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Andy Hall & Roosevelt Collier

Let the Steel Play – 2017 (Dustypicks Music)

Reviewed by Fred Frawley

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CDs by Andy Hall & Roosevelt Collier

Steel guitar can prompt many visceral responses. Gutty, aspirational, down and dirty. Few musicians grab the essence of the sound, so when two collaborate on a single release, it's cause for attention. Roosevelt Collier and Andy Hall have been playing their respective instruments, variations on the steel theme, for many years, but first played together seriously on a music cruise in 2012. Collier and Hall, a few years later, found time to put "Let The Steel Play" together in a session or two, and they have now released it for their audience to share.

Collier hails from Miami and is a master of the lap steel guitar. He plays with the Lee Boys, a six-piece "sacred steel" group and has stepped out on his own in more secular venues, even sitting in with The Allman Brothers for dates before they called it quits. Hall, now based in Colorado, helps front The Infamous Stringdusters, the proto-bluegrass band with a well-deserved reputation for the energy and inventiveness of their live shows. Hall wields a resonator guitar on stage.

The selections here encourage these two to air out their talents. There's familiarity on a track or two (" This Little Light of Mine" and "Reuben's Train"), but the originals which Collier and Hall worked up amply demonstrate their shared excitement in playing off one another. Hall plays a Beard Mahogany Belle Beard Model Resonator Guitar on most of the tracks, and Collier's weapon of choice is an Asher Electro Hawaiian Lap Steel, The contrast in tones is startling: Collier commands the bottom groove, in many cases, whilst Hall reaches for higher ranges. Their interplay makes this record fascinating to listen to.

To bring the pot to a full boil, Hall and Collier bring in Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, who has his own Merideth Resonator, for the closing track "Colfax Boogie"

"Let The Steel Play" giving depth and meaning to the notion of joyful noise.