Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pedal Steels


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.

10 Comments:

Blogger darev2005 said...

Gawd. Just think how depressing irish cowboys would be. We should rename the pedal steel guitar the "Depressophone". Too bad in a way it's just an ancillary instrument, so the good players never get any recognition outside of their group. How many extraordinary french horn or bassoon players have you hear of? Nobody who plays the triangle will ever win a grammy.

4:11 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

My vote easily goes to John Call of Pure Prairie League. Awesome!

8:18 AM  
Blogger Patrick McGee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Patrick McGee said...

Sorry about that link.

You Tube a search on Robert Randolph and The Family Band.

This guy takes the Pedal Steel to new heights in my view.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff the skunk Baxter from the dobbies and steely dan was a great one

10:19 AM  
OpenID tenasillahe said...

david gilmour plays a mean steel guitar.

i love old country and ESPECIALLY the songs with the steel guitar. It's what makes country music imho.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes a particular animal with a certain mindset to play the pedal steel. I don't think it can really be taught in any convetion sense. To many esoterics. We've all heard those flowery intros on the old Tammy Wynette hits ect. Some fine players have been mentioned here. Few rockers have achieved much in this field. Jerry Garcia fooled around with it on CSTNY's Teach Your Children and with The New Riders Of the Purple Sage. But if you get a chance to listen to stuff by Lloyd Maines, (Natilies's Dad). Or Herb Remington from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in their heyday... whoa! Thats where it's at for me.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

>>>Comment deleted
This post has been removed by the author.

8:27 AM<<<


:P

9:58 PM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Looks like there are some real pedal steel fans out there. Maybe I'll have to give this stuff another listen.

4:02 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I'm impressed that most even knew the name of a steel player. I've never heard of any of them except Garcia. I will check out Patrick's suggestion the next time I have access to something other than dial-up.

I remember there was a guy that dis dome amazing on a live recording of Mo Bandy, and I have searched for it and found a lot of his live stuff, but never the one with the best steel playing I've ever heard.

4:50 AM  

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