Hello fellow players,
Here I go. I’m a little disappointed at the intolerance of some people that people that claim to be steel guitar fans. Scotty just emailed me and said that he had been approached by folks that said they weren’t coming back to the big steel guitar convention in the future because there wasn’t enough country music being played by steel players on the show.
I personally think that people that love steel guitar ought to love steel guitar regardless of what style music the steel guitar is playing. If they play hard old pop, jazz or country, it’s all still steel guitar.
Scotty does a steel guitar show and has never billed it as a country music show. If Scotty billed it as a country music show, I could almost understand folks being let down when Doug Jernigan played The Theme From Moulin Rouge, Herby Wallace played Theme From Dr. Zhivago or Randy Beavers played Chopin’s Minuet in Eb Minor.
Many people complain year after year that the steel players always play the same old songs. Who cares? It’s still steel guitar, isn’t it?
If all of us play Please Release Me, it’s gonna sound different by everybody because we all play differently. I don’t sound like Doug Jernigan. I don’t sound like Buddy Emmons. I don’t sound like Randall Curry. And when I play instrumentals, I don’t wanna sound like anybody but me. The material is just a conveyer of our individual styles and thoughts.
If you want to hear the song the way it was written, then go somewhere besides a steel guitar show to hear it. I love steel guitar and want to hear everything it can do, not just a rehashed copy of Buddy Emmons playing Way To Survive.
Give Scotty a break. This man has done as much for steel guitar as anybody living in my opinion, plus being a wonderful guy and has to put up with a bunch of sniveling steel fans just because they don’t think the songs were played country enough.
Many years ago I knew a well known steel guitar guy from Louisiana who built cases and packaseats tell me that he didn’t want to do any more shows because the steel players all played the same old country song.
I said, “Good. Then stay away.”
Now I’m hearing about this again. I love to hear steel guitar, however I also love to hear it progress in its abilities throughout time. There is more to steel guitar than what was going on in 1955, even though I am still a great fan of the way it was played in those days. I’m a fan of steel guitar and that means all steel guitar, then and now.
I watched Pink Floyd on television last Sunday doing a very nice, tasteful rock n roll concert live in New York City. There were three steel guitars on their stage. I listened to the whole concert because of the steel guitars. Naturally with me being a full time professional steel guitarist for over fifty years, I was not dazzled by any of the playing anymore than I was by Jerry Garcia and many other overly simplistic players thoughout my life.
As for Pink Floyd however, they were steel guitars and what they played overall added great beauty to the songs they played onstage. I love steel guitar with that band. The only thing wrong is I’m not working with them. I’ve had my days in that limelight, loved them, but again steel guitar can be beautiful no matter who is playing it or how experienced they are as long as it is thoughtfully blended into great music.
B.J. Cole with Elton John played very, very simply on Tiny Dancer, but even to this day when the song comes on my car radio, I always pull off the side of the road and stop and listen to what tasteful steel guitar has done for Elton John and that incredible orchestra.
To hear people say that they don’t want to go to the steel guitar convention again because they can’t hear Your Cheatin’ Heart or Pick Me Up On Your Way Down is ludicrous. Scotty is a very smart man and could’ve used his intelligence that God gave him to make a very good living over the past many years instead of being a steel guitar player and promoter, but I think we are all very lucky to have had him dedicate his entire life to us steel players so that we can enjoy our living or just hobby as much as we have.
Yes, Scotty is in the Hall of Fame and if anybody deserves to be there, I feel he does. So what I’m doing here is begging each one of you guys that read this to just type him out a minimum of three words if not more to Dewitt Scott at Scotty’s Music and thank him for the life he has spent to make us all happy with the instrument we all love so much. The three words … Thank you, Scotty.
He does not know that I’m doing this newsletter, however things just set me off once in awhile, like people that say they won’t support steel guitar or his show because we don’t play enough country music even though I personally love it.
Steel guitar is one of the most beautiful instruments in the world no matter what its playing, Chopsticks or Streets of Laredo. It’s wonderful regardless if it’s played by Don Warden, Don Helms, Curly Chalker or Doug Jernigan. I love it all and cannot understand everyone not loving every part of it.
So next time you hear a jazzy little tidbit on steel guitar, just remember steel guitar can play everything. Don’t get mad at it when it does. God bless you all. I hope you had a merry Thanksgiving.
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Hendersonville, TN. 37075
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