The CanJoe Company

Founded in 1994 by John L. VanArsdall (aka CanJoe*John) , began the production, manufacture, wholesale, and retail of unique one-stringed musical instruments called canjoes (aka canjo). Introduced to the canjoe instrument by it's originator, Herschel R. Brown, while at a jam session, Herschel gave John one of the first canjoe instruments he had personally made. John was quickly convinced by the demand of all those he showed Herschel's canjoe that there was a commercial market for them. John, with Herschel's blessings began his own production of the instruments and the CanJoe Company story began there. As John found out, though, canjoes wouldn't sell well without consumers being truly convinced that they were accurate, well built, quality instruments. He set out to prove the "American dream" that with determination, drive, desire, dedication, and even defiance, and in keeping with the very highest levels of business practice of producing, marketing, promoting, and selling only the highest quality products, that even old cans could be transformed into really cool, accurately made, quality musical instruments and true works of art.

From the beginning, every single one of CanJoe*John's  trademarked one-stringed "canjoe" (aka canjo) musical instruments, have always been and continue to be individually hand crafted works of art and each one made and sold is uniquely personalized to match the tastes, desires and/or specifications of those that order, own or purchase them. Since introducing his cool one stringed musical creations he has personally designed, created, hand crafted, continuously improved upon, marketed, and sold thousands to collectors, pickers (beginners and seasoned professional musicians), and enthusiasts world wide. His extremely high quality, accurately detailed and designed signature instruments have now become recognized world wide as Americana objects d'art,  with a few now kept and displayed in glass cases of private collections and in several prestigous museums. To guarantee quality and authenticity, each CanJoe Company  instrument is always personally tested, signed and dated by CanJoe*John.   


What's so special about the canjoe? "Well, anyone can play one. Even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket or play a radio, you can play a canjoe." Herschel R. Brown, originator of the canjoe instrument

The CanJoe Company  is also in the business of music production and entertainment. CanJoe*John, an award winning musician, entertainer and recording artist, performs at many public and private venues with his own personal canjoe instrument, his old time fiddle, the StrumStick and the harmonica. He is a Tennessee performing artist approved by the Tennessee Arts Commission, and a registered BMI music song writer/composer. His unique style and diversified music repretoire is categorized as purely Americana. Most of the performances produced by the CanJoe Company and performed by CanJoe*John  include old time Appalachian traditional music "with a twist" and represents Appalachian mountain heritage, history, and authenticity to entertain and educate the audiences.  Some public performances are also eligible for and/or are funded by grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission and/or the National Endowment for the Arts.  One CanJoe Company  presentation, for example, called "Appalachian Music:Then & Now"  has been approved for Tennessee public schools (K-12) for the STS programs. The presentation CanJoe*John gives for church events, called "A Mountain Top Experience", weaves music and the inspirational story of how CanJoe*John discovered his uncanny talents and his "Tour of Smiles" is an ongoing magical, musical tour of Childrens hospitals where he encourages patients and their families with his stories and music while giving many of his instruments to the patients and their family care givers to use as music therapy.

Since beginning his business, CanJoe*John has made and sold thousands of canjoes to fans around the world. In order to help promote his canjoe creations as well as his own musical talents, he became the first in music history to have produced a commercial recording with the canjoe as the lead instrument . His first CD release, "One String, One Can, One Man, and one Band", has been frequently aired on radios around the world. His second CD called "An Uncanny Christmas" has been enjoyed by many and the release of his DVD video from the single tract, "Wayfaring Stranger" has been viewed on select cable networks across America. In his constant effort to promote his canjoe instruments, CanJoe*John can often be seen performing in places, on stages and with artists that most could only dream of, has his own designer can, and has even developed his own uncanny "can" language. Keep an eye on this web site and see what CanJoe*John is offering or doing next as an entertainer and etrepreneur with his most unique business and music career continuing to grow while living his equally unique style of the "American Dream".


The Tour of Smiles has been so successful that as of January 1, 2009, a charitable nonprofit corporation has been established and chartered for the purpose of providing musical instruments, special music events and programs for the direct and therapeutic benefit of patients and their family members who are under the care of children's hospitals. The name of this nonprofit corporation is called TOSA (Tour of Smiles Affiliation) and allows membership for individuals, families, groups, businesses, or corporations who want to actively support the success of this valuable cause. For more information, contact the CanJoe Company using the contact info below, or go to the TOSA web page by clicking on these stars  *******.

CanJoe*John is now on the "Tour of Smiles; A Magical, Musical Tour of Children's Hospitals",  and he is personally presenting his cool, signature CanJoe Company canjoe instruments to kids who are patients in childrens hospitals; who all have special need to smile and who deserve to smile even if they have little to smile about. The individually hand made, unique and simple to play CanJoe Company signature instruments make perfect tools for use as music therapy and CanJoe*John has witnessed many thousands of smiles since the day he first discovered the natural magic produced by his own canjoe music and instruments. He's on this tour to help spread the magic and the joy that canjoes never fail to bring... 'canspicuously' evident by all the smiles. Each instrument presented on this tour is for the exclusive ownership of each recipient to have and to learn to play for all the music therapy picking and fun he/she can stand!  For more details, contact the CanJoe Company or click this link to check out the "Tour of Smiles" announcement page. Find out how you can join the nonprofit, charitable organization, TOSA (Tour of Smiles Affiliation, Inc) ... you can then help put smiles on truly deserving faces too...

The CanJoe Company staff & associates include:

  • John L. VanArsdall (aka CanJoe*John): entrepreneur, sole proprietor, instrument designer, artist/ instrument crafter, director of marketing & sales, distributor, performing and recording artist, author, producer, publicist, old time music historian, story teller.
  • Jack Bradshaw: instrument crafter/sales rep.
  • Wesley B. Zoller: instrument crafter/sales rep.

Music Publishing/ Management/ Booking:

  • Steve Morgan: SVM Music Group, publisher, record label (BMI/ASCAP), booking agent.
  • Phil Allen: promoter, marketer, publicist, road manager and official performances photographer.

Video and Music Producers:

  • Dave LeBlanc: producer, director, videographer, video editor on "Wayfaring Stranger" project, filmed in pre-Katrina New Orleans.
  • Tom Conrad: producer, mixing & sound editor, side musician on the recording of "An Uncanny Christmas"  CD project.
  • James R.VanArsdall: executive producer of "An Uncanny Christmas" CD project. and vice-president of TOSA (Tour of Smiles Affiliation, Inc)


The CanJoe Company/ 2357 Feathers Chapel Rd./  Blountville, TN 37617/ 423-323-0174

Web design and contents: copyright (c)1994- 2007 The Canjoe Company. {All rights reserved}. Notice: All references, slogans, phrases, especially any in quotations, describing or naming any CanJoe Company instrument/product_including the word "canjoe"_are trademarks(TM) of the CanJoe Company, est 1994.