Hello fans and fellow players,
It’s not often that a steel guitar instrumental makes headlines in Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper, but it does happen and it happened to one of nicest guys you’ll ever want to run into, Mike Daly. So Mike is going to be our guest newsletter writer today.
For those who don’t already know Mike, he has been with Hank Jr. for the last 18 years along with recording three albums with Texas icon Pat Green. He was also the Dobro player on the Hayseed Dixie album “A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC” which sold 100,000 copies.
Previous to working with Hank Jr. Mike was a member of the Gibson/Miller Band and recorded two albums for Sony Music in ’93 and ’94, “Where There’s Smoke” and “Red White And Blue Collar”. At this point I’m turning it over to Mike.
The story behind my album getting in the newspaper is that Peter Cooper was introduced to the album through Lloyd Green. I had gone to Pacific International Music Studio on 18th Avenue to give an advance copy of the album to my friend, producer and engineer Mike Flanders. Mike had been very helpful in maintaining the direction of the album and I wanted him to have the first advance copy.
When I walked in, Lloyd Green had just completed a session and was tearing down his steel. I gave Mike his copy and Lloyd asked, “What have you got there?”
After listening to four songs he said, “I want to take this album home and digest it.”
The next morning Lloyd emailed me and was very complimentary on the CD and really understood what it was about. He contacted Peter Cooper who in turn thought the music was worthy of an article. And that’s how I ended up in the Nashville newspapers.
What I tried to do with this album was showcase the broad range of music that could be made with the steel guitar. I do sessions downtown all the time and I see guitars player come in with ten guitars and five different amplifiers so they can create numerous tracks that all have their own voice and color.
However, steel guitar is usually relegated to a single track with the tone of the steel guitar being what you would expect. We don’t get to experiment around. When producers call you to a session, that’s what they’re looking for in a steel guitar track.
But I’ve been around a studio long enough to know that a steel guitar is capable of a much broader palette of tones and colors than most people have been exposed to. Throughout this album I tried to showcase everything the steel guitar is capable of.
There is no guitar player on this album, yet you will hear many layers of guitar like tones that are all produced on the steel through different techniques. Like guitar players, I used multiple guitars and a variety of tube amplifiers. The guitars were a 1993 Emmons LeGrande, a 1973 Pro II Sho-Bud and a Show Pro Russ Pahl Jr. model with two pickups on it’s single neck which provided the solo for “Frankenstein”.
I employed a collection of Fender amplifiers, a Ken Fox 212 Twin copy and a Peavey Ranger 212. The important thing I want to note is that these were all tube amps as opposed to solid state which most steel players gravitate to. For my purposes, the tubes respond better to tonal coloring and have a warmer, richer, thicker sound.
To give you a more detailed insight into my recording process, let’s talk about “Colour My World”, a song by the group Chicago. The arpeggiated piano part that opens the song was played on the Emmons through a DeLuxe with slight chorusing. I didn’t use any finger picks or thumb pick to attain a darker, warmer tone.
The next sound you hear will be whole note pads using a flanger in conjunction with a tremolo. I wanted to create pads that would be more ethereal and leave room for the melody line to speak.
The melody was played Dobro style on a Les Paul through the DeLuxe using a G Dobro slide tuning. The final solo utilized the Sho-Bud running through a Fender Twin and a plate reverb to complete the song with a sweet country sound.
When Bobbe heard this album, he graciously offered to let me write this newsletter to inform people about my record and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Bobbe has always been very supportive of my approach to the steel, even to the point of employing me at Steel Guitar Nashville in 1988 and helping me survive through my first year in the Nashville community.
I just want to publicly thank Bobbe for all he’s done for me throughout my career in Nashville.
Thanks for your time,
Note from Bobbe: You can order Mike’s CD from Steel Guitar Nashville. It’s down at the bottom of the page at www.steelguitar.net/cds.html
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