Legends of the Incredible Lap Steel Guitar
The lap steel guitar is a close relative to the pedal steel, whose bourbon-laced shadings once marked certain songs as “country”—this being before country was neutered by Nashville scientists into a horrid abomination called suburb and western. The lap steel is a more variegated musical condiment, one whose tonal flavorings can range from weed-choked rural blues to breezy Hawaiian-style serenades, stormy Spanish filigrees, the hillbilly equivalent of Charlie Parker’s alto sax arabesques, or the chromium sheen of industrial cool. (Think Santo & Johnny’s immortal “Sleepwalk.”) Though there are few vocals on this contemporary collection’s 14 tracks, there’s plenty of singing; a steel guitar played well is an intensely lyrical instrument. Culled here are cuts by such giants as Herb Remington and Bobbe Seymour, more modern players like Bob Brozman and Greg Leisz, and plenty more. Can you dig?