The team at Willis Music have been in touch with us to pass along some big news: Stonefield is coming to town. Operating a chain of retail music stores across northern Kentucky and southern Ohio, Willis Music has been in business since 1899, making them one of the longest established music retailers in the US. While at the recent winter NAMM Show they met up with Stonefield founder Tomm Stanley for a fairly simple task: to arrange shipping for the double neck instrument that Stonefield had created for their endorsing artist, Freekbass.
The funk master is based in Cincinnati and has a long relationship with Willis Music, still providing lessons at their Eastgate Store when he's not out on the road touring with his band, The Bump Assembly. Willis Music's Vice President of Sales and Purchasing, Paul Finke said, "Stonefield is based in New Zealand and was only in the US for the week of the NAMM show. They needed to get this super special instrument across to Freek after it had been on display at the show but were concerned about a tight delivery timeline required for Freek to have the instrument for use in an upcoming video. Tomm got in touch with us, explained the situation and asked if we could help out."
Willis Music's Eastgate store manager, Jim Burkhardt and some of his crew dropped into the Stonefield stand to meet up with Tomm and get the arrangements in order. "And the rest is history." As Jim says, "In addition to making the shipping arrangements for the double-neck, we were also on a bit of a spy mission, scoping out the Stonefield range with an eye on the possibility of adding it to our line-up of bass brands. We were impressed with what we saw and suggested that Tomm get in touch with Paul. The two of them worked out the details and brought it all together, so Stonefield will be on display and available in our shops beginning on April 25th."
And that's really where this story gets interesting. Being the first retailer in the US to carry the brand, Willis and Stonefield are going to make an event out of this beginning to their working relationship. On April 25th the Willis Music Eastgate store in Cincinnati will be putting on a Stonefield-focused event, All About That Bass. Jim informs us, "We're going to have Tomm Stanley, with his infectious passion and enthusiasm, in the store to meet and greet potential buyers but the special event only begins there. Stonefield endorsing artists Freekbass and JD Short are going to be conducting artist clinics and masterclasses beginning at 4:30pm and then later in the evening they're going to take the stage together, conducting a rarely seen masterclass format of two artists addressing musical situations from their individual stylistic perspectives. And ... but wait there's more ... they're going to pull Tomm up on stage as well for some luthiery Q & A and who knows what else. Personally, I can't wait to see that one."
Wrapping things up, Paul Finke adds, "And we're not charging a thing for the clinics and masterclasses. This is all about bringing these world class basses and the artists that are playing them into a focus. It's not often that you have the opportunity to recognise something special and be a part of it. In the world of electric bass, Stonefield's instruments are pretty special and we are really excited to be the first dealer in the US to have them in stock."
We get the feeling that this will be an event to remember, so for more information about Stonefield basses, Willis Music and the April 25th event make sure to get onto www.willismusic.com/bass, www.stonefieldmusic.com and all of their respective social media channels.