It’s interesting how the truth always rises to the top. Over a year and a half ago, two separate unassociated private emails were received a few days apart by the sole proprietor and founder of the CanJoe Company (established 1994) and located in Blountville, TN, CanJoe*John. One email was from a well established author, the other from an award winning documentary film director, and each requested interest in presenting the detailed story of the cool one-string musical instrument, the “canjoe”, via their respective formats. Prior to either sending the emails, both had already done extensive research on the subject matter. They both had already looked at every angle, investigated every similar related internet web site, reviewed the internet’s published stories and backgrounds of every maker or supplier offering similar items that they could find, had discovered almost every venue where these instruments might now be sold, had individually overturned every stone, and both, then, coming to the table as already extremely well informed. Each had become so well self educated as nothing less than being somewhat individual experts of the subject matter by their discovery efforts. Through their efforts to dig up the whole scoop on the instrument’s history, they both also individually chose the same decision, as well, to focus on and to present the historical, well documented facts pertaining to the instrument.
The official, undisputed by those in the know, creator of the genuine, original “canjoe” instrument design was Herschel R. Brown (now deceased) of eastern NC, back in the early 1990s. From their very beginning, and even prior to any of these cool one-stringed musical instruments ever existing, Herschel was a personal friend of the man whom is now known around the globe as “CanJoe*John“. The instrument’s history between them is interlaced and connected from the “git go“, and paralleled throughout. It was Herschel who initiated the avalanche, and CanJoe*John, with Herschel’s direct assistance, who simultaneously, and by great personal effort and expense, covered the world in the snow drifts that have melted into the river of the, now, world wide “canjo” awareness, and of which, too, has been responsible for gradually becoming blossomed into so many various versions that are now being produced by, and sold by so many others.
Andrew King is a musician, a scholar, an award winning documentary film maker, director and producer, and one who had purchased a “canjo” musical instrument from an on line business. His curiosity piqued his interest in learning more about the history of these cool one-stringed musical instruments, so he began researching. Inevitably, Andrew discovered the stories about CanJoe*John. After his extensive, exhaustive researching efforts, once he found and delved more deeply into the CanJoe Company’s history, he was thoroughly convinced that he had finally discovered the detailed account that soundly rings of complete verity. He then decided that the story needed mass exposure through public disclosure, on film. He sent one of the email requests to CanJoe*John asking if he might do a film documentary about the story. Now, Andrew had a mission that he felt compelled to do this venture in such a way that in utilizing his skills would best get the message and the story conveyed. He, as co-producer and director, organized together a team of mass media experts; videographers, producer, consultants, animator, graphic designer, and film editor to form a well oiled machine of gifted artists who worked seamlessly together to make the film. They spent nearly a year of further research, planning, and then traveling extensively to meet with and videotape many key witnesses, and to do detailed interviews with CanJoe*John, following him in many public and private settings to capture the story on film, and upon taping many hundreds of gigabytes of film footage, they used all the data collected to create from it their documentary, “The CanJoe*Man“. The documentary that they created was debuted and premiered on April 22, 2017 at the highly prestigious Highbridge Film Festival in Wilmoth, KY. It won the “Best Documentary” award at that showing. The film has been released to many film festivals across the country for possible showing across America. Its acceptance is pending approvals soon to be announced. The film was also submitted for review by the National Academy of Arts & Sciences where it was awarded the highest honor in the nation in it’s category, “Winner: Short Form Non-Fiction/ 2017 Student Production Award”.
More information about this film documentary can be followed on Face Book at: https://www.facebook.com/canjoenation/
Within a few days of Andrew King’s contact with CanJoe*John, another made contact via email. This individual and well established author, David Rowell, turned out to be interested in writing a book about the music business. His credentials include several previously published books, but too, he’s the current deputy editor of the Washington Post Magazine. One of his interests took him to Europe for extensive research on a particular drum that is hand made and highly desired by percussionists. He, himself, is a percussionist, and he traveled the world to collect data that became the subject of one of his books, but on another internet search for unique subject matter, he discovered the “canjo”. He had been perusing the YouTube videos when he came across those posted by CanJoe*John, www.youtube.com/canjoejohn. He was intrigued by the beautiful music that he heard coming from a single string pulled through a 12 oz beverage can on the videos, but especially he admired CanJoe*John’s version of “Over the Rainbow”. He followed up with the idea to write another book, this one about how musicians make their unique marks in the music industry. His yet to be titled book, after nearly two years of research, writing, touring with major artists, such as Peter Frampton, who is included in the upcoming book, and the internationally famous rock group YES, also in the book, and who is trying to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, he recently spent a week shadowing CanJoe*John to add in what he considers his crown jewel chapter, about the “man on the can”. Below is a link to a recently published front page story in the Bristol Herald Courier newspaper of Bristol, TN.
David Rowell’s book will be published and available on the world wide market next year. It is a great honor for CanJoe*John that either or both these highly talented people took extensive time, money, effort, and interest in order to present to the world their discoveries of the true “canjo” story. More details will be made public via this blog site as to where, or when these publications will be available for purchase, viewing, or reading. To contact CanJoe*John, to inquire about CanJoe Company products, prices, or custom created instruments, call 423-323-0174, or 423-612-4320.