What do pencils and music have in common? Apparently a lot more than it would appear on the surface. And Palomino, the company responsible for bringing the legendary Blackwing Pencil back from the dead has now launched a music wing and record label, signing Willy “Tea” Taylor, noted songwriter, co-frontman of the Oakdale, CA-based Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, and Saving Country Music’s 2011 Song of the Year winner, as their very first artist. “Blackwing is more than just a pencil,” is one of the company’s mottos. And they prove this with this unexpected, but strangely-intuitive signing.
“I believe in the benefits of living a creative lifestyle. That’s the spirit that Blackwing embodies so it was really a no brainer,” says Willy Tea Taylor. “I’m really pumped about the whole project.”
Willy Tea is currently in Nashville, and will be recording a new album beginning tomorrow November 5th with Grammy-winning engineer Phil Harris, and producer Michael Witcher, known for working with Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam, and many others. They will be assembling a cast of world class musicians to back Willy Tea, who is considered by Saving Country Music and others as one of the greatest, and most unheralded songwriters of our generation.
“As a strong supporter of the arts, we wanted to give deserving artists a chance to introduce their music to an audience that shares the same passion as they do,” says Blackwing Music’s Grant Christensen. “We are stoked to be working with Willy Tea, Michael Witcher and so many great musicians to produce the first album under the Blackwing Music imprint.”
The yet-to-be titled album is slated to be released in March 2015 at the moment, with pre-sales beginning later in November. A portion of the proceeds from the album will go to the Blackwing Foundation.
What are Blackwing pencils, and what’s the big deal about them? As Palomino states, “Established in 1930 and revived in 2010, Blackwing pencils are a high-end line of California Incense-cedar pencils made with Japanese graphite cores and a lacquer finish. These pencils have been used by some of the most famous artists and writers of all time including Grammy, Emmy, Pulitzer and Academy Award winners over several decades.”
You can also listen to another noted songwriter, Andrew Combs, talking about the pencils below.