The Shane Speal Newsletter: Ronn Benway and his Magical Washboard, the bombastic Baritone Cigar Box Guitar is now on sale, FREE CONCERT SATURDAY, more...

Shane Speal's Name May Be On the Bill,
But Ronn Benway is the Star

AC/DC has Angus Young running on stage, dressed as a schoolboy and stealing the limelight from the lead singer.  I have Ronn Benway.

Anyone who has seen Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band in concert knows that Ronn is the washboard-wielding star.  From his clown tights and colored Doc Martins to the insane dancing he does all over the stage, Ronn is everything I could ever want in a bandmate.  He plays the washboard with such ferocity that he wears thru thimbles in just a couple months of playing.  He also dances on the stage, runs thru the crowd and brings every bit of mayhem a rock and roll show needs.

He's the star and I love it.

Even his washboard is a work of art.  Ronn haunts thrift stores for old metal ashtrays, Jello molds and measuring cups that he uses as his bells and clangers.  He also has a deep appreciation for Acme wolf whistles (the same ones used in Bugs Bunny cartoons) and hand cranked sirens.  He's also learned that budget cymbals will only last one single gig on his washboard.

When we added confetti cannons and the Toilet Paper Gun to the stage props, it made Ronn a true maniac. 

When people find out he's almost 50 years old, they stare in disbelief.

I write this appreciation because Ronn is going on hiatus from the Snake Oil Band sometime in Mid-December for a few months.  He's starring in the new film, Find Your Way: A Busker's Documentary and it documents his time spent as a street performer in Seattle.  He also has a new album out, Shine Me Up Pretty.  You see, Ronn is a true Renaissance man...more than a washboard player.  He's an incredible singer/songwriter, all around entertainer and one of the best friends I have. 

BUT HE'S NOT LEAVING YET AND WE HAVE MORE SHOWS TO PLAY!  This Saturday night, we are performing a free concert for the public at IUP, Indiana University of PA.   (Info below.)  The concert will be one of the high points of the current Holler! tour and is not to be missed. 

Let's tear it up these next few shows...
And let's stay primal!

Shane Speal

NOV 15 @ 8PM:
IUP (Indiana University of PA)

McVitty Auditorium in Sprowls Hall, IUP Campus
470 S 11th St (11th and Grant--enter off 11th)
Indiana, PA 15701

Here is the Facebook event page for this concert.  Please click it and share with your friends!!!

This is it. This is the axe everyone's been begging me to make again. It's that 28" scale baritone cigar box guitar just like I used on the HOLLER! album...except it's better.

My old "shovel handle" baritone has gotten so beat up from throwing it across the stage at the end of shows, so I made a new one for myself. I also made two others for you. They feature the low grumbling baritone scale with half of a bass pickup.

You'll notice that I did not put a resonating tin into these. That's because the resonator in my original baritone SUCKED. These new ones are louder than the original and they have more sustain. I've also improved the hand crafted Corian nut.  Other details

* a KING B box from Arturo Fuente
* Mandolin tailpiece
* shovel handle neck with fret markers drawn in pencil on the side
* Shane Speal signature tuners
* Shane Speal signature Southbound strings.
* Pennsylvania license plate on the back

Played with a slide. Meant to be plugged into the loudest amp you own.

Two available for sale now.
The Holler Baritone - $295

The Shane Speal newsletter is sponsored by C. B. Gitty - the cigar box guitar parts superstore.

...and one final note:


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Comment by Ice Bob on November 12, 2014 at 11:10pm

dont beleave what you hear about the south shane south fla warm weather tiki bars we nead a show band in Stuart Fla

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