January 25, 2018

Out of Left Field – The Southpaw Coffee Blend

Southpaw statue

Seattle, Washington. A place of the far Left Coast.

The country began on the other side of the continent. Americans have always had itchy feet, and have been in love with the idea of frontiers, of virgin lands, of a divinely-inspired push to move Over There.

All this innate rambling led pioneers across the belly of the land and up until they reached a place with mountains and water. Why go further? The cusp of the country attracted the eccentrics and artists, people who saw the rest of the nation as being a step removed.

The residents of the Pacific Northwest were the ones who had wanted to go always further.

Two left handed guitarists picked up their six strings and changed the way that people listened to music.

Jimi Hendrix was a jumpy kid who grew up in cheap hotels and apartments in Seattle. One day he was helping his dad clean trash at an old lady’s house. He found a mostly-broken ukulele in the garbage. The old lady let him keep it. Kid Hendrix plinked out Elvis songs one note at a time.

He bought his first guitar at age fifteen for five bucks. He found that playing the blues was a good outlet for his nerves. He could be found at a given time in his teens noodling out pentatonic scales and melodies, creating an unending stream of music. He wanted to create a musical experience. He played the guitar upside-down on the left so that he could solo on the smaller top strings.

Two left coast guitarists picked up their six strings and changed the way that people listened music.

Kurt Cobain was a kid who crawled out of the woods of Aberdeen– a logging town. The type of place where a creative artist would be shunned at best.

The boy had a voracious ear. He listened to everything that came down the rock and roll pipeline before him: Sabbath, AC/DC, GNR, The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith. He gobbled these up and synthesized them into something new. Something raw and ragged and infused with his own brand of howling backwoods angst and punk rock ethos.

He picked up a guitar and played it left handed. It was what felt right.

It is one hundred percent not hyperbole to say that these two Seattle-based guitarists rewrote their genre.

Hendrix and Cobain crawled, ripped their way to the edge of what could be done. Both artists left a high watermark, a standard by which all following artists had to measure themselves. They changed the game of rock and roll because they didn’t believe it was a game. They didn’t know how else to live on the crazy edge of the continent where the deck was stacked.

Music was the way out of divey motels, the way out of a dumpy logging town.

Music took them further. 

And they took the rest of us with them.


Editor’s Note:

This story is one of many delightful, lesser-told, Pacific Northwest centric stories inspired by our coffee blend names. We hope you enjoy reading them over a cup of great coffee.

Learn more about our Southpaw coffee blend, and our recommended Moka Pot brewing method. To read more stories, click here

June Hogs collage