Volume 26 # 6 July 1999
Steelin' For Hearts Jamboree
annual Steelin' for Hearts Jam occurred on Sunday, April 18, 1999.
There was a great turnout of players and fans at Latela's Corral
in Jessup, MD.
The typical Steel
Guitar Show article is generally a chronological listing of Players,
with an equipment list and a song title or two for each picker.
I am not sure I can be quite so detailed but I will try to give
an overall impression of a fun day of great music and steel guitar
There is nothing
I know of that is like a Steel Guitar Jam. Pickers with skill
levels from talented amateur to seasoned professional all gathered
in a room, joined in the common bond of the love of the sound
of steel guitar. A wide variety of steel guitar styles were displayed,
from pure non-pedal Hawaiian to modern Pedal Steel, classic Honky
Tonk to subtle Pop Music interpretations. And with three Steel
Guitar Hall of Fame members on the bill how could we not have
a great time?
(Bobby Edenton, Herby Wallace, myself) performed a number in
tribute to the late Jimmy Day during their sets, whether a tune
associated with Jimmy or just performed "in the spirit"
of Day's soulful style of playing.
from Virginia kicked the show off in style with a sharp set of
country and swing instrumentals. Clean picking and a great tone.
I'd never heard him, but would definitely go out of my way to
hear him pick again!
Next up was a
long time friend of Buddy Charleton, Johnny Dutton. He came up
from Texas for a visit with Buddy and the show. He had that unique
"Texas feel" in his playing, call it country soul. Must
be something in the water down there. His guitar was a one-of-a-kind
prototype "Edge." Apparently the builder died before
going into full-scale production.
I played next,
performing with MIDI accompaniment as I often do. My debut on
my ZumSteel Universal 12 in a room full of steel pickers was nerve
jangling, but my set was received warmly by the crowd, even my
Pop experiments such as "Teddy Bear's Picnic" in 5/4.
and stalwart Dean Black performed next. Even after moving from
the DC area to Myrtle Beach, SC, where he now plays full time,
Dean has kept the Steelin' For Hearts Jam going in tribute to
event founder Sonny Hunley. It is one of the few Steel Shows I
know of with a charity focus, with proceeds donated to the Heart
Transplant Foundation, Inc. (of which Sonny was a beneficiary).
Dean always "kicks it" with his sets, with great arrangements
and prodigious speed and technique. He also doubles on a guitar/steel
hybrid similar to Junior Brown's guit-steel, but based on a Melobar.
A regular at
Steel shows across the country, Leonard T. Zinn, who also played
rhythm guitar for the other steelers, played his customarily fine
set, drawing on his rich history of steel guitar experience. Why
Leonard is not yet in the Hall of Fame is a question asked after
The Hula Monsters,
with resophonic and non-pedal whiz Dave Giegerich, displayed their
talents on Hawaiian and Swing numbers, and were joined by former
Lost Planet Airman Telecaster-slinger Bill Kirchen and Dean Black
on Pedal Steel for a rockin' set of "Deisel-billy."
Kirchen's patented arrangement of "Hot Rod Lincoln"
with musical asides in tribute to a multitude of guitar and steel
pickers, really "kicked it up a notch."
performed an outstanding set with a crisp delivery. He is truly
one of the finest pickers around, and can "do it all"
with seeming ease, from slow C&W to fat-chord Jazz to the
fastest picking on up tempo numbers. DeWitt "Scotty"
Scott joined Herby for a duet, and then Hall of Fame member Scotty
played a beautiful set of Hawaiian and country classics on his
vintage Rickenbacher "fry-pan."
We were very
pleased to have in attendance Weldon Myrick, also a Hall of Famer.
The Opry veteran played a set laced with anecdotes and self effacing
humor. His tone was one of the high points of the day, fat and
attention commanding. His instrumental version of the Connie Smith/Bill
Anderson classic "Once a Day" seemed to me to beg for
a second steel to play the "fills" Weldon played on
the record while he played the melody, or vice versa.
each year for our show is the presence of Steel Guitar Legend,
Former Texas Troubadour, teacher, and Hall of Famer Buddy Charleton,
who is now "local" to Virginia. Buddy is in great health
and high spirits, and it was a joy to hear him in action on his
new Legrande III with his fine band .
The day ended
with a Jam: Bobby Edenton, Weldon Myrick, Herby Wallace, Leonard
T. Zinn, Dean Black and Buddy Charleton played several numbers.
Of particular note was "Release Me". On the out-chorus,
at Buddy's instigation, all six steels played the melody in unison
or close harmony- an angelic choir of steel! What a way to end
As always our
sound crew John Vengrouskie and Mike Rivers kept things humming,
and our staff band gave a marathon of stellar accompanying performances,
most notably Gantt Kushner on guitar, guest bassist George Hyde
and Jerry Holmes on fiddle.
Also in attendance
but not performing were Mike Auldridge, resophonic and steel-picker
for Chesapeake, and several members of the on-line Steel Guitar
Forum (http://www.b0b.com/forum/) who gathered for a meet and
greet with photo opportunity.
For more pictures
and a sound byte of "Release Me" those of you with Internet
access may visit my website at http://www.pond.com/~vanallen/
and click on the Steelin' For Hearts link.
Bobby Edenton: Emmons P/P, Peavey
Johnny Dutton: Edge! Pedal Steel
Dave Van Allen; ZumSteel Universal, Fender Vibrolux, MIDI Tracks
Dean Black; Legrande; Peavey, MIDI interface
Leonard T. Zinn; MSA
Dave Giegerich; Fender Custom D8
Bill Kirchen; Telecaster
Herby Wallace; Mullen D10
Scotty; Rick Fry Pan
Weldon Myrick; Legrande III
Buddy Charleton; Legrande III
Gantt Kushner, Guitar
Leonard T. Zinn, Guitar
Jerry Holmes, Fiddle
Cliff Martin, Drums
Don Moore, Bass
George Hyde, Bass
copyright 1999 David Van Allen
from Volume 26 issue #6 of the Pedal Steel Newsletter by permission
Pedal Steel Guitar Association Inc. P.O. Box 20248, Floral Park,
Web Page: www.psga.org"