My parents gave me a guitar at age 12, and I’ve played one every day since. Strumming a C-maj/7th chord feels pretty dang good — and writing songs is about as cathartic as it gets. A guitar is a lifetime friend and therapist. Linus from Peanuts eventually must grow up and throw away his security blanket. Guitar pickers get to keep ours forever. This week, Toast & Jam welcomes a new member to the guitars-for-life club. Mallory Gomez started lessons in November at 12. Her guitar teacher, Jimmy Pitstick, of Arlington, is someone I’ve known for many years. Every so often, he wrangles his students together and hosts Young Stars and Guitars, a public recital to allow them to play on a stage with a PA system in front of a large audience. The most recent gig was held at the The Grease Monkey. Most students were teens or a little older, and all performed well, but the one who sparkled most was Mallory. She sang five or six songs, including “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin, and nailed her vocals while handling herself with such poise for a kid. The 150 or so audience members erupted after Mallory finished. It was the biggest applause of the day. Mallory beamed. So did everyone else, including me. I left shortly afterward, but that moment buoyed my spirits all day long. A week or two later, I was thinking of potential guests for the show, and Mallory came to mind. I contacted her mom, who said Mallory would enjoy appearing and playing a Kacey Musgraves song she had learned recently. A couple days later, Mallory and I meet, chat, toast, jam, and hopefully make a new moment for you to enjoy. — Jeff Prince


  1. Very nice, Jeff!
    However, Beulah Mae wanted to remind you that she appeared on Toast and Jam when she was only 10 years old, making her the youngest guest.