I had a great time last week watching local musicians interact with guitar builder Paul Reed Smith and his buddy, Chicago Joe, during a visit to 4 O’Clock Rock Guitar Shop. In addition to a wonderfully informal session of instrument and amplifier talk and demonstration, the luthiery legend spent a lot of time talking to musicians and signing autographs (often directly upon the PRS instruments the musicians brought with them).
There were a couple of great moments along the way, excluding Smith’s effort to take my notebook away from me for fear I would leak some of the trade secrets he shared. Among the best of those moments came when Ashland bassist Tim Neill, who did not have an instrument for Smith to sign and requested the man instead sign the toe of his left shoe. Obviously amused by the scenario, Smith did indeed add his signature to the sneaker.
I wasn’t paying proper attention to how it all began, but at another point Smith was excited and pulled out his phone to call some guy named Ricky who grew up a few miles down the road in Lawrence County. After an enthusiastic setup, he handed the phone to store-owner Dave McCoy (whose own family tree apparently includes a few folks named Skaggs) and the cousins who’d never met had a chance to chat and introduce themselves. I’m sure McCoy invited Ricky Skaggs to visit his store and check out a few of the fine acoustic instruments before they got off the line.
Smith, an observant man who picked up on the variety of accents in the area as well as the fact that most of us carry knives in our right pocket, seemed to have a lot of fun during his visit, and everyone at his demonstration agreed he gave Mr. McCoy a minor heart attack when he actually tossed one of the shop’s finest PRS instruments several feet into the awaiting hands of Chicago Joe. Smith explained it is a trick they have rehearsed at length and told a great story about how the heart-stopping stunt evolved.
The guitar builder also had a lot of fun speaking with local instrument builder Michael R. “Poppy” Parsons of Greenup, including a conversation about the possibility of contracting anthrax from deer antler. I think you just had to be there for that one.
A couple of weeks back I mentioned getting a couple of samples of Goldilocks pastries from the recently opened Maria’s Manila Asian Market in Russell.
For no apparent reason I woke up one day last week absolutely craving more and remembered I still haven’t written anything about those tasty treats from the Philippine Islands. Maria keeps her Goldilocks products in a freezer, and I allowed the chocolate cake sample to thaw before sharing it with the newsroom, where it did not stand a chance and prompted many “yummy sounds” from a captivated audience. The bag I carried home contained a couple of goodies I’m not even sure how to pronounce properly. The label on two said Classic Ensaymada, a simple brioche bread with a dusting of cheese on top, and the other was Classic Mamon, or French sponge cake. One of the brioche breads was made with purple yam inside (which Maria selected especially for my wife, but I ended up eating it) and it was delicious. I think the buttery-tasting French shortbread (Classic Mamon) was my personal favorite.
If you have favorite flavors from abroad, and you haven’t found anything like it on the shelves at local groceries, you might want to check with Maria’s to ask if they can get it, or already have it in stock. At just a glance toward the Facebook page I noticed the inventory ranges from papaya pickles and “Siopao pork, asado, bola bola,” to “Korea kimchee” and “Fresh blue crab, squid rings for calamari ready, pompano (butterfish), silver fish, milk Fish, smoked milk fish.”
I have no idea what half of that stuff even is, but my curious side gets the better of me and I would love to try a few dishes made with those “exotic” ingredients if prepared by those who grew up with those flavors and textures. I doubt I would want a second bite, but must admit I am curious about the kimchee.
For more information about Maria’s Manila Asian Market at 1564 Diederich Blvd., call (606) 388-4088. And, in response to the most frequently asked question on my side, everyone at the store speaks English quite well (Maria has an unusual combination of accents with echoes of both California and Kentucky) and they are more than happy to show you around and tell you about anything in the store. I’m told Maria even shares family recipes.
Tina has moved
Westwood business owner Tina “The Tinter” Hennecke-Sanchez reports she has relocated her business, Tina’s Tinting, to a new location at 1735 Hoods Creek Pike, across from Dollar General in the former car lot operated by Jeff and Sherri Lewis.
“It’s a lot bigger place and we can get two cars in at once,” she said.
While automotive tinting is her main calling, Hennecke-Sanchez said she’s also been busy working with semi-trucks, motor homes, residential and business windows, and “pretty much anything with glass,” as well as pinstriping services and vinyl paint protection for bumpers.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, although she was quick to add, “But we’re flexible with hours” and will stay late to meet a customer’s needs.
The businesswoman said her slogan is: “Don’t let glare be a pain in your glass.” For more information, call (606) 571-8293.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2651.