the Acoustic Tuesday show and members of Tony’s Acoustic Challenge to find the true joy and fulfillment that they want out of their unique guitar journey. That could mean simply having a guitar hobby and routine that makes them happy or it could mean learning a song to play for their family or perform at an open mic. Bottom line, I want to help facilitate guitar geeks finding joy, happiness, and fulfillment in their guitar journey by supporting them with the Acoustic Tuesday show and Tony’s Acoustic Challenge.
What I am not asking and what’s the answer to that question?!
Hmmm I think one thing that some folks may not know about me is that along with Tony’ Acoustic Challenge and The Acoustic Tuesday Show, I write and record my own music. To date I’ve released 3 solo albums all of which can be found at scratchfootacoustics.com. My most recent release, Rodent (Feb. 2020) is near and dear to my heart as it helped me through a difficult personal time. It’s an album that I am very proud of and am excited to be sharing with the world.
Where can we send people to stay up to date with what you are doing?
The best places to follow what I’m doing and to be part of the guitar geekmovement are:
Instagram: @tac.guitar Facebook: Tony’s Acoustic Challenge
YouTube Channel: Acoustic Life
Personal Music and Albums: scratchfootacoustics.com