Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach Walk and Outrigger are celebrating the heritage of the Hawaiian steel guitar with a series of Sunday evening performances throughout the month of July. The first and longest show (5 PM - 8 PM) is called Stars of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. It includes Alan Akaka & the Islanders with Na Keiki a Ke Kula Mele, Bobby Ingano, Casey Olsen & the Hiram Olsen Trio, Greg Sardinha, and special guest Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi from Japan. The full monthly schedule follows:

  • July 3 - Stars of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar (5 - 8 PM)
  • July 10- Henry Kaleialoha Allen (5 - 6 PM)
  • July 17- Eddie Palama (5 - 6 PM)
  • July 24- Greg Sardinha (5 - 6 PM)
  • July 31- Na Keiki Kika Kila – The combined schools of steel guitar masters Alan Akaka and Greg Sardinha. (5 - 6 PM)

Doug Jernigan in the News

Doug Jernigan has been coming on string these last few months. His classic style on the new Jake Hooker CD is earning rave reviews from traditional pedal steel fans. Doug played his 1972 Emmons fatback through a Fender Twin Reverb to get a real vintage sound for the project. The album, titled One Man World, was produced by Jim Loessberg and Jake Hooker at Hilltop Studios in Madison, Tennessee. You can order the CD direct from the label at StartexRecords.com.

Greg Leisz on Michael Grimm's CD

(Note: the photogenic Earnest Bovine sat in for Greg on the video)

We get used to seeing Greg Leisz' name on a lot of records these days, so it's no real surprise that producer Don Was tapped him for "America’s Got Talent" winner Michael Grimm’s new album. Taste and tone are the essential ingredients for modern pedal steel tracks, and Greg's sound has plenty of both. While there's not a lot of pedal steel and dobro on Grimm's CD, what's there is just perfect. The hit single Fallin' is a good example:

This is a great vocal album (and it's "news"), but I'm actually more of an instrumental music fan. Greg has recorded a lot of wonderful instrumental music with guitarist Bill Frisell, who gives him considerably more musical freedom. That's what I recommend to steel fans who want to hear more of Greg Leisz:

Feeling better now?

Eric Heywood featured on Jeffrey Foucault CD

I especially love the sound of the pedal steel when it's surrounded by acoustic instruments. So does singer/songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, apparently. His latest CD, Horse Latitudes, is almost a duet with steel guitarist Eric Heywood. Listen to Eric's solo and outro on the title track:

Jeffrey Foucault - Horse Latitudes

Do you hear the Neil Young / Ben Keith influence there? They call this style of music Americana - a blend of folk, rock and country that has been attracting more and more good musicians in recent years. There's a good interview with Eric in No Depression magazine, reprinted on EricHeywood.com, where he talks about his connection to various Americana acts.

Back to point, Jeffrey Foucault's Horse Latitudes is available now on the Signature Sounds record label, available wherever vocal music is sold. Now if we could just get Eric Heywood to do an instrumental album. <wink>

More Steel Guitar Events This Weekend

Summer is here, and it seems that steel guitar events are happening faster than I can blog about them. Here are three that got caught on my radar. If you are part of an event that you'd like to see mentioned on Steel Guitar News, please email me at quasar@b0b.com.

The Indy Steel Guitar Club's annual concert will feature Doug Jernigan, DeWitt "Scotty" Scott, L.T. Zinn and many others. This small regional show attracts stellar performers and gets rave reviews from those who have attended in past years.

Indy Steel Club Concert
Sunday, June 26, 11:30 AM - ?
Greenwood American Legion
334 US Highway 31 S
Greenwood, Indiana (Google map)

Contact Sharon Denney at 317-535-9772 for more information.

The 8th Annual Canadian Steel Guitar Show will be presented in Alberta, Canada. This show has a fantastic lineup of players scheduled, including Smokey Fennell (Edmonton, AB), Doug Aman (Calgary, AB), Rob Anderson (Edmonton, AB), Bob Blair (Edmonton, AB), Al Brisco (Toronto, ON), Jeff & Gerry Bradshaw (Leslieville, AB), Jim Loessberg (Round Rock, TX), and the legendary Kayton Roberts (Nashville TN). Talk about a "cavalcade of stars"!

The show starts at 3 PM on Sunday, and is preceded Saturday night by a Classic Country Dance/Jam by the show's organizers in the same room.

Canadian Steel Guitar Show
Sunday, June 26, 3:00 - 9:00 PM
Kurt Browning Arena
5103 48 Avenue
Caroline, Alberta (Google map)
Admission: $25.00

Call 403-846-0049 for tickets or more information.

The Ohio Steel Guitar Association hosts a jam every month or two. It's a smoke and alcohol free event that's suitable for the whole family. Bring your own steel to join in or just sit and listen.

Ohio SGA June Jam
Sat June 25, 12 Noon to 6 PM
Lighthouse Ministries, rear annex
2295 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio (Google map)

For more information call Gary Preston at 614-774-3109.

Australian Steel Guitar Festival

The Brisbane Steel Guitar Club will host their big annual show this weekend, June 25 & 26. The event consists of a day of steel guitars in concert, followed by a day of learning, jamming and socializing. Saturday's concert starts at 2 PM and features many of the region's top players:
  • Kenny Kitching & Emma Hannah
  • Ivan Posa
  • Jim Priebe
  • Ken Myers
  • Noel Anstead
  • Nick O'Neil
  • Allen Hutchison
  • Paddy Long and Brian Ringrose
  • Pat and Rob with Murray Ardern
  • Ian Kerr
  • Allister McPherson
  • Tony Wagner
  • Bob Alloway
The festivities on Saturday will also include the Australian Steel Guitar Hall of Fame awards. Last year's recipients were Noel Anstead and Michel Rose.

Johan Lindström with Tonbruket

Some very good music is coming out of Sweden these days, in the form of an instrumental quartet named Tonbruket. The brainchild of jazz bassist Dan Berglund, this band runs the musical gamut from rock fusion to dreamy jazz soundscapes. Pedal steel fans will be interested in multi-instrumentalist Johan Lindström's role in the band. His steel guitar is featured prominently on their new album Dig It to the End.

Tonbruket's unclassifiable nature has been wowing critics since their inception in 2009. Ron Netsky, a reviewer at the 2011 Rochester International Jazz Festival, wrote yesterday in the Rochester City Newspaper:

Pedal Steel on Oxford Music Blog

First, name the player:

It's Gene Fields, of course. While working for Leo Fender, Gene invented the "scissors" changer finger that is the basis of modern all-pull pedal steel design. Gene went on to start GFI, a company that still makes top notch pedal steels today. He's a pioneer and a legend in the steel guitar industry.

I mention it because the photo was uncredited on the Oxford Music Blog's recent page about pedal steel. That's the only flaw in an otherwise very good article about their five favorite steel guitarists. It's a good read, if a bit controversial from our perspective. They include a video clip for each featured player to keep you entertained for a while.

Here's the link:

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there.

Dave Giegerich Tribute Concert

The following is from a post by Ted Smouse on the Steel Guitar Forum. Please visit www.DaveGiegerich.com for more information and a downloadable poster of the event.

There will be a tribute concert for the late Dave Giegerich this Sunday evening June 19th at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virgina. Dave was the band leader and Big Kahuna of The Hula Monsters, master of the Dobro resophonic guitar and non-pedal and pedal steel guitar. Also, one heck of a human being. Dave was also a member of East of Monroe and Out Behind The Barn.

This show will feature many of the artists Dave performed with over the years, stellar talent all, and is a fundraiser for the college fund for his two surviving sons, Carter and Axel. Sadly, Dave passed away December 29, 2010, of aplastic anemia at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

3701 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305

(703) 549-7500
Sunday, June 19, 2011
7:30 pm EDT

Live Concert CD- The Birchmere will be making and selling a board "tape" of the show in double CD format. The Birchmere tells us that these do very well and it's another way to make more $ for Dave’s family. We will also have Dave’s brand new CD "It’s About Time" (appropriately named) for sale.

Steel Jams This Weekend

There are two steel guitar jams happening this weekend, one near Oklahoma City on Saturday and the other in Branson, Missouri on Sunday.

The Oklahoma steel jam is at the Oklahoma Country Western Museum Hall of Fame in Del City, and it runs from 10 AM to 3 PM. Leroy Wood writes, "We have a full staff band with a pro front man, vocals, and MC. These guys know all the real country songs, and make any steel picker sound good." It's open to the public - everyone is invited to bring their steel guitar or just show up to listen.

Oklahoma City Area Steel Jam
Saturday June 18, 10 AM - 3 PM
Oklahoma Country Western Museum Hall of Fame
3925 Southeast 29th Street
Del City, OK (Google map)

The Branson jam is sponsored by the Ozark Steel Guitar Association. To get the flavor of the event, check out the photos of a previous jam on SteelGuitarForum.com. The OzSGA invites you to bring your own steel guitar to join in the fun. The event runs from 1 to 5 PM and it's free.

OzSGA bi-monthly jam
Sunday June 19, 1-5 PM
Branson Community Center
201 Compton Drive
Branson, MO (Google map)

Ben Keith's Legacy with Neil Young

Neil Young has just released music from his archives of the 1984-85 tours of the International Harvesters, to great reviews. Neil and steel guitarist Ben Keith (who died last year) waded through their recordings of 85 concerts to cherry-pick a dozen songs for this album. Their selections include 5 five previously unreleased songs.

The album, called A Treasure, features Ben on pedal steel, Rufus Thibodeaux on fiddle, Spooner Oldham and Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano, Tim Drummond and Joe Allen on bass, Anthony Crawford on mandolin & guitars and Karl Himmel on drums, among many others. Seems that the Nashville cats were happy to play with Neil, while the country music establishment flatly refused to market his music to country audiences.

Jim Cohen and Beats Walkin'

Many of us know Jim Cohen from steel guitar shows, where his sets of pop and jazz standards are always a big hit, or from his witty come-backs on the Steel Guitar Forum. Another side of his artistry is on display when he plays near his hometown of Philadephia, PA. Since 1994 he has been playing western swing dance gigs there with his band, Beats Walkin'. They have two CDs to their credit and a loyal following.

This week Jim and the band will play a Wednesday evening show at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Delaware. This summer concert series is great for the whole family, and it's "almost free" (there's a small fee per car to get into the park).

John Neff and Drive-By Truckers

Pedal steel guitarist John Neff is on the road again with Drive-By Truckers. John played steel on the band's early albums, and officially became a member in 2007. His unique approach to the instrument is an integral part of the Drive-By Truckers sound, often inspiring younger musicians to take up the instrument.

The band's schedule this season is hectic, playing a different venue almost every night. If you're a fan in Ontario or New York, you can catch them at one of these shows next week:

Sun Jun 12, Buffalo NY, Town Ballroom
Tue Jun 14, London Ontario, London Music Hall
Wed Jun 15, Toronto Ontario, Phoenix Theatre
Thu Jun 16, Waterloo Ontario, Starlight Club
Fri Jun 17, Ayton Ontario, Saugeen Summer Nights Festival
Sat Jun 18, Ottawa Ontario, Salon's Landsdowne Park
Sun Jun 19, Croton-on-Hudson NY, Clearwater Festival

Jim Loessberg, Bill Stafford at Georgia Peach Jam

The Georgia Steel Guitar Association (GaSGA) will be hosting Peach Jam XV in Atlanta this Sunday, June 12. This is actually more of a show than a jam - a dozen excellent steel guitarists will each play a half hour set with the GaSGA house band. Jim Loessberg and Bill Stafford are the featured guest artists.

Jim Loessberg is known for his jazz courses and, more recently, as Ray Price's steel guitarist. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things steel, as comfortable with bebop standards as he is with the signature steel licks of classic country records. Jim's home is near Austin, Texas.

Bill Stafford is from Gulfport, Mississippi. Known as Mr. Smooth by his fans, Bill specializes in sentimental standards on his 14-string universal tuning. It's a rich, beautiful style that you don't hear very often these days.

Gordon Titcomb in Chicago

Pedal steel guitarist Gordon Titcomb will be performing with folksinger Arlo Guthrie and others at Chicago Symphony Hall on Saturday. June 11. The show is called United Sounds of America: Route 66. It starts at 8 PM.

Gordon Titcomb is a consummate studio and concert musician who has backed many of America's top folk and country artists on pedal steel, banjo, mandolin and dobro. Here's a clip of Arlo Guthrie (guitar), Abe Guthrie (keyboard) and Gordon Titcomb (pedal steel) playing a beautiful Hawaiian instrumental, Haleiwa Farewell.

Susan Alcorn in Baltimore

Few pedal steel guitarists are as inventive or as controversial as Susan Alcorn. While she is clearly a virtuoso player, she just doesn't play by the rules. Her performances and compositions stretch the boundaries of music, from predefined ideas to the sounds of the moment. She surrounds herself with like-minded avant garde and free jazz musicians who play a variety of instruments. These folks play for today like there's no tomorrow.

This Sunday evening, Susan will perform at The Windup Space in Baltimore, Maryland, with trumpeter Dave Ballou and trombonist Christofer Varner. The venue has a reputation for jazz and experimental music, so you can expect the audience to be tuned into whatever Susan and company are cooking up. They are sharing the bill with the luminary jazz duo of Evan Parker and Matthew Shipp, whom many will see as the main attraction.

Louisville Metro Steel Guitar Club

Wimpy O’Steen, Boogie and Audie McQueary

The Louisville Metro Steel Guitar Club of Kentucky will have their monthly meeting next Sunday, June 12th, to accommodate Father's Day which falls on June 19th. This month's meeting will feature the pedal steel talents of Wimpy O’Steen and Audie McQueary, pictured above in a Photoshop composite.

Deepen Mallick's New Album of Tagore Songs

Indian steel guitarist Deepen Mallick has teamed with guitarist Tutul Ganguly to produce a new instrumental album. The album celebrates the 150th birthday of Bengali poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore, whose songs combined Indian classical and traditional folk music to bring a new dimension to Bengali music. The form, known as Rabindrasangeet, has become a distinctive school of music and cultural touchstone in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Bob Miano to play Landslide Saloon

Pedal steel guitarist Bob Miano will be tearing up some classic country in New Jersey this weekend. He's playing Friday and Saturday night with a band called Tied to the Trax at the Landslide Saloon in Asbury. I've heard that country music is rare in NJ. Here's a chance for local steel fans to hear a great player with an authentic honky tonk band.

Landslide Saloon
Fri June 3 & Sat June 4. 9:30p - 1:30a
1090 State Route 173
Asbury, New Jersey (Google map)

West Texas Steel Guitar Jam, Sunday June 5

The West Texas Steel Guitar Association gets together to jam every few months. Their next jam is this Sunday, June 5, at the Old Senior Citizens Building in Merkel, Texas. Larry Toliver is the host, and the music starts at about 1:30 PM. Some of the best steel pickers in Texas are likely to show up.

The WTSGA jams are family friendly and there is no charge to play or attend. They do have a donation bucket if you'd like to help with the expenses to keep things going. There will be soft drinks, snacks, and maybe even a birthday cake. Bring your steel and amp, or just your ears if you're shy about playing in public. If you have music gear to sell or trade, you're welcome to bring that too. I've heard that there are upwards of 100 people are showing up for these friendly jams.

Sunday, June 5, 1:30 PM
West Texas SGA Jam Session
Senior Center, 121 Edwards St.
"Downtown" Merkel, Texas (Google map)