Asher cranks up the "Carrier Weathermaker"
If you walk into our 1833 vintage building on Main St Littleton, you will no doubt notice our gigantic AC unit c.1940’s, the “Carrier Weather-Maker” which still cranks out cool air in the heat of summer here at Northern Lights Music. Granted, we only need to use the beast a few weeks out of our mild summers here in Northern NH, and that’s probably the reason it’s still in decent working condition. We started a tradition a few years back where if you are a notable working musician you got to sign the large metal cover on the front of the unit.
Many successful local Musicians come through for a pack of strings once in a while or to shoot the breeze. And there are those who have turned out to be devotees of our fine American guitar collection in the back room. It’s always an honor to hand over the marker and I think most artist enjoy finding a place on the the AC unit to scribble their name.
Vermont is not too far from our store and a lot of musicians come over the Connecticut River to visit. Some of those who have made their mark are Art Edelson, Celtic specialist, Bob Amos Vermont bluegrass wonder, Rick Barron a Deering endorser and Joe Gittleman from the Mighty Mighty Bostones, who teaches at nearby Lyndon State College. We are so lucky to be able to serve these local musicians.
New Hampshire boasts a few signatures too with David Surette, Steve Schuch and many others. Asa Brebner, showcasing his cool collaged guitar pieces at Northern Lights, was the bassist of the second incarnation of the Modern Lovers and is guitarist of legendary Robin Lane and the Chartbusters. Morris Manning, local pro and our longest serving employee, walks past the air conditioner twice a week because he’s also our bookkeeper. Morris’s signature indicates he “Doesn’t do bathrooms”.
We sometimes hand the marker off to the random tourist to the White Mountains who also happens to be a professional musician. Other times we import the best guitar teachers for workshops like the great Steve Kaufman, who lent his signature to the air conditioner, as-well. And then there’s Jumpin' Jim Beloff of Ukulele fame who signed when passing through town and Hutch Hutchinson, whose been Bonnie Raitt’s bassist for 30 plus years.
Through the years we have also enjoyed all the great clinicians that Taylor Guitars have sent our way. The amazing Michael Lille, Doyle Dykes, Chris Proctor, and Marc Seal are a few of the great players that have come through supporting Taylor. Richard Smith and cellist wife Julie Adams who originally came to our store as Taylor clinicians have returned year after year and have been with us annually for about 6 years now.
We wish we had started this signing tradition earlier because the space to write would now be tight. Back in the early days of the store in the early 80’s, Vladimer Horowitz came in regularly when he was residing at the Mt Washington Hotel for the summer.
Another notable signee was percussionist, Café who came in from his regular tour with Steve Winwood to play with Susan Nidel from the North Country Chamber players at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem. Café was able to sit in with store owner Dan Salomon for a little friendly blues gig on the side street beside the store on a warm July evening. Cafe even plied his drawing talents with a signature set of congas.
If we can lure musicians as they come through on tour we’re happy to show them around. Shemika Copeland with Willie Scandlyn and Arthur Neilson were able to spend a little more time in town and see the store and sign the AC prior to their show at the Colonial. Oren Fader, classical guitarist extraordinaire and frequent North Country Chamber Players performer always finds an excuse to shake off his more refined side and rock out on our electrics when visiting town.
Summertime, when the AC is growling it gets everyone’s attention at the store. It’s pumping out retro cool as we try to talk and play over it’s antique-like roar. And this is to all of you pros, who have snuck into the store anonymously and didn’t tell us ”Hey I’m a famous musician.” (you know who you are).The next time you visit Northern Lights Music, ask for the black magic marker, be part of the fun and scrawl your name on the “Carrier Weathermaker!”