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Author Topic:  Country singers who hate steel guitar!
Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post  Posted 7 Nov 2019 10:41 am    
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The thing I don’t like about STEEL GUITAR is,

THESE STEEL PLAYERS SLIDE FROM A BAD NOTE TO A GOOD ONE. 🤬
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Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Various Southern Towns.
Post  Posted 7 Nov 2019 10:43 am    
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Jerry Overstreet wrote:
Jimmy Day also played on some Willie recordings.

I have to agree. Mickey Rafael is a fine harp picker, but I always felt it was overdone...especially on the TV specials. I mean...take a breath...


Willie has quite a bit of steel on his last couple of albums. Willie is just Willie.
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Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post  Posted 7 Nov 2019 11:09 am    
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Jerry Overstreet wrote:
If there is indeed a medical or other good reason for Church's shades, then perhaps I was too harsh. Either way, still not on any of my play lists.


My wife is a big Eric Church fan, so I get to hear lots of him. And I've seen him play several times (stadium shows). I've had enough of the concerts. His music is evolving, I'll give him that. I'm not a fan of musicians that don't explore & experiment. He was country, then he was southern rock, now he's headed in the singer-songwriter direction. He seems to be copping latter day Bruce Springsteen these days, for better or for worse.

As for his sunglasses - I think that's just image, and/or a crutch. Like his baseball cap pulled way down.
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Stu Schulman


From:
Ulster Park New Yawk
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 1:33 am    
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I don't think that I've ever heard Eric Church?
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john buffington


From:
Owasso OK - USA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 8:53 am    
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My question is: Why do they identify themselves as a "Country Singer(s)" when they have 2-3 screaming guitars in their band, no pedal steel and most likely not a fiddle or two? Yet they are booked as Country? For me when I hear someone say I play in a country band, I say: "who is on steel - their reply is oh we don't use steel" my reply is "I thought you said you were a country band". IMO if they are to be classified as a country act . . . sound like one, if you hate steel (God help you) at least change your identity and quit misrepresenting yourselves as a country singer, etc. Please keep the flames low! Just my opinion.
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Larry Dering


From:
Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 9:39 am    
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I wholeheartedly agree with you John. I can't listen to mainstream radio any longer. Thank goodness I have a wealth of recorded materials from the past country artists and piles of steel guitar instrumentals.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 10:18 am    
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Not really country, but I'm pretty sure Dan Hicks hated pedal steel. Or maybe he just didn't like me for some reason. He was very rude to me whenever we met.

There are a couple of local bandleaders I could name, but won't. They're otherwise good people.
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Larry Ball


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 10:42 am    
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Remember Gentlemen

"It's All About Them" Most of the comments are true, however the "Great" names like "Emmylou Harris", Paddy Loveless, George Strait, Vince Gill and the list goes on, all had steel players in their band and for good reason. "SOUND' Todays music is all about lights, effects and more noise. True Country can't be played without a steel guitar and fiddle in the band.

My Two Cents
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Travis Wilson


From:
Johnson City, TX
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 11:22 am    
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Brooks Montgomery wrote:
Darrell Criswell wrote:
Brooks Montgomery wrote:
Jerry Overstreet wrote:

Far as Eric Church goes, I don't trust anyone who feels the need to hide behind sunglasses indoors.Exclamation


I feel the same way about Hank II. . .but at least he enjoys steel (I think?).


Hank II wears sunglasses because of a mountain cliimbing accident in Montana where his face was destroyed. He had to undergo about 30 plastic surgeries, he said without the glasses his face doesn't look very pleasant. The accident busted his skull open and he says he touched his brain. He wrote a book about it. But I understand he is a jerk. I saw him at Whisky River in Dallas about 1980. Merle Kilgore opened for him, and he got on stage and sang "Stoned at the Jukebox" during which he played lap steel, fiddle, piano, dobro, and guitar. It was absolutely phenomenal. At the end of the song he said Thanks folks and walked off the stage, that was the show!


I look out my office window at Ajax peak. The one he rolled down while hunting. Pretty sure he has long since healed up. Maybe not.

There are some infamous stories around here and more on the Montana side of the divide about him. One, my favorite, where he got punched out by a guitar player in a bar, because "II" kept telling him how to play the song and the guitar. The Marshall showed up after being called to the bar. "II" said, "you arrest that S.O.B., he punched me!". The Marshall said, sir, I cannot do that.
"II" said, "Why in the hell not?" And the Marshall said, "because sir, that is my brother playing guitar, and it sounds like you deserved it."

I guided III on a Salmon river trip around 1990 (i think). He was sent over by "II" delivered by a driver, to get him out of the house, doing something outdoors (which is admirable). III was alone with me in the boat all day running whitewater.I'm guessing he was maybe 13? He stared at his feet all day long. He was not happy, or so it appeared, being forced to go down the river for the day. I tried to ask him questions about music, but he'd have nothing to do with it. I don't blame him, I was supposed to be a guide, not an annoying fan.
I like what Hank III is doing; has a voice much like #1.


But Hank Williams III didn’t grow up with his dad and says he barely knows him at all.
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 12:47 pm    
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Well he was at least visiting him when I had the pleasure! Rolling Eyes
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 12:48 pm    
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b0b wrote:
Not really country, but I'm pretty sure Dan Hicks hated pedal steel. Or maybe he just didn't like me for some reason. He was very rude to me whenever we met.

There are a couple of local bandleaders I could name, but won't. They're otherwise good people.

Well b0b you just ruined Dan Hicks for me ! Laughing
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Bill Miller


From:
Gaspe, Quebec, Canada
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 4:11 pm    
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It's not a real subtle instrument. It has a pretty 'in your face' sound. I've always been in love with it but I'm okay with those who don't. My own sister is none too crazy about it, but she's still proud of my being able to play the thing. One of my best buddies just downright scorns the sound of it. But he`s got a tin ear anyways so I take no offense at all. There is one thing however, I don`t buy much country music that doesn`t have some steel on it.
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Bobby Hearn


From:
Balsora, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 9:07 pm    
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Who’s Dan Hicks?
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 8 Nov 2019 9:56 pm    
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Bobby Hearn wrote:
Who’s Dan Hicks?

He had a big following in his day. Here's a sample: https://youtu.be/hBGeQ0zSifc

Like I said, not really country. Sort of uptown acoustic swing. Maybe he just didn't like electric instruments. I don't know.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 9 Nov 2019 4:01 am    
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manny escobar wrote:
Wasn`t it Chet Atkins who produced "Oh Lonesome Me" by Don Gibson, leaving out the steel so it would appeal to a cross over more popular audience?


Chet was a great guitar player but I'm not a fan of his work as a producer. Apart from slapping schmalzy strings over everything, he was also responsible for the mandolin disappearing from later Louvin Brothers records.
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Dave Hopping


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 9 Nov 2019 8:20 am    
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If a singer/producer/bandleader dislikes steel guitar,it gets quite difficult to relate them to country music.....As something of a side note,there seems to be a tendency(with some exceptions) for singers who can't play an instrument to have a grudge against steel players.OTOH some singers who CAN play "get it" about steel players.I'm thinking Vince Gill,Brad Paisley,Buck Owens,the aforementioned Chris Hillman,and Mark Knopfler,to name a few.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 9 Nov 2019 3:35 pm    
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Jeff Mead wrote:
manny escobar wrote:
Wasn`t it Chet Atkins who produced "Oh Lonesome Me" by Don Gibson, leaving out the steel so it would appeal to a cross over more popular audience?


Chet was a great guitar player but I'm not a fan of his work as a producer. Apart from slapping schmalzy strings over everything, he was also responsible for the mandolin disappearing from later Louvin Brothers records.


I heard it was Ken Nelson from Capitol Records who made the remark about mandolin being too "old-fashioned" that kept Ira from playing it after that.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 9 Nov 2019 3:58 pm    
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as for singers not using steel, even some of the artists we associate most with pedal steel (Ray Price, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty) reached a point where they stopped using it completely.

similarly, I've worked with singers who fell in love with the sound and wanted it in their music but after awhile they dropped it. luckily there are those who believe country music just ain't country without a steel guitar (they're right of course Wink ) and will always use one.

there was a time in the early to mid-70s when steel was on just about everything: country, pop, and rock radio. movie soundtracks. TV commercials. I can remember hearing it on Sesame Street when I was a child. seems like steel guitar achieved maximum exposure and by the late 70s many players were using effects to make it sound less like a steel, and of course many artists and producers dropped it altogether.

it will always be a niche instrument for certain types of country music, and likewise there will always be singers willing to experiment with the huge range of sound a steel is capable of. I don't think we'll ever return to the prevalence of steel we had in the 60s and 70s but with guys like Robert Randolph, Paul Franklin on Megadeth or Greg Leisz on Daft Punk records, and so many others pushing the envelope in jazz, ambient, electronic and other realms, I'd say the steel has finally achieved acceptance across the board and isn't being pigeonholed like it once was, even during those years when it was practically everywhere.

BUT there are also people, including some country singers, who just don't like the sound of steel and never will... no matter who's playing. my dad really liked the sound of pedal steel but hated the sound of 6th-tuned lap steel. other folks prefer the sound of lap steel and find the pedal steel gimmicky or contrived. and a badly out-of-tune or inaccurately played pedal steel can put some people off the instrument for life. even I've had to leave a show or two when the steel player was hopelessly out of tune. it can be truly excruciating.
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Last edited by scott murray on 11 Nov 2019 8:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Paul Strojan


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Nov 2019 6:39 pm    
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I have a theory in the old days, the Nashville sound acts couldn't bring along the strings, horns, and keys that so enriched that type of music to their live shows. I think the pedal steel was disliked by some because it was an imperfect substitute.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Nov 2019 7:49 pm    
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Paul, a case in point is Glen Campbell’s final album, “See You There”. It features several of his biggest hits newly arranged for a small band, and they sound great. The pedal steel on Wichita Lineman is exactly as you describe, and works perfectly. I can’t imagine that Glen was anything but thrilled with the sound. And his voice...holy crap! There is something seriously wrong with artists or listeners that would have a problem with the result of that production.
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 11 Nov 2019 1:42 am    
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Scott wrote:

Quote:
and a badly out-of-tune or inaccurately played pedal steel can put some people off the instrument for life. even I've had to leave a show or two when the steel player was hopelessly out of tune. it can be truly excruciating.


I feel the same way about bagpipes - although in the hands of the right person, they can be quite pleasant, but I still wouldn't want to listen to them all day. I think the pedal steel sound is as distinct as the sound of bagpipes are, and a lot of people feel this way about them.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 11 Nov 2019 5:24 am    
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Fred: Strictly speaking, isn't 'Adios' Glen's last album? Regardless of semantics I recommend 'Adios' to everyone - Glen's voice works its magic as always, there are a number of little-known Jimmy Webb compositions and Mike Johnson's excellent steel playing is heard throughout.

I'm afraid I can't subscribe to this 'If there's no steel, it isn't country' notion. There are several artists whose work I love that didn't use one. The Judds and Diamond Rio come to mind.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 11 Nov 2019 7:55 am    
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Roger, the Judds used steel guitar on at least 'Grandpa' and 'Why Not Me.' I think there may have been others as well, but I'm not a big enough fan to know what they were. Last time I saw them in person, they were carrying a steel player with them... Oh Well
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Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Missoula, Montana
Post  Posted 11 Nov 2019 8:01 am    
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Roger Rettig wrote:
Fred: Strictly speaking, isn't 'Adios' Glen's last album? Regardless of semantics I recommend 'Adios' to everyone - Glen's voice works its magic as always, there are a number of little-known Jimmy Webb compositions and Mike Johnson's excellent steel playing is heard throughout.

I'm afraid I can't subscribe to this 'If there's no steel, it isn't country' notion. There are several artists whose work I love that didn't use one. The Judds and Diamond Rio come to mind.


I 100% agree with the bolded part. Many of the artists that we think are "country" have done songs that don't have steel guitar in them. And of course Johhny Cash (who I can't stand) pretty much never used one. Most would classify him as country. Even me, and it's not because he didn't use a steel guitar, that I don't like him.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 11 Nov 2019 8:36 am    
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Bobby Nelson wrote:
I feel the same way about bagpipes - although in the hands of the right person, they can be quite pleasant, but I still wouldn't want to listen to them all day. I think the pedal steel sound is as distinct as the sound of bagpipes are, and a lot of people feel this way about them.


Like some (most?) pedal steels, bagpipes are tuned to just intonation. But ... they base their tuning on A=466 Hz - very different from the current standard of A=440 Hz. That's why you rarely see bagpipes playing with other instruments.

A well tuned steel guitar works well with other modern instruments. Bagpipes do not.
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