Danny Gatton on Mountain Stage.

Danny Gatton on Mountain Stage.

From best guitarist you’ve never heard of, to best guitarist you’ve ever heard: you owe it to yourself to hear Jim Oblon’s set on this week’s broadcast.

Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson’s main stage guitar, affectionately dubbed “WOODIE” by his road crew.

Though most of the attention falls upon the band’s 70’s-style hooks, breezy harmonies and memorable songwriting, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith is one of the finest guitarists we’ve heard in quite some time.

In space, no one can hear you scream. And on the radio, no one can see how awesome Taylor Goldsmith’s guitar face is.

This week on Mountain Stage.

This week on Mountain Stage.

Legendary guitarist Danny Gatton on Mountain Stage, May 14th, 1989.

Legendary guitarist Danny Gatton on Mountain Stage, May 14th, 1989.

Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson’s main stage guitar, a well-worn Valley Arts telecaster dubbed “Woodie” by his crew.

The latest Mountain Stage podcast is up. This episode was recorded in a tent in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Superior. The lake was just a few feet behind the stage, with Highway 61 running only yards from where the audience entered. It was cold, but thankfully there was a campfire backstage — a first for us. Many thanks to our friends at the North House Folk School. All photos by Stephan Hoglund.

Support Mountain Stage by subscribing on iTunes. It’s free, and it’s awesome.

Foster & Lloyd, with a total facemelter at the end courtesy of special guest Vince Gill - who knew the internet would give us such a perfect way to connect this week’s radio broadcast with next week’s radio broadcast.

It’s probably the most famous guitar in country music: Marty Stuart’s 1955 Telecaster, previously owned by Clarence White of The Byrds. And while the stickers and other visual accoutrements push it into folk art territory, it’s what’s going on under the hood that makes this guitar a piece of history: the prototype of what became known as the B-bender.

Simply put, there’s a makeshift spring-loaded mechanism inside the guitar that attaches to the strap. When the player pushes down on the guitar, the B string is pulled a whole step sharp, resulting in a pretty convincing pedal steel effect. It’s a breathtaking feat of hillbilly ingenuity, crafted mostly from barely-machined pieces of metal and John Deere tractor parts.

Modern benders (like the McVay used by Brad Paisley) are precision made, and hid deep within the guitar’s body. This one…isn’t. While it might not be pretty, it works.