Alaska's Balladeer Hobo Jim for more than 30 years has captured the mystique and spirit of Alaska in song, hundreds of them. Whether an Iditarod musher, lumber jack, fishermen, gold miner, whaler, cowboy, seamen, or broken hearted lover, Hobo has written a song that captures the emotion of living in the land where legends are born. Always willing to do fund raisers for worthy causes, years ago Hobo was given a very rare and expensive Martin D-42 Koa wood guitar as a gift from Matanuska Music of Wasilla, in appreciation for all he had done for Alaskans. It became Hobo's only guitar, traveling the world with him, and bringing his songs and music to life before thousands.
Then last month, Hobo's guitar was stolen from his truck. Rewards have been offered for the safe return of the guitar with no questions asked, and agencies and individuals all across Alaska have been trying to get the guitar back. "I know their trying hard, but I consider it gone. People are concerned about it. Four or five people a day ask me if I've found it yet. I'd love to have the guitar back, but so many people in the community of Alaska, have shown that they care so much, it's been a real touching thing that has almost made the experience worth it to know that people care so much," said Hobo, on his way from the Lake Lucille Inn in Wasilla, to BJ's in Soldotna with his new guitar.
The guitar that was stolen was one of only two of its kind in the world. Hobo now has the other one. "What made the guitar so unique was the custom tuners and the Hawaiian Koa wood that it was made from, they don't make them any more, but when the folks at Matsu Music called the Martin Company, they just happened to have the only other one like it available. It doesn't sound quite the same, but it's a beautiful instrument," said Hobo. "I still wish someone would just bring it back and drop it off at Safeway or somewhere and that would be the end of it," added Hobo. There is still a $2,000 reward offered for the safe return of the guitar with no questions asked. Additionally there is a $2,000 reward that is being offered for the arrest and conviction of whoever stole the instrument. Meanwhile, Hobo will continue to entertain throughout Alaska, Japan and Germany this winter as he has for the last 31 years. Happy to have the new Martin, and hoping for the return of what used to be his only guitar. The guitar with which he wrote the title song of the legendary country western singer George Jones's new CD, "The Rock."
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