‘Really Good Rejects’ celebrates the first guitar maker – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Reuben Cox insists he’s not musically inclined, but he’s become vital to some of rock n’ roll’s biggest artists.

The North Carolina native, a gifted artist and photographer, became a leading luthier – a maker of stringed instruments. His extraordinary craftsmanship is explored in the documentary Very good releasesdirected by Alice Gu (king of donuts), which is making its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival.

Jackson Browne, Carrie Brownstein, Andrew Bird, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Aaron Dessner of The National are among the luminaries who appear in the documentary, testifying to the “strange magic” that Cox imbues into guitars, be they electric or acoustic. Working on a lathe, Cox can turn the wood of a counter or barn into an instrument “that actually writes songs for you in a way”, as Dessner observed.

“Reuben’s guitars have been described as ‘Excalibur’ for unleashing musicians’ creativity,” the SXSW program notes, “allowing them to create music that connects with hearts and souls around the world.”

Very good releases is premiering in the music-oriented vertical SXSW 24 Beats Per Second. Producers include Gu, Jose Nuñez, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein (the latter two known for their work on the Oscar-nominated documentary soul summer). Gu’s documentary is an acquisition title at SXSW.

In the exclusive clip above, mild-mannered Cox describes launching his Old Style Guitar Shop in the Los Angeles area in 2009 and getting a push from The National to do so. The huge crowd he had anticipated didn’t quite materialize, but he still remembers the event as “incredible”.

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