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Catfish Journal
Issue #17,  December 24, 2011

Catfish Keith with new National M1 Baritone GuitarHowling Lily and National M1 Baritone TriconeHowdy. Thanks for tuning in. 

Today is Christmas Eve, and I'm just reflecting a little on life...Penny and I are at our home here in Iowa with our dog, Lily. I just played a nice gig last night at our "home joint," The Mill in Iowa City. Fantastic to see so many friends and fans come out. We had a ball. It's great to be home for a little while.

The weather has been warm for December in Iowa. So warm, in fact, I am still out planting flower bulbs. I've planted thousands more bulbs this fall and winter, putting in rivers of muscari, hundreds of daffodils, tulips, anemones, geraniums and lilies. I already had a full garden, but what was boring lawn is giving way to a surprising Spring and Summer with masses of flowers. It will be like a mini Keukenhoff here in April and May. I love it, and I just can't help myself. Maybe I'm just a little obsessed?

This year has been a busy one with lots to look forward to in 2012.

We just put out two CDs on our Fish Tail label this year, the all-new Put on a Buzz, and our first gospel compilation: A True Friend Is Hard To Find - A Gospel Retrospective.

We did our best tour ever of the UK, playing through most all of October and November. It was an exhilarating run of 35 concerts and some guitar workshops too. It was our 38th Overseas Tour, and our 19th year of coming to the UK and Europe to tour. It's been the most well documented tour we've ever done. Penny has done a fantastic job videotaping every show and putting daily pictures and videos up on Facebook and YouTube. So far, she's done over 70 live concert videos, and she's only just gotten started. I am so proud of her, I could burst. If you've already joined us on Facebook, you may notice I don't say too much, I let the music and pictures and Penny's passion and joie de vivre keep the flame burning bright. Thank you Penny!

The Put on a Buzz World Tour will continue in 2012. We will return to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, again very soon in January and play some gigs down there until we return home in April. Lots of plans are in the works for gigs in the USA, UK and hopefully Europe. There could be other surprises in new countries, too.

Tour Dates will always be as current as possible, you can always buy CDs, DVDs, T-Shirts, tote bags, books, slides, every Catfish product, through this website.


Find us on Facebook

Penny is using Facebook for day-to-day, up-to-the-minute reports. So please do "like" me on my Facebook Musician/Band "Fan" page (click the Find us on Facebook icon above, then click LIKE on the fan page), and get interactive reports as part of your Facebook experience. Also, request Penny Cahill and Catfish Keith as friends, as we each have "friend" pages as well. Penny keeps a vibrant travelogue going that I hope you will enjoy. Thanks!

"Live at the Half Moon" CD by Catfish KeithA True Friend Is Hard To Find - A Gospel Retrospective CD by Catfish Keith2 NEW CD's AVAILABLE HERE AND AT CONCERTS

The latest two CDs are now available here and through CD Baby, and are available at all concerts.

Put on a Buzz
was recorded this summer in Iowa City at Flat Black Studios with the multi-talented Luke Tweedy. He was so much fun to work with. We tore through the sessions and came up with 14 tracks, including five originals and songs from deep down in the treasure trove from Leadbelly, Frank Stokes, Bukka White and Sol K. Bright. On this album I played two National Baritones, two Flammang Acoustics, and the National El Trovador 12 String, and even sing harmony to myself on three cuts. What a blast!

A True Friend Is Hard To Find - A Gospel Retrospective is a compilation of Gospel works from ten of my albums. There is lots of singing and sanctified slide and string twanging here from cuts inspired from such greats as Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Joseph Spence, Blind Lemon Jefferson, King Solomon Hill, Bo Carter and more.

Catfish Keith playing Ralph S. Bown Stella-style 12 StringTWO NEW GUITARS & A UKE!

This year I've been very lucky to get a couple of fantastic new guitars. One is the wonderful National M1 Baritone Tricone, which is pictured above on the cover of Put on a Buzz. This guitar is very special; it's an all mahogany bodied tricone, with a baritone scale. I string and tune it just like my steel bodied Polychrome Tricone Baritone. So, it's in Open Bb or Eb, and I use it for slide and open tuned fingerpicking. It's warm and rich and sweet and low and big sounding. Listen to "On a Monday" on Put on a Buzz to hear it in action.

The most recent guitar I got was in October on my UK Tour. It's a Stella-style 12 String built by master luthier Ralph S. Bown. I'm over the moon with this guitar. It makes a giant, giant sound, and has been compared with an organ or harpsichord. It's also a baritone scaled instrument, and tuned low with big strings. This guitar came to me by a stroke of fate. I had first met Ralph almost 20 years ago, always loved his guitars. Last year when we came over on tour, at the last minute we decided to bring my National El Trovador 12 String. Unfortunately, it had to be checked through as checked luggage, and then, somehow was damaged when we arrived at Manchester. A few phone calls later, after talking to Michael Messer, I got Dave King to send a new cone, and arranged, when we got to York for Ralph to fix the guitar. He did. But then, he offered to make me a 12 string that I could keep in the UK. So, I took him up on it. Well, I loved the guitar so much, I decided to buy it and take it home. What a beauty! (Pictured left.)

As if that wasn't enough, our old buddy Pete Howlett contacted us, and we met him and his wife Helen before the very first gig of the UK Tour up in Menai Bridge, in Anglesea, N. Wales. He presented me with his beautiful prototype of his Resolele. This is a concert neck uke made of Birdseye Maple, with a star soundhole, with a little resonator. What a gorgeous instrument, with a clear, sweet, fantastic uke sound. Penny and I have known Pete since 1993 when he and Tony Revell were partners and gave me the first Tony Revell Ragtime Model Parlour Guitar, which became my primary acoustic guitar for about 15 years or so. (Uke pictured with Penny, below.)

Fish Tail Pres. Penny Cahill playing Pete Howlett Resolele


Super luthier David Flammang's fantastic acoustic guitars are now available for sale through this website. Take a look at the new page: Why I Love Flammang Guitars to see great new Flammang one-of-a-kind instruments for sale right now. This is a rare opportunity to buy these guitars. David usually builds only custom guitars that are commissioned to be built. These are absolute dream guitars for sure, I've been playing David's guitars for many years now, and love them. You can hear them on several of my latest albums, and I always have at least one I play on tour. David, you are the Greatest!.


I've always championed the mighty National guitar. Loved the sound since Day One. I've been helping players all over the world to purchase these great guitars, and now I've been honored for the last few years to be an Official National Dealer.

Thanks to National founders Don Young and McGregor Gaines for everything over these many years. Also, big thanks to National Vice President and CFO Eric Smith, shop foreman Jason Workman, and the office staff of  Robynne TorresShanon Smith, and the whole gang at National.  Thank you!

As always, I'm happy to help if you want to buy a new National, just email or call 319-338-3614 anytime. I occasionally do  lessons and workshops too, please do get in touch for more info. Look at my Why I Love National Guitars page to see what I have in stock and you can order any model and make custom orders too.

Live at the Half Moon CD by Catfish KeithBUY CATFISH DOWNLOADS HERE!

Music from all of my albums is available to purchase for downloading on all of the major download sites, including ITunes, Napster, and over 40 other companies.  Of course, we encourage you to buy CDs the "old fashioned" way direct from me and Penny right here at this website, or from CD Baby or Amazon.  You can now also download MP3s of entire albums through CD Baby, and download MP3s of individual songs.

Access all of this right here on our Fish Tail Records Catalog Page.

Hope to see you at the shows.  Please come say hello. Feel free to email or call, itís always great to hear from you.

yours truly, Catfish Keith

Catfish Journal Archive:
This is Catfish Keith's personal newsletter first published in February 2005.
Fish Tail Newsletter Archive:
This is a magazine-style newsletter started when this website was first lauched in 1998.

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Catfish Journal

Bio & Press

Real Audio Soundbites

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Order Online from Catalog

Pickin' with Catfish

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