In 2008, filmmakers Maxine Trump and Josh Granger stumbled across a slightly unusual story: the over-logging of a forest in Alaska, specifically a rare 250 year-old Sitka Spruce, was endangering the future of the acoustic guitar. Coming to the instruments defense were the world’s top guitar-makers (Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Fender), who had banded together to try and convince an industrial logging company to adopt sustainable practices.
What Maxine and Josh want to know, and what they hope to shed some light on with their documentary Musicwood, is simple — “Could you imagine the world without the acoustic guitar?” To answer the question, they’ve employed a slew of notable, famously finger-pickin’ musicians, whose performances they’ve been sharing with us in a number of recent project updates. My favorite thus far easily belongs to notoriously independent, college-radio-rock-band-of-dreams, Yo La Tengo (where would legendary free-form radio station WFMU be without them). Their hushed performance inside the empty, light adorned hall of New Jersey venue Maxwell’s is a little awe-inspiring.
The acoustic guitar will not be the most devastating loss our planet experiences while under the thumb of industrial logging practices, but it is certainly one whose emotional resonance will far outweigh its modest stature. It’s hard for me to imagine heartbreak without Neil Young, you know? And, Dad, I either love you or hate you for that. Haven’t decided yet. You can watch the extended trailer for Musicwood, and support the project, here. Check out the clip featuring Yo La Tengo below.