Well-known within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for his music and peacemaking work, David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker and author.
Touring full time for more than 20 years, LaMotte has developed a loyal, global following and has artistic sponsorships from Taylor Guitars and John Pearse Strings. He is chair of the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Task Group and has offered Worldchanging 101 workshops around the world for more than a decade.
While on tour in Europe, he corresponded via email with Presbyterian News Service reporter Bethany Daily about the Taylor GS Mini Holden Village guitar, a collaborative project benefitting the Presbyterian clean-water ministry Living Waters for the World.
PNS: How did you hear about the project? What attracted you to it?
David LaMotte: Steve Young from Living Waters for the World originally contacted me about the project. It’s really an amazing intersection of so many things I care about, and I love how they flow together. I’m a big fan of LWW, for starters. I’ve toured their facility in Oxford, Mississippi, and I’m really impressed with their ingenuity. And then, of course, I’ve been playing Taylor guitars for about 20 years and I’m a huge fan of their work. And I love the idea of this project to reclaim a polluted water source at Holden Village leading to providing clean water in other places as well. There’s a beautiful symmetry to the whole thing.
PNS: Have you played one of the guitars yet? If so, was there anything special about that experience you can share?
LaMotte: My own Holden came to my door just a few days before I left on this tour. I love it, and look forward to taking it with me on many an upcoming trip. It’s a beautiful instrument, small enough to comfortably fit in an overhead compartment on a plane and wonderfully playable. I play in a lot of alternate tunings, and even with the short scale neck it seems to hold those tunings very well. When I first sat down on the couch to play it, I found myself playing some things I had never played before. Different guitars have different music in them, and the tonalities of different instruments naturally lead you to different musical ideas. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with this guitar and seeing what other gifts it has for me.
PNS: What should other musicians know about this instrument?
LaMotte: It’s a small guitar, perfect for traveling, but it’s not quite a backpacker guitar either. It has a nice tone, and... well, it’s a Taylor. I have mine set up with the Taylor expression system as well, so I can plug it in, and I’m looking forward to figuring out where and how I will use it on stage.
PNS: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
LaMotte: It’s pretty amazing to be able to get a guitar like this at this price. And to be able to feel so good about where the money is going — not 1 percent or 5 percent, but a really significant chunk of the price (30 percent) — is really exciting. I think it’s a beautiful project from every angle, and it’s a lovely little guitar.