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Old 06-10-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
charlene
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Default Randy Bachman sends replacement guitar

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/...009/story.html

pics and video at link above.

» Jeff Bartlett with blond Yamaha Pacifica electric guitar signed and sent to him by Randy Bachman after Bartlett lost his signed Bachman Segovia acoustic in the Slave Lake fire.

Picture taken on May 31, 2011 in Slave Lake, Alberta.Photograph by: Rick MacWilliam, edmontonjournal.comSLAVE LAKE -

Jeff Bartlett used to listen to The Guess Who’s No Time on his transistor radio, curled up under the covers, a young Canadian boy feeling lost and alone in Connecticut.

Those fluid, heavy rock riffs were a lifeline. So when he finally got lead guitarist Randy Bachman’s autograph on his old Segovia acoustic, it was a treasured possession.

I’m a huge fan of Bachman’s, “probably the biggest,” Bartlett said after the firestorm ripped through Slave Lake.

The house he had been renting was destroyed. He saved a couple duffel bags, grabbed two of his eight guitars. Everything else, including the old Segovia, was gone.

But news of Bartlett’s plight reached Bachman on Saltspring Island. He took out a pen and signed another guitar, a white-butterscotch-blond Yamaha-Pacifica and sent it by courier.

A stunned Bartlett opened the case Tuesday.

“Oh my God. Oh, my, God. I can’t believe it,” he said, standing in the lobby of the Sawridge Hotel where he’s living. “I’m just, just blown away. Wow. He sent the case and all.”

It’s a small, happy story in the middle of a town filled with loss, but the guitar will be a symbol of hope to Bartlett.

“That takes on a whole new meaning,” he said, finally sitting back down and pointing to the guitar nestled again in its case. “That’s a new beginning. That represents a new future.”

Bartlett was born in Woodstock, N.B. His father worked on the railroad. When the railroad industry dried up, they family moved down to Connecticut, visiting home only during the summer.

That’s when Bartlett got his first guitar, a Fender Telecaster. He took a few lessons, practised a lot and listened to Bachman and the other rock stars of his era on the radio.

“I heard Let it Ride, Taking Care of Business, and I was hooked on the Guess Who, BTO sound. That’s how it all started.

“Plus, me being the Canadian boy, them being the Canadian band and me living in the States. I can tell you, growing up, if it had not been for the music of BTO … they gave me a lifeline. His music and Fred Turner’s voice, that gave me a lifeline.”

Bartlett, now 51, finally met Bachman in 1997 at a concert in Moncton, then again after Bartlett moved to Slave Lake for oilfield work in 2000, and Bachman came to Athabasca.

Bartlett took almost an entire photo album’s worth of pictures and got a guitar strap and a bunch of cassette tapes signed. Many of those were destroyed in the flames, too.

Bachman, who currently hosts the musical program Vinyl Tap, which plays on CBC One Saturday evenings, e-mailed a statement for Bartlett after the guitar arrived.

“I remember when my guitar was stolen. It was like losing my best friend,” he wrote. “I couldn’t function for days. That was my life’s tool and my happiness wand.

“To replace another musicians ‘soul instrument’ and restore his magic of creating music is good for my soul. I feel honoured to do this small gesture. I know he will go forward and make great music and spread joy to all that hear his songs. We have to Keep the Rock Rollin’.”

estolte@edmontonjournal.com
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