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Charlie Musselwhite
Ben Harper and his mom roam the store that was a childhood home
Ben Harper and his mom roam the store that was a childhood home

Ben Harper took the old guitar down from the wall and held it in his hands. It had been at the Folk Music Center in Claremont for decades, during many of the years that the singer-songwriter had grown up at the store, learning to play and repair acoustic instruments. But only now had he even noticed the thing, with its dark wood and flowery designs painted onto the surface. It arrived from Madrid a half-century before, just one of countless acoustic guitars, African drums, flutes, banjos, sitars and other instruments collected, bought and sold at the store since his grandparents founded it in 1958. "Isn't that cool? It's hard to part with some of these," said his...

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