“I had the amazingly good fortune to meet another incredibly talented songwriter named Elliott Smith. He set a new bar for music and I truly believe him to be one of the great voices of our generation. In 1995 I took Elliott out on his first tour as my opening act. I adored his songs and our friendship ran deep. Although our relationship was strictly platonic, it was Elliott who helped me fill the void after the loss of Kurt. On both of the tours that Elliott and I subsequently did together, it was the Martin that we would end up playing into the wee hours of the morning in our hotel room…I believe that “Grandpa” is the ONLY instrument in the world that was played, adored and loved by both Kurt Cobain AND Elliott Smith. It was also played on occasion by Shawn Colvin and of course, me.
In 2003, Elliott died and this completely broke my heart…It was around this time that I began to release myself from the whole world of music as I knew it and dedicate myself to my young daughter Annabelle. The Martin was getting little attention, and by this point it held memories that I wanted to let go of. It had served me well and I wanted to give it a new lease on life. It needed to be played, so in 2004 I sold it to a guitar dealer and that was that.
A few years later I got a letter from someone who was about to purchase the guitar and wanted to know if everything was on the “up and up.” I am happy to say that the guitar Kurt Cobain called “Grandpa” and Elliott Smith called “Gramps” now resides in the permanent collection of Make’n Music in Chicago, IL. I am told it is played regularly and adored by many a visitor who wants to hear the “stories.” On special occasions it is even made available to other musicians for purposes of inspiration and to use on recordings.
I am glad to have known it, served it well, and to have shared in the memories this wonderful guitar possesses.
There you go…the story of “Grandpa.”
Mary Lou Lord