Want something to point to when someone asks, "Is a cigar box guitar a real guitar?"
In this post you’ll discover an artist who has stepped forward, representing the cigar box guitar world, with heartfelt original music played on his handmade cigar box guitars.
Meet the artist
You’ve seen the guys on social media whose videos get shared every time they totally rock-out on a homemade instrument.
Usually the performance is jaw-dropping and worthy of the countless shares the video gets.
But none of it feels real.
I mean, you can buy an ol’ Dodge Charger like the General Lee but you ain’t gonna jump it through a hoop of flames while your brother shoots arrows out the passenger window like The Dukes of Hazzard.
Am I right?
So it feels good to hear an artist like Eric Denton play his cigar box guitars with the skill of a trained musician, but also in a way that feels down-to-earth.
Eric Denton of Denton Music Cigar Box Guitars is a music teacher, artist, and performer focusing on cigar box guitars to share the joy of music.
On his recent CD release Eric demonstrates to the world how real a cigar box guitar is.
Hear his music
Track 1: Oddball
His CD starts off with a foot-stomping hook played on a CBG (cigar box guitar) steeped in overdrive.
Eric then channels a classic blues voice that makes you want to drop one eyebrow, cock the other, tuck your chin in, and shuffle your head side to side.
Listening to Oddball you picture sitting on a crate on the front porch, stomping on the dusty boards underfoot, looking out into the weight of the shimmering summer heat.
After some artful and lively slide work (a theme throughout the album) Eric pulls back his playing a bit to finish the song nice and easy.
So you sit back and relax, watching the sweat roll down the ice-cold glass of lemonade set on the porch rail before you.
Man it feels good to be an Oddball.
Track 2: I Got Nothing
I Got Nothing starts with a beat that smacks of some Latin flavor.
You swear you hear Santana comping the chords and picking the melody.
Throughout the chord progression there are quick stops that serve as tiny pattern-interrupts certain to take hold of your attention.
I Got Nothing unpacks the struggle of living in a world where you want to make a difference - heck, you may even know what steps to take - but you don’t have the strength to execute on your ideas.
Now here’s a personal question - have you ever had a drinking problem?
Perhaps you knew deep in your heart that the right thing to do was to stop drinking.
But knowing the right thing to do, and doing the right thing are worlds apart.
Finding the strength to make that change is difficult to do on your own.
Track 3: Rules of Engagement
Imagine sitting in a smoky club, you and the other patrons gathered around the small, round cocktail tables.
No one speaks because you’re here to listen to the music.
From out of the smoke a deep, slow groove takes hold of your head, nodding it in time with the beat.
In Rules of Engagement - an instrumental track - Eric cuts through the thick smoke-filled air with his slide and just a little flair of funk.
Unlike the head-shuffling sass in Oddball, Rules lays down a straight groove, hooking you and the other nightclub patrons up to the funk train.
And as that train rolls into the night, Eric makes his guitar moan with a voice that hangs and haunts like a lonesome whistle seeking its counterpoint.
Track 4: At The Bottom
Track 4 is Americana at its finest - a song Eric moves you through with the momentum of his skillful picking.
The story in At The Bottom is like a friendly conversation you recall in snapshots - still images that move through your mind in a constant stream as does the story of our lives.
Eric marries his slide-play and picking beautifully while singing about his faith; not something to be feared, mind you, but a faith that picks us up when you’ve fallen on your path, and that ultimately takes you home.
Track 5: Blackened
In this next instrumental of the album, Eric is unafraid to let his guitar do the singing
His dirty, overdriven slide guitar opens Blackened, singing a song of grit and redemption.
The low strings build the stage upon which the slide sings.
And his slide tells of a life blackened through years of hardship, with cracks of vulnerability shown only by the high string singing out the pain.
Track 6: Fallen Leaves
Fallen Leaves could be a slow Grateful Dead tune.
It starts with warm, mellow plucking and strumming, and features dual harmony guitars that animate this sleepy autumn song.
Eric tells a story of awakening - to find all you’ve sown must now be reaped.
Because once the leaves have fallen, the consequences of our actions are laid bare.
Track 7: Every Dog Will Have Its Day
“SCATTER!” shouts one of your buddies.
Y’all are trapped in the junkyard.
The ol’ man charged with looking after the place is hollering at you through stacks of discarded refrigerators and crushed cars.
But the ol' man hasn’t found you.
Out of the blue, the fat, snarling riff of Every Dog Will Have Its Day hunts you down and backs you into a corner.
The ol’ man catches up, sees you trapped, pats his dog on the head and takes a slow, hard look at you.
He's a man who's had plenty of time to think, and now has plenty of time to say what he’s been thinking.
And his message is this - no matter what you choose, good or bad, every dog will have its day, and we’ll all be judged in kind.
Track 8: Safe Travels
Here’s another Americana-flavored track with some fine picking.
Eric’s style displayed in this song is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Opposite of the in-your-face, look-at-me desperation that's found in some corners of the CBG community, Eric performs with a light-heartedness that is nothing short of pleasing.
Track 9: Lord Have Mercy
In Lord Have Mercy Eric sits you down at a bench across from himself.
The man has a story to tell.
He begins his tale with his slide singing the melody.
But he soon joins in, speaking with a grave sadness of his transgressions, of the times he knows he could’ve been a better man.
By unpacking his story he owns, and then lets go of, his darkness.
Track 10: Tax Collector's Redemption
Sit with this track.
This is more than a song on a cigar box guitar; it’s an emotionally moving composition.
You'll conjure our own story to match the music in Tax Collector's Redemption.
And that story is visceral, something you feel deep within you...
proof that a cigar box guitar is, in fact, a real guitar.
Get Eric's Music
Do yourself a favor, and support an independent artist, by buying Eric's music from one of the links below.
Denton Music is on...
Now that you've heard them all, what's your favorite song on Eric Denton's, Denton Music?