I’ve been playing pedal steel guitar for the last 30 years. I started playing lap steel guitar at the age of 7, learning Hawaiian and Traditional music, and graduated to the pedal steel guitar at age 21, playing blues, pop, rock, and country western music professionally starting in 1980. I was always fascinated with jazz and in 1981, encouraged by friends, began jazz studies on my own and later at a university. Since 1998, I have been playing jazz in a duo or trio setting at restaurants and coffee houses around the greater Seattle area.
Extended Background Story
I started steel guitar lessons at the age of 7. It was the encouragement of my parents that got me started. In fact they encouraged all of their children to play music. I studied with a number of teachers, learning traditional songs and Hawaiian songs by the “Oahu” teaching series. We played at music festivals that were especially geared toward helping children with the challenge of performing before an audience.
By the age of 20, my interest in the steel guitar had slightly dwindled, as my interests were leading me toward rock guitar. Then a revelation happened. A friend told me that there was a guy in town that was playing rock music on pedal steel guitar. And not just any rock music. He was playing Jeff Beck’s “Blue Wind” on pedal steel. I just had to go see this guy, and so I did. His name was Don Davis, and I was extremely impressed, to say the least. He had it going on. Not only did he play his own exquisite style of pedal steel guitar, he was an excellent vocalist and band leader.
What was even more interesting to me, is that he also was a teacher. I signed up for lessons that very night. I thought that since I had been already playing lap steel for a number of years, it would be simply a matter of continuing on the path that I was already on.
Wow was I in for a surprise! Read More...