McCabes at 50
Who knew in 1958 when furniture designer Gerald McCabe opened up a small 15-foot wide guitar repair shop in Santa Monica that it would become one of the most beloved and venerable music institutions in the country and a bona-fide LA treasure?
And yet, despite itself, it has done just that, thanks to its down-home aesthetic, inventive approach to instrument repair of all things stringed, their music school, and of course the world famous concerts that take place in the tiny back room where for 5 decades artists from Doc Watson to PJ Harvey have offered up some of the most intimate performances this city has ever seen. >more
Emmylou Harris | listen
JD Crowe and the New South
Los Lobos | watch
The Ditty Bops | watch
The Rooftop Singers
The Stone Poneys
John Hiatt | listen
Dave Alvin | listen
Richard Thompson | listen
The Plimsouls | listen
Peter Case | listen
Roseanne Cash | listen
Gillian Welch | listen
The Blind Boys of Alabama | listen
eastmountainsouth | listen
The Swell Season | listen
The Rising Suns
KCRW celebrates the history of McCabe’s Guitar Shop in an exclusive three-hour music special produced by the station, McCabe’s at 50. Originally aired on KCRW, Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, the broadcast repeats 9am to noon PST, New Year's Eve, Wednesday, December 31, 2008. >more | >playlist
Gary Calamar hosted a special guest DJ session with McCabe’s concert producers Nancy Covey, John Chelew, and Lincoln Myerson. Covey, Chelew, and Myerson collectively curated McCabe’s legendary weekend concert series for more than 20 years from 1974-1996. >more
Today, if you make your way into McCabe's, you'll find that not much has changed over the last 50 years. Yes, electric guitars now hang alongside all the acoustics on the walls, and (gasp!) computers have replaced the century-old cash registers, but the brown carpet, walls of wood and burlap, and the free coffee that brews in the front hallway remain.
Another constant of McCabe's is the staff, most of who have been here for twenty years or more, and in some cases are working side by side with their kids, who were essentially raised within these walls. All of us are working musicians here, performing and recording everything from ragtime to experimental noise pop (you can check them out if you like by clicking on their links below).
McCabe's Guitar Shop: The First Fifty Years
This unique 50-page collection chronicles the storied 50-year history of McCabe's Guitar Shop. Created in a limited edition of 2000, the book contains historical photos from all three of McCabe's locations, as well as dozens of portraits of some of the great artists who've played here.
Special thanks to photographers:
Roman Cho, Ron E. Crum, J. M. Greene, Ellen Griffith, Michael Hoover, M. Hyatt, Robert Riskin
Sherry Rayn Barnett has assembled a selection of B&W exhibition prints honoring some of McCabe’s finest moments. Limited editions of 50 each to commemorate this anniversary concert are available here