• The Chisels Are Calling, a John Monteleone Documentary

    The Chisels Are Calling, a John Monteleone Documentary

    NASHVILLE, TENN.The Chisels Are Calling, a film about John Monteleone is set for its initial viewing August 2, 2022 as part of the Woods Hole Film Festival, Woods Hole, Mass. and will be followed by Julian Lage performance.

    The film, on Street Singer Productions, was produced by Trevor Laurence along with guitarist Woody Mann who tragically passed away this past January.

    This feature-length documentary looks beyond the technical aspects of luthierie and examines the life, passion, talent and unique approach John Monteleone takes to his art. Starting with his early interest in the craft, when, at age ten, John repaired the dilapidated family piano, then smashed a cheap guitar so he could see what was inside, the film follows him through his realization as a young man that building instruments was actually a job, and on to his launch of a career repairing some of the world’s finest instruments.

    Largely self-taught, Monteleone used his background in repair to begin building instruments, both mandolins and guitars, in the traditional style. Once he mastered this he began to innovate and design his own models. The film examines John’s influences including his father and uncle’s artwork, his own interests in Art Deco, architecture, cars, trains, and the work of industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Branching out further Monteleone drew on these influences to create one-of-a-kind themed guitars with names like the Radio City, Sun King, Orange Blossom Special, the Radio Wave and many others.

    Monteleone is paid tribute throughout the film by his musician clients, including Mark Knopfler, Ben Harper, David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Paul Glasse, Julian Lage, Anthony Wilson, Woody Mann, and others. Mark Knopfler's performance of his song "Monteleone" includes Mark's description of how John inspired him to write the song and how the lyrics, which start with "The chisels are calling / It's time to make sawdust," came about.

    "It is a great privilege and honor to be documented in this very special way," John Monteleone told Guitar World magazine in late 2021. "I am also deeply humbled by it."

    Following screenings this Summer and Fall, plans include its release toward the end of this year on streaming platforms and DVD.

    John Monteleone

    Photo credit: Vincent Ricardel

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    Comments 4 Comments
    1. cfantx's Avatar
      cfantx -
      No Nigel Tufnel?
    1. Jim Roberts's Avatar
      Jim Roberts -
      For the life of me I don’t understand how lifelong builders of stringed instruments stay physically healthy. Makes my 64-year-old arms and hands ache just watching builders such as Mr. Monteleone and many, many others.
    1. mandohat's Avatar
      mandohat -
      This looks amazing!
    1. DougC's Avatar
      DougC -
      I hope to play one someday.