A rising Country and Rock musician walks into a custom guitar shop in Red Deer, Alberta. What could be the start of interesting joke is actually how Brayden King and David Gilmore recently began their professional relationship. To fully appreciate the journey that brought them together, we'll have to step back and look at their humble, shared beginnings.
David Gilmore first pursued a career in line with his passion for music right here in Weyburn. Born in Radville and attending broadcasting school in Saskatoon, Gilmore got his start with an offer from the legendary Jim Lang to join the night shift for CFSL on the AM wavelength in Weyburn.
"Now, I think the reason they offered me the job wasn't because I was any sort of a spectacular broadcaster. It was because I was local, so I knew how to pronounce the names of local towns," laughed Gilmore.
Regardless, getting his foot in the door at the local radio station would light a spark that David has continued to carry until now. After 30 years in the industry some old segments like Swap and Shop still hold a dear place in his heart, but it was conducting artist interviews that he truly loved. Currently, it's a self-run podcast that allows David to continue fanning the flames of his passion.
"After leaving Weyburn, I got into some FM rock'n'roll radio station formats and I did a ton of artist interviews, and it was one of the things that I was really, really good at," said Gilmore. "I do a podcast today called 'Live @ Gilmore Guitars', where I get local and international singer songwriters to come into the studio. They'll play one of the guitars that I built and sing songs that they wrote. So that's kind of a leftover from my radio days."
While Gilmore always pictured his own name up in lights, he found that a career in radio would act as a suitable surrogate for making a living off of music and brushing elbows with fame. That still did not stop him from joining bands and bringing his talents to the stage, though. Some may remember David Gilmore in the ranks with locals such as Brent Allen, Bob Rassmussen, and Allison Mcleod. It was all part of the journey that would lead to Gilmore to his ultimate calling.
"I started building guitars in 1994 with a book called 'Tradition and Technology', and that's the time I found out about a course in Tugaske, Saskatchewan, that's run by David Freeman," he reflected. "It was called 'Timeless Instruments'. I went there in the fall of 1995, learned how to build a guitar, and did it as a hobbyist until 2011. Dave Freeman is still a mentor to me, we still talk and I still purchase materials from 'Timeless Instruments', so that's a relationship that continues to this day."
Since opening his shop for fulltime production in 2011, David Gilmore has built an impressive 251 guitars for artists seeking the sound and quality that he has become known for. David's network of relationships with performing artists would eventually put a Gilmore Guitar on Brayden King's wish list. A common Weyburn connection proved to be how the two would meet.
"Actually, it's interesting. I still have family in Weyburn," explained Gilmore. "My brother, Gene, is a taxidermist and a farmer in Radville, and he had a relationship with the Von Hagens. Brayden King was a really good friend with Dane Von Hagen, and Dane von Hagen was the singer in a band called Dead Levy. Dane and Brayden were doing an acoustic tour through Alberta and they played here in Red Deer, so Dane had reached out and they came and did a podcast. That's how I was introduced to Brayden."
David and Brayden remained in contact through social media after the podcast, where Brayden had left a strong impression. Gilmore said that King is likely one of the hardest working artists in the industry right now, and that he greatly admired the young man's work ethic. It should come as no surprise that in their following talks, a handmade guitar would find its new home.
"Brayden is now playing a Gilmore Guitar," David beamed. "He's going to tour with that all over. I love the fact that these guitars that I'm building are out there on their own journeys now. Writing songs, playing shows or just sitting on the couch at home and playing for yourself. My guitars do all of that. But really, there's no buzz like watching somebody perform a song on a guitar that you built."
David Gilmore had also hand crafted a guitar for Tom Wilson of the band 'Junkhouse', among other performing artists throughout his career. That guitar, featuring custom brass wire artwork on its headstock, was used by Wilson in his recording of the intro for the band's song 'Shine'. With Brayden King now preparing for another full-tilt year on the road with a Gilmore Guitar at his side, David's pedigree could soon grow even more illustrious.
Further adding to his raves for Brayden King, Gilmore said that he sees success in the future for the up-and-comer. Experience has taught David to look for more than just an ability to sing and write songs, and he said that Brayden has the right stuff to carry him on his journey.
"He's an entertainer, which is important," stated Gilmore. "I mean, it's one thing to be able to write a song and sing a song. It's another thing to be able to captivate an audience, and he's doing that now. He's doing shows where he has audiences singing his songs back to him, so that tells me he's on the right track. If he wasn't, I wouldn't have done the deal with him. So, I have a lot of faith that he's going to be very, very successful."
Now armed with his one-of-a-kind, handmade guitar, King steps into the next chapter of his career backed by a reliable, heirloom quality tool that can produce a sound unique to him. Touring across Canada will surely feel a bit different for the Weyburn-born artist now that he carries an instrument that bears the legacy of David Gilmore.