Valley Couple Buys Shaker Music

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When the calendar rolls over to the year 2002, Shaker Music will still be Shaker Music, name and all.

All that will be missing is the shaker himself, owner "Shakey Joe" Harless, who has just sold the Payson store to a Valley couple.

The buyers, Jim and Anne Eichenberger, now live in Tempe but have formerly resided in the Rim country.

"We are looking forward to continuing the tradition of Shaker Music that Joe has worked so hard to establish and maintain," Jim said, "as well as supporting, like Joe, the blues music community in Arizona."

Harless won't become completely invisible. He'll continue his association with the store for his separate company, Shaker Microphones, the annual June Bug Blues Festival, musical instruction and other activities.

The store will continue operating in its current location at 307 S. Beeline Highway near Famous Sam's, and it will still provide musical instruments, instrument repair, instruction and other services to area residents, the schools and the region.

The Eichenbergers will also continue to offer new and used guitars and other musical instruments, as well as band rental instruments in cooperation with Milano Music of Mesa.

Both of Shaker Music's new owners have extensive musical backgrounds.

Jim, who's owned and operated several small businesses, has worked in the music field as a luthier, music promoter and manager. He attended the Roberto-Venn School of Lutiery in Phoenix and has most recently worked at restoring antique guitars. He also provides guitar repair for members of the acoustic music community in the Phoenix area.

Anne is a guitarist and songwriter who performs throughout the Valley under the name of Anne James. She has performed in Payson at the June Bug Blues Festival, in addition to other music festivals across the state.

Both Jim and Anne are current members of the Arizona Blues Society, the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, Folk Alliance, the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists, Fiddlers' Dream and the Tucson Kitchen Musician's Association.

"I've played about five festivals with Anne over the years, and I just really like her and Jim," Harless said. "They don't have to work for a living, and they've always wanted to own a music store. I bumped into them down in the Valley recently, and just happened to mention that I wanted to sell the store. Anne's eyes got really big and she said, 'We really want to move back to Payson.' I said, 'Oh, really? I'll sell you the store.' They came up the next day."

One of the more noticeable changes the Eichenbergers plan to make after taking over their new store in January is to offer for sale some of the antique musical instruments they have collected over the years.

"We are excited about this opportunity to become members of Payson's business community and to live in this beautiful area," Anne said. "And we want to assure Joe's current customers that we plan to wholeheartedly support the June Bug Blues Festival, the Fiddle Festival and other musical events in the community."

"Between the music store and the microphone business, I'm working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week sometimes," said Harless, explaining his reasons for selling Shaker Music. "This will be a really good change for me, and a good change for Payson."

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