Artist of the day: Steve Cinnamon
Cigar-box guitars are a part of blues music history. Lightnin' Hopkins, B.B. King and Bo Diddley have all played them. So have the North Mississippi Allstars, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Tom Waits. Locally, modern music fans might know the cigar-box-based band Hymn For Her, a regular in these parts.
Steve Cinnamon makes them. Born in the Bronx, and now lives in Nokomis, south of Sarasota. He grew up idolizing Dion and the Belmonts, and when he got curious about cigar-box guitars during a jam session with some friends, he headed to his garage.
Cinnamon buys guitar strings, oak for the guitar neck and penny nails for the guitar frets. Sometimes tobacco shop clerks gave him the cigar boxes for free, sometimes they charge a buck or two. In the last two years, Cinnamon has built more than 200 guitars, which he sells at music shows and online for $150 and up. On Saturday he will display his guitars at Cigar City Brewing's annual Hunahpu's Day and watch a west Florida bluesman, Eddie Wright, give one of his electrified instruments a terrific workout. Gates open at 11 a.m. at 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa.
For more on Steve Cinnamon, click here for Jeff Klinkenberg's story.
Photo: Maurice Rivenbark