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Post new topic Daniel Lanois' book "Soul Mining"
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Author Topic:  Daniel Lanois' book "Soul Mining"
Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 1 Jun 2011 3:52 am    
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Daniel Lanois is a steel player. In his autobiography, "Soul Mining," he mentions that his first real instrument was the Hawaiian guitar which was taught to him by a door-to-door salesman/teacher. I have to assume that this was the Oahu method, though he doesn't say that definitively.

Anyway, he makes reference to getting his first Sho-Bud from Bob Lucier and having lessons with him and playing with Sylvia from Ian and Sylvia. I haven't finished the book yet, but I can imagine there will be more on steel guitar. He does talk about his recording with Brian Eno, "Apollo," on which he played pedal steel. He uses a very unorthodox style as many of you know (I've read some of the previous threads about him and found some of the criticisms to be very narrow-minded), but he coaxes sounds out of instruments that I've never heard before. I've had the privilege of seeing him play guitar several times and it was like nothing else I've ever witnessed.

Daniel's playing and music may not appeal to everyone, but his contributions to modern music are undeniable. He has influenced so many records with his unique sonic productions and he has a very organic, yet forward-looking philosophy on music production. He has used the Suzuki Omnichord, otherwise thought of as a child's instrument, in much the same way that you might hear a pedal steel. Again, another very influential application of sound sculpture.

I count Daniel as one of my significant musical influences, and this is really before I knew he played steel. I recommend his book and also if you haven't heard any of his music, his first CD, "Acadie" is really wonderful, as are some of his subsequent recordings and productions.
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Dave Ristrim


From:
Whites Creek, TN
Post  Posted 1 Jun 2011 4:59 am    
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Hi Mike,
I've also read the book. The guy definitely is an original thinker. I found the story of how he got started recording other people to be most interesting. To me, that gives great insight to how he approaches many other things. Trial by error, improvising approaches to getting sounds, not ruling anything out.
I've only seen him perform once live. It was a full band show supporting his "Shine" Cd. I walked away feeling very inspired.
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Shane Reilly

 

From:
Melbourne, Australia
Post  Posted 1 Jun 2011 4:59 am    
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Cool Mike,I'll check it out! You're spot on, his contributions to music are vast and his passion for steel guitar are as deep as they are for music in total,as it should be. Smile I'm diggin on his Black Dub project at the moment,way cool.
Cheers, Shane.
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Melanie ReMine


Post  Posted 1 Jun 2011 6:45 am    
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I need to check out the book. Daniel Lanois is a force of nature! I only knew of his work as a producer until a friend turned me on to the album Shine. I love his approach to pedal steel and I was entranced when I first heard the sounds of the Omni-Chord with steel (As Tears Roll By is such a great song).
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Brad Bechtel


From:
San Francisco, CA
Post  Posted 1 Jun 2011 6:49 am    
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That's good to know, Mike. I'll keep an eye out for the book. Thanks for letting us know.
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Frank Freniere


From:
The First Coast
Post  Posted 14 Jul 2016 11:19 am    
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Excerpted from “Soul Mining – A Musical Life” by Daniel Lanois 2010.

My tools have always been dear to me and I continue to embrace tools – technology and musical instruments – as they come my way. Back in the late sixties I purchased my first steel guitar from the great Canadian steel guitarist Bob Lucier. Bob was playing at the Edison, a country music club near the Brown Derby where I was playing in a show band to make some cash. This was all happening on Yonge Street in Toronto, pretty much at the sunset of the great Toronto nightclub era. Levon Helm explains it beautifully in his book “This Wheel’s On Fire.”

Lucier was a god to me. His calmness and harmonious way of playing appealed to me. He was also a “Frenchy” and so I was instantly comforted by his French Canadian accent. He spoke slowly like me, and had a machinist’s way of explaining the workings of the steel guitar. Bob agreed to teach me the ins and outs of the steel, and offered to supply me with my first Sho-Bud. He was kind and wise, and I felt a fatherly embrace in his guidance. When you don’t grow up with a father around, you notice these fatherly moments, even from strangers. Bob was a force and I looked forward to my weekly lesson with him.

The emptiness that I had reached with church during my school years had now been filled with joy by Bob Lucier. I played my little Sho-Bud bird’s-eye maple guitar and all kinds of pictures came into my mind about the future. I saw myself playing with Dolly Parton, with my name written across the front of my guitar, just as I’d seen on TV. Maybe I could be on the Porter Wagoner show. Maybe I could be on TV with Willie Nelson or with “the Sweetheart of America,” Emmylou Harris.

My early studies in fingerpicking sure helped me out. All of a sudden, years of classical guitar training made sense. I was able to skate around the steel like a magician. My right hand was advanced and quickly took to the steel. I could play in an original way because I did not come up in the conventional steel guitar manner.

My tone was full and deep – I wasn’t fast, but I had tone. The years of radio listening in my mother’s basement had taught me that it took very little to make a listener feel something. Fewer notes were often better, like Albert King or John Lee Hooker or Booker T. Heartfelt strokes would outlast speed. I had reached a crossroads in my musical life, another pivotal moment of clarity. The steel would be my “Church in a Suitcase” and a friend for the rest of my life.
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Mark van Allen


From:
Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 14 Jul 2016 11:59 am    
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Thanks for the excerpt, Frank- beautifully written. I've always been impressed with Lanois' originality and expression. I'll have to get this book.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2016 4:07 pm    
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This sounds good; does seem well-written.
Thanks for the tip, Mike. Musicians' memoirs are interesting as long as there isn't too much kiss and tell; this one might be about music.
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Justin Brown


From:
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2016 7:01 pm    
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This comes out in September and is all steel - lap and pedal.
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/07/09/daniel-lanois-returns-to-ambient-music-with-goodbye-to-language/
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Roger Palmer


From:
Rossendale, UK
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2016 11:43 pm    
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Love that "church in a suitcase" quote
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jul 2016 1:20 pm    
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My orbs will peel.... Anybody who Bob Dylan hates enough to hang a really good album on is bound to drop a nugget or two. (Whom?)
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Joe Burke

 

From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2016 6:43 pm    
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I saw Daniel Lanois play steel with Emmylou Harris, on the anniversary of their Wrecking Ball album. I thought he was great. Maybe not as smooth as some, but certainly as interesting as many. And what a great album.
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Casey Saulpaugh


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 22 Jul 2016 3:01 pm    
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Joe, I think that's a great album too. For some reason, I really enjoy the first cut on there the most "Where Will I Be?". Cool song. I think it may be Daniel Lanois' tune?

I first heard of Daniel Lanois through Dave Matthews when I was a kid. Dave Matthews Band covers "The Maker" and a couple other Lanois songs. Dave Matthews would always highly praise Lanois whenever covering his tunes. Check out DMB's cover of "The Maker" - Live in Chicago version w/ Victor Wooten. This got me into discovering Lanois.

I really enjoy Lanois' sound, overall as a musician, producer, and steel player. I listened to the Black Dub album a lot when it first came out. Anything with his name on it probably has a lot of cool, interesting angles on music. Surprised
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 23 Jul 2016 5:30 am    
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I think that one of the highlights of the 80s for me was the birth of the producer as artist. I started paying much more attention to production than the actual music itself, in a lot of cases. Fortunately, I loved the music Lanois was involved with (Neville Bros., Robbie Robertson, Dylan). I have always wanted to be a producer myself.

I recntly finished my own recording, and while the engineer and I were finalizing the mixes, I remarked that it was just the way I heard it in my head. He said, "It means that you're a really good producer." From someone who worked extensively with Nile Rodgers for a span of 7 years, I took it as a great compliment. Very Happy
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Casey Saulpaugh


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 23 Jul 2016 6:15 pm    
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Mike I totally know what you mean about the production side of things. There's so much going on sonically, musically, technologically, emotionally, etc. when creating music -- it takes truly talented individuals to pull all that together, and to be a team player with the engineers, musicians, record/business companies too.

I think you'd be a great producer. Your website, (specifically your ideas/articles about improvisation, communicating ideas through question and response, and phrasing) helped me a lot last summer when I was in a rut on the C6 neck. I've always appreciated your thoughts and ideas on steel guitar...thanks for everything you share on posts and your website. And for helping me during that rut! Smile
I'm looking forward to hearing your recording, and anything you may produce in the future.

I still haven't read Daniel Lanois' book mentioned here. I definitely need to get a copy and dive in, it sounds engaging. I think of producing as a very "visionary" role; taking a vision, dream, or sound and bringing it to reality. Definitely not an easy task!

Casey
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 24 Jul 2016 7:42 am    
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I don't think Lanois can play pedal steel well. From what I heard, he's good at remembering his own unstructered ideas. Neither do I like his work on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball". She shouldn't have made that record in the first place.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 24 Jul 2016 9:03 am    
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Joachim Kettner wrote:
I don't think Lanois can play pedal steel well. From what I heard, he's good at remembering his own unstructered ideas. Neither do I like his work on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball". She shouldn't have made that record in the first place.


That's a keeper.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 24 Jul 2016 11:51 am    
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Joachim, Daniel is beyond needing to prove himself on any instrument. Everything he plays, he plays in his own unique way, whether guitar, pedal steel or whatever. Where pedal steel is usually a color in a sonic painting, Lanois is the painter of the whole picture.

Emmylou and many, many others would disagree with you. In many ways, she was reborn after that record.
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Martin Abend


From:
Berlin, Germany
Post  Posted 24 Jul 2016 11:58 am    
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Joachim Kettner wrote:
I don't think Lanois can play pedal steel well. From what I heard, he's good at remembering his own unstructered ideas. Neither do I like his work on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball". She shouldn't have made that record in the first place.


Thank God neither Daniel Lanois nor Emmylou Harris seem to care what Joachim Kettner thinks.
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Jim Fogarty


From:
Phila, Pa, USA
Post  Posted 24 Jul 2016 1:27 pm    
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Joachim Kettner wrote:
I don't think Lanois can play pedal steel well. From what I heard, he's good at remembering his own unstructered ideas. Neither do I like his work on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball". She shouldn't have made that record in the first place.


You could've joined the 50 or so tin-eared people who walked out of the theater when I saw Emmylou and Lanois on the "Wrecking Ball" tour.....

.......the 1,200 or so rest of us who stayed saw one of the best shows of our lives.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 25 Jul 2016 3:06 am    
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Mike, I'm just a guy who's been trying to copy good ideas from good musicians for at least fourty years, nothing very ceative about me. I think I'm right in saying that steel playing is becoming very hard to do, playing along to a fast or even mid- tempo song. Not that I can do it, but I judge a player how he can manage this. Many can play a slow song, but in a fast tempo I think he, like me, would fail miserably.

Martin if you like "Wrecking Ball" that's fine, I just don't.

Quote:
You could've joined the 50 or so tin-eared people who walked out of the theater when I saw Emmylou and Lanois on the "Wrecking Ball" tour.....

.......the 1,200 or so rest of us who stayed saw one of the best shows of our lives.
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Well, I've seen the concert also and I didn't walk out. And a few minutes into the show I've watched Lanois kicking Brady Blade's bass drum and high hat of the stand. What a gentleman!
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Jeremy Steele


From:
Princeton, NJ USA
Post  Posted 25 Jul 2016 4:08 am    
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Daniel Lanois produced one of my favorite albums of all time, Peter Gabriel's "So"...for that alone I am a big fan.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 25 Jul 2016 8:28 am    
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Jeremy Steele wrote:
Daniel Lanois produced one of my favorite albums of all time, Peter Gabriel's "So"...for that alone I am a big fan.


I enjoy So to the degree that when the remixed/updated/extended CD came out a few years ago I went out and bought it.

Joachim, there is a big difference between saying something like "I didn't like" a particular album and "she should have never made that record."

You shouldn't be surprised that there was some blowback from the comment.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2018 6:32 am    
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Funny how things go sometimes: I loaned my Sierra to a guy from Finland for some gigs over here. He and the man who leads this musical project came to pick it up at my house yesterday. When the man sat down to test it the first thing that came to my mind was Daniel Lanois, he even mentioned him as his idol. Can you imagine!
Here's an example:
https://www.tommybaldu.de/
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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2018 9:05 am    
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I haven't read the book or heard a lot of his stuff other than music he's produced, but I did enjoy this video of his "rig rundown".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5x_lFyjJoQ
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