Hello fans and fellow players,
Well we are getting our first nice hot days of summer, however according to the calendar, it’s still winter. As long as it gives us a jump on playing steel all over the northern hemisphere, it’s fine with me.
Hearing good steel is a definite pleasure no matter how old you get and how far away from it you’ve been. There’s something magic about playing one of your first jobs of the year with a great band that you pretty well like everybody in.
The steel guitar season should be starting about now. If you’ve been watching television throughout the winter you’ve seen a lot of steel guitar being played in country, alternative country and rock and by little networks like RFD out of Branson, Missouri and of course, The Grand Ole Uproar out of Nashville, Tennessee.
It sure looks like steel guitar is a long way from dying. I remember being a little kid and never seeing steel on television. I sure do remember hearing a lot of steel guitar on records. There is a little store in Norfolk when I was growing up that sold 45 RPM records for 25 cents apiece and I would buy any record they had as long as it just had a little bit of steel on it.
I bought artists that were big at the time but are obscure now like Charlene Arthur, Diana Trask and Hawkshaw Hawkins. I even heard my first Jean Shepard record and bought it there. She was singing with Ferlin Husky a song called Dear John.
I personally feel that Jean has blessed us all with one of the greatest female voices in country music. I know she feels that God has blessed her with that voice that sounds like it does. What a girl! She’s had many great steel guitarists working for her over the years, even including myself as well as players such as Ralph Mooney, Bud Isaacs, Speedy West and many more Hall of Fame members.
So even back many years ago, there were places to buy country music records to learn steel guitar from. A quarter was a lot of money back in those days. One quarter would fill up the gas tank on my Vespa scooter which was good for nearly 100 miles if I didn’t run it too hard. With gasoline prices today and the mileage my muscle cars get, it costs me a small fortune to get around the block.
I kind of laugh now thinking back to my first few months in Nashville. My competition in steel guitar were all driving little Volkswagon bugs and getting 36 – 45 miles per gallon and I was driving a ’67 427 Corvette probably getting 12 -14 miles per gallon. But I still won’t buy a Prius.
I just got an interesting phone call from Smiley Roberts. Smiley is a pretty darn great musician with a sense of humor to match. I remember working television shows and being in the staff band here in Nashville and he would guest with Tommy Overstreet, The Compton Brothers or whoever he was working with at the time.
He did such a good job as a wild sideman. It was on one of these shows that I met Kris Kristofferson. Kris has holes in the bottom of his shoes that he has stuffed paper in on break thinking nobody would know how poor he was. I remember buying a candy bar while on break at the TV station. It was a Mounds bar and had the cardboard in the bottom under the candy.
I asked Kris if he wanted part of the candy bar. He said, “Yeah. I want the cardboard.”
I ate the candy and gave him the cardboard which he immediately but in the shoe. We hit it off real well. After this, I worked with him on many award shows out of Nashville and would go over to Mickey Newberry’s house when Kris Kristofferson was visiting. We’d talk for hours with me injecting my humor everywhere I could into the conversation which somehow ended up in some of those guys songs.
Think I got any money for it? No, but I had a lot of fun and I did get to be put on master recordings with Mickey.
Nowadays, I’m sure there are a lot of stores that stock old recordings that I’m on like a place called The Great Escape here in Nashville. So I guess kids can run out and buy records on cassette tapes and CDs like I used to buy vinyl when I was a kid. Amazing how things go in a full circle.
Of course, we also have hundreds of CDs here at Steel Guitar Nashville loaded with steel that we can make you extremely good deals on. Just call me and trust me to load you up with some good ones. Ten song CDs for $6 apiece. This is an even better deal when I was a kid.
Here at Steel Guitar Nashville, business is good, however as you must guess, trying to run a full service steel guitar store is not the easiest thing in the world and you may say I’m doing it for all of us. So don’t let me down, let me continue to be your main source for steel guitar supplies and remember how much I appreciate it and love you.
Check out our monthly specials at www.steelguitar.net/monthlyspecials.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.
Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday