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Author Topic:  Another nail in the coffin of steel guitar.
Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 7:57 am     Reply with quote

The Renfro Valley Barn Dance at Renfro Valley, KY was established in 1939. I played there for three years in the 80's. Doug Jernigan played there last year with some other guys filling in when he took off to do steel shows. I saw one of the guys last week and he told me they have cut steel guitar out of the show this year. So, they had the most versatile pro player in the business and still aren't convinced that steel guitar is important to the show? Another sad day as steel guitar gets closer to its commercial grave. Unfortunately, it seems I hear more and more of these stories all the time. Sad

RC
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Tom Quinn


Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 8:12 am     Reply with quote

Have no fear Rick. According to some folks here, the steel is rapidly being accepted as a go-to instrument in many styles.

Despite the fact that Country is no more and Western only lives in a few joints in Texas and three clubs in Nashville, the need for pedal steel guitar is blossoming in such popular genres as Barber Shop Quartet, Dixieland Jazz and Bossa Nova.

I look forward to the day when we see our brave pickers onstage with rappers and such. Just last night I saw a gentleman playing a vintage Fender Custom triple eight on Molly B's Polka Show on the popular RFD Channel. Surely a similar instrument equipped with pedals is on the horizon.

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Rick Schacter


From:
Portland, Or.
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 9:38 am     Reply with quote

Tom Quinn wrote:


I look forward to the day when we see our brave pickers onstage with rappers and such.



Why the heck not?
You should never completely rule anything out.
It's a fantastic way to become irrelevant.

Rick
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 10:06 am     Reply with quote

That Country and/or Western is so strongly associated with PSG draws attention from all the other music it can produce. It will continue to be welcome elsewhere and it will break new ground.

If the only music you knew was rock'n'roll then you would believe that the saxophone became extinct in the early 1960's, but a broader view tells us that this is not so.
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B. Greg Jones


From:
Middleport, Ohio USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 10:10 am     Reply with quote

This is really a shame. I was the staff steeler at Renfro Valley for 12 years and loved every minute of it. I got to work with a great band and made some good friends there. At that time, the steel was VERY important to the show and I got to play a lot. All but 2 or 3 of the cast members have left since I was there. Renfro was one of the last places you could go and hear classic country music then. Steel, fiddle, piano, mandolin, banjo etc. This really breaks my heart.
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Barry Blackwood


Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 1:01 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
Tom Quinn wrote:


I look forward to the day when we see our brave pickers onstage with rappers and such.



Why the heck not?
You should never completely rule anything out.
It's a fantastic way to become irrelevant.

Rick

Apparently the sarcasm of Tom's post has been overlooked here...?
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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 1:14 pm     Reply with quote

I occasionally record with melodic metal guitarist Neil Zaza. I don't get many solos, cuz that's his business, but he really likes the way I can play String Trio parts.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Zaza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Puov93SDltM
Lapsteel on this one;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAY1WKouT18
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 1:33 pm     Reply with quote

Gorgeous string section on Every Thought of You.
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Les Cargill


From:
Oklahoma City, Ok, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 1:38 pm     Reply with quote

We must have had five people compliment us on the steel at last nights gig. Clubowner included. 'Course,the clubowner is dern near family in this case. He plays guitar and loves steel in general.

It's a significant challenge to keep a business operating from 1943 to the present. I know nothing of the Renfro Valley venue, but I can see how an expected repertoire might shift away from it.

I've been a couple of places that specialize in "bro country", Texas style and there wouldn't be much point in having steel there. These were a lot relatively medium profile regional acts, fulltimers; had the "retired metal guitar player" and the utterly risk averse backline. They all played like they were being stopped by the police. Nothing breathed.

Really nice folks and they're playing to more people than we are but I'd rather do what we do.
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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 1:58 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks Charlie!
I appreciate the kind words! It's an interesting mix, eh? Melodic metal and pedal steel. Hope to do so more. That was my Kline Uni through a highly modified Delta Blues.
JB
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James Sission


From:
Sugar Land,Texas USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 2:34 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie McDonald wrote:
Gorgeous string section on Every Thought of You.



I totally agree. Very well done.
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Karol Wainscott


From:
Kokomo , Indiana
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 3:48 pm     Reply with quote

I totally agree with Rick and Greg. I been to Renfro Valley every Christmas Show for the last 21 years. Listened to Greg many,many times. A wonderful steel player. Would also go in the summer. It is 260 miles one way for me, but was well worth the trip. With the deaths of the Evans , the new management has run it in the ground. I made reservations there last Christmas for one of the cabins. Reservation made in June. When we arrived we learned the cabins had been winterized and were not availiable. There we stood no reservations nowhere. We were able to get a room up the road. This surprised me as this place was also always booked. When talking to the desk clerk she said you will see why there are a lot of availiable rooms, just look around. We soon saw why , the restraint was closed, the village shops were closed , no tour buses came , and the first hour of the Christmas program was put on by some voice imitator . It was plum pitiful. And I did not recognize but one original cast member . We will not go back toll something changes for sure.
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 5:38 pm     Reply with quote

I might have said this before, but one time Jerry Byrd said to me: "Music is a reflection of society", and I'm sure, many of you have seen many things fading away. Hobbies, businesses, clubs (not just drinking clubs), and many other things.
That's great you were able to play such a classic show, Rick. If they're not doing "bro' country", they've got to have a steel.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 6:09 pm     Reply with quote

John Billings wrote:
Thanks Charlie!
I appreciate the kind words! It's an interesting mix, eh? Melodic metal and pedal steel. Hope to do so more. That was my Kline Uni through a highly modified Delta Blues.
JB


That's really cool, John, nice playing!

It's funny because I was thinking about this Vinnie Vincent track today with pedal steel. I am trying to find out who played it (maybe Vinnie?). Apparently Vinnie was raised in a C&W household in NY and his father played pedal steel. The audio quality is terrible, but you can hear the steel throughout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHnYBZMTOI4
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Jim Hinds


From:
Lancaster, California, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 7:04 pm     Reply with quote

John,

That's some great stuff you did with Neil.

Jim
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Jim Hinds


From:
Lancaster, California, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 7:09 pm     Reply with quote

Vinnie Vincent - a name from the past.
I never thought he would have had steel on his music.
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2016 8:31 pm     Reply with quote

"I look forward to the day when we see our brave pickers onstage with rappers and such."

NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll set fire & take an ax to it first!
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 11 Apr 2016 2:03 am     Reply with quote

Mike Neer wrote:


It's funny because I was thinking about this Vinnie Vincent track today with pedal steel. I am trying to find out who played it (maybe Vinnie?). Apparently Vinnie was raised in a C&W household in NY and his father played pedal steel. The audio quality is terrible, but you can hear the steel throughout:



Actually Vinnie was from Bridgeport Ct, he was Vinnie Cusano before he was Vinne Vincent. He was playing the local circuit a few towns over from where I lived, although we never knew each other but I knew who he was.

at the time it was said he was a killer player even in his early days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinnie_Vincent
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 11 Apr 2016 3:50 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:

Actually Vinnie was from Bridgeport Ct, he was Vinnie Cusano before he was Vinne Vincent. He was playing the local circuit a few towns over from where I lived, although we never knew each other but I knew who he was.

at the time it was said he was a killer player even in his early days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinnie_Vincent


I used to have some of the records he did as Vinnie Cusano, like Treasure with Felix Cavaliere. I also saw him with Edgar Winter and he was fantastic.

I've emailed the singer on that heavy metal track to find out who played pedal steel. I'm guessing it was VV.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 11 Apr 2016 3:53 am     Reply with quote

sounds like they have bigger problems than the Steel Guitar...
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Jim Hinds


From:
Lancaster, California, USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2016 6:57 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
Mike Neer wrote:


It's funny because I was thinking about this Vinnie Vincent track today with pedal steel. I am trying to find out who played it (maybe Vinnie?). Apparently Vinnie was raised in a C&W household in NY and his father played pedal steel. The audio quality is terrible, but you can hear the steel throughout:



Actually Vinnie was from Bridgeport Ct, he was Vinnie Cusano before he was Vinne Vincent. He was playing the local circuit a few towns over from where I lived, although we never knew each other but I knew who he was.

at the time it was said he was a killer player even in his early days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinnie_Vincent


Hi Tony,

I knew Vinnie from my CT days when I was in Westport. What city were you in?

Thanks,

Jim
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 12 Apr 2016 6:31 am     Reply with quote

Ha Jim ! , I was raised and lived in Westport !

Staples High 1966 Grad...

How 'bout that ! Smile

My Fairfield and Bridgeport friends new Vinnie well...
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George Kimery


From:
Limestone, TN, USA
Post Posted 12 Apr 2016 6:56 am     Another nail in the coffin of steel guitar Reply with quote

I have a good friend that owns 3 theaters in Pigeon Forge. I have been after him for years trying to convince him that he should hire a steel player. Well, he finally did, only to have to let the guy go because he had a BAD ATTITUDE. He is not interested in hiring another steel player. I hope this is a very isolated case and that we are not are own worst enemies.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 12 Apr 2016 6:57 am     Reply with quote

Mike Neer wrote:

It's funny because I was thinking about this Vinnie Vincent track today with pedal steel. I am trying to find out who played it (maybe Vinnie?). Apparently Vinnie was raised in a C&W household in NY and his father played pedal steel. The audio quality is terrible, but you can hear the steel throughout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHnYBZMTOI4

Since you made the Felix Cavaliere connection Mike. Hank DeVito played on the track that comes around 6:52
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HOGgf5MTnU
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 12 Apr 2016 8:30 am     Reply with quote

Back to topic, Rick who was the last steel Player at Renfro? I think Kevin was there after Greg left.

This is a sad note. Renfro Valley Barn Dance has such a long and rich history with country music and has had some of the most well known steel players pass through there including the great Jerry Byrd.
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