Hancock County man preserves musical history

By David Elliott - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - During the Civil War, a soldier might have passed the day playing a cigar box banjo around the campfire. In the 20th century a blues musician could have strummed a cigar box guitar in the middle of a cotton field. These historic instruments are being recreated by Norman Boyd in his Hancock County wood shop.

"After I made my first cigar box guitar, it became a passion of mine," Boyd said.

Norman hand carves the neck of the instrument. The body of the instrument is made from an actual cigar box Boyd collects around the world. The sound is pure and reminds Boyd of the blues.

"I grew up loving the blues and when I heard my first cigar box guitar it cried the blues."

This craftsman makes banjos, as well as both acoustic and electric cigar box guitars. The unique sound can be heard echoing through the woods and bayous behind Boyd's Hancock County home.

"I love playing one of the instruments I made by hand."

Boyd is doing his part to preserve history. The old cigar box guitar is a big part of American history, particularly our southern heritage.

You can see Norman Boyd's cigar box guitars on display at Maggie Mays Art Gallery in Old Town Bay St. Louis.

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