Early Days of the Genuine, Original ‘Canjoe’ Instrument


Meeting Charlie Daniels

Some of the earliest days when the one-stringed canjoe instrument was barely heard of by virtually anyone in the world, much effort and money to get it popularized was expended. Herschel R. Brown (deceased), the official creator of the instrument was a building contractor at that time. He was far too busy building buildings to put much effort into marketing canjoe instruments. The instrument’s origins began out of Herschel’s shop in the very early 1990’s and some of the production of them was assisted by John L. VanArsdall, Herschel’s friend. Then, in 1993, John had to relocate back to Tennessee, so moved away from the coast of North Carolina where he and Herschel shared their time. When in his new home in Tennessee, John continued, with Herschel’s assistance, to build and market the instruments. From the earliest days of their beginning, everywhere John was seen, or heard about, there was a canjoe instrument in his hands, either being played and promoted, or being assembled and sold.

The photos in the included gallery are a few showing examples of early newspaper articles, live performances, and a few influential people that CanJoe*John met while on the steeply uphill journey of getting these instruments into the foothold of becoming recognized and widely marketable. (Very apparently, too, the herculean efforts have proved quite successful with many, many others who have now followed the trail to take up producing and marketing their many varied and/or similar products).

Y’all stay tuned, more of this story and more photos will follow in upcoming posts.

For more information, details, ordering or inquiries, contact CanJoe*John or the CanJoe Company via email at canjoe@canjoe.com, or 423-612-4320.

Click on “Download File” to listen to “Redwing” from CD, “One String, One Can, One Man, One Band”(BMI), by artist, “CanJoe*John

About CanJoe*John

CanJoe*John began making and marketing the authentic 'canjoe' instruments from their origin. Introduced to them by their creator, Herschel R. Brown, in the early 1990s, John, from the beginning, helped Herschel manufacture them in Herschel's shop. John relocated back to his home state of TN in 1993 and continued, initially with Herschel's direct assistance, to make and market them, establishing the licensed sole proprietorship, the CanJoe Company, in 1994. As a professional musician CanJoe*John became billed as the "world's most unique musician, playing the world's most unique musical instrument, the canjoe" (aka, canjo). Always with his own personal canjoe instrument in hand he was awarded the adult "2007 Male Bluegrass Instrumentalist of the Year" by the North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI), and now having the distinction of being the first and only canjoe picker to ever perform on the Grand Ole Opry, has literally taken the one-stringed thing to the outer limits! CanJoe*John is a master craftsman and artist who designs, creates and crafts these instruments as custom works of musical fine art for those who respect and require the best of the best, truly genuine, original one-stringed musical instruments. He can be reached via email at canjoe@canjoe.com, or by phone at 423-612-4320.
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