Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday music: If you don't love jazz, you hate America

Tonight, we feature an instrument not normally associated with jazz:  the steel guitar.  Played lap-style, with a steel bar that slides across the strings, you get a very different sound than a conventionally fretted guitar.  The steel guitar has its origins in Hawaii.  From Hawaiian music, it moved into country and bluegrass, although its association with the latter is in the form of the acoustic "dobro," which is actually a brand name from the company founded by the Dopyera Brothers (Do-Bro).  There are a few great virtuosos of the steel guitar in country music history, like Speedy West, but it was Buddy Emmons who pushed the instrument beyond traditional country music, both on his own, and in his work with musicians like Danny Gatton and Lenny Breau.  He even recorded an album of straight-ahead jazz, strangely spelling his name, "Buddie" rather than "Buddy."  Here's a clip of some jazz played on a steel guitar.

All of which is to say that Hawaii is a fucking state, and it's all American music.

Just sayin'.

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