Joe Ely To Be Reunited With Guitar Stolen in San Francisco 27 Years Ago

Onstage at Slim's tonight, Texas country-rock legend Joe Ely will be reunited with an old friend: A custom guitar that was stolen while he was on tour in San Francisco 27 years ago.

The story is as bizarre as they come: Ely's custom axe — made by Austin guitarsmith Ted Newman-Jones to resemble a pool table, with felt-colored paint and pool-ball inlays — disappeared from an equipment truck, along with all the band's gear, while Ely was on tour in San Francisco in 1986.

Years went by, and Ely figured he'd never get it back — especially after mysterious calls from someone who claimed to have the guitar broke off. Then-mayor Dianne Feinstein even sent Ely a letter apologizing for the theft of his guitar and the band's equipment.

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