Most musical instruments are versatile. You can hear guitars, drums, violin and piano in Classical, Rock, Country and Jazz to name a few. Banjos are normally heard in Country and Folk, but thanks the Bela Fleck they can now be found doing much more. Dobros can be heard in Country, Folk and the Blues, but their cousin, the pedal steel can only be heard in country music and Hawaiian music.
The Steel Guitar aka Pedal Steel is some lonely instrument. It’s as though this instrument has the ability suck the emotions out of a listener. There is no such thing as a sad country song unless there is a pedal steel waling in the back ground nearly making it as depressing as Irish music, but not quite.
Unless you pay close attention to album credits you’ll probably never even recognize the names of the best pedal steel practitioners, which is sad because the complexity of the instrument should line them up for congratulations.
Now I’m not asking you to learn all their names as we’ve learned the names of guitar virtuosi, but I do ask that the next time a Country song finds your ear; pay special attention to the sound of the pedal steel. It is rather remarkable even if you hate Country music.