“I'm enthralled with your work. Really enjoyed it. Mood For a Day had some very nice interpretive ideas! And always respectful to the original.” - Steve Howe of Yes
"This wonderful collection confirms that Gregg Miner is not just a tireless scholar of the stringed instruments he loves; he's also a composer par excellence for and superb player of them! A musical soul, he has." – Stephen Bennett
"The Frank Zappa of the Harp Guitar!" – Don Alder, 2007 International Fingerstyle Champion
"An aural delight. I loved working on this album!" – Mike Monseur, mastering engineer @ Bias Studios
"I have listened to these pieces over and over and over again as this CD came together and, still, I love every one. These tunes tell stories you will want to hear again and again." – Co-producer Frank Doucette, from the book introduction
I inadvertently started this “concept album” way back in 2003 when I was stringing up the just-restored “zither harp guitar” and wanted to arrange and record something for it. This was a fascinating early 1900s musical instrument variant by the indefatigable Chris Knutsen, and the modern tune “Little Martha” was the result; I was pleased enough to burn a few “singles” for my family and friends. That Knutsen was perhaps my tenth, but hardly the last, as they seem to find their way to me. And of course, each one is unique, often dramatically so, as Knutsen’s creativity knew no bounds.
The following year I happened to use my Knutsen Symphony harp guitar – this is a pre-1900 instrument, mind you – for two professional recordings submitted for Beyond Six Strings, a groundbreaking project that led to the formation of my Harp Guitar Music label and web business.
By this time, I was imagining doing a version of my “Christmas Collection” CD project, but with Knutsen instruments – including several models and examples owned by friends of mine. To that end, in 2005 I borrowed Flip Breskin’s unique “wrap-around” hollow arm guitar built by Otto Anderson (builder of 200 of Knutsen’s earlier instruments) – both to document for the Knutsen Archives and to record a couple things with it. I ended up not pursuing any other loans, as I managed to fill in nearly all the gaps in my collection over the years. I continued to experiment with this growing family of Knutsen instruments in the occasional performance or recording, while also playing and recording on Dyer and Merrill harp guitars, which have a direct relationship to Knutsen’s, explained below.
After a time, I found myself with a growing number of unreleased recordings using these instruments, along with a plethora of other ideas – and so began the arduous task to complete the project. I found that Knutsen’s instruments were the perfect choice, as he made not just harp guitars, but steel (Hawaiian) guitars, mandolins and ukuleles. Not only do no two look or sound quite alike, they are often configured very differently. A given instrument might have additional open bass strings or open higher strings (melodic or chordal): one or the other, both, or neither. Their string counts often vary as well, along with the size and scale of Knutsen’s endless inventions. They might be strung with steel strings, nylon strings or other materials, which you’ll hear typically in solo outings, along with the occasional duo, trio or quartet. Finally, I added my Larson brothers-built Dyer instruments and a couple new Merrill harp guitars (highest quality Dyer copies) due to their direct evolutionary link to Knutsen and their incredible sound.