Sign up for newsletter
 

Pedal steel player Ben Keith dies at 73

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – Ben Keith, a longtime sideman to Neil Young on pedal steel, died at age 73.

Keith died of a heart attack while on Young's northern California ranch, according to the Los Angeles Times. Young mentioned Keith's death during a concert July 26 in Winnipeg, Canada.

Keith played on Patsy Cline's I Fall to Pieces.

He was born in Fort Riley, Kansas in 1937 and became a session player in Nashville for many years. Among those he played with live or in the studio were Emmylou Harris Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Waylon Jennings, Ringo Starr and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Keith produced Jewel's 1995 debut, "Pieces of You."

Keith met Young in 1971 during work on his "Harvest" recording because Young needed a pedal steel player. Keith played on more than a dozen albums and tours with Young.

Neil Young News, a blog dedicated to Young, said "Legend has it that Neil asked bassist Tim Drummond if he knew any pedal-steel players in town. Tim contacted Ben, who lived in town and off he went to the studio: "I didn't know who anyone was, so I asked, who's that guy over there?" and was told "that's Neil Young".

More news for Neil Young

CD reviews for Neil Young

Americana CD review - Americana
It is understandable that fans might anticipate a stripped-down, acoustic guitar-driven affair with plenty of harmonica when they learn that Neil Young's new album is largely a collection of traditional American folk songs. But then you throw in the fact that Young is backed by the powerhouse rock trio Crazy Horse for the first time in nine years, and those expectations go straight out the window. Young generally recruits the talents of Crazy Horse's three members - Ralph Molina, »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Lowe gets on with tour – Nick Lowe made reference to the downer that's been a most unfortunate part of his Quality Holiday Revenue, not exactly the time of year when music, particularly of the holiday variety, should be sad. But veteran British keyboardist Ian McLagan, who was slated to open the tour, died of a stroke as the tour was opening two weeks ago.... »»»
Concert Review: Romano makes sad songs sound good – Daniel Romano perhaps couldn't help himself in commanding the stage. After all, he was only up on the small stage accompanied by his backing band, The Trilliums, consisting of a fellow acoustic guitarist and a pedal steel player. So, you knew this was not going to be an ear splitting gig unless the band was pounding it - and they did not.... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Fullbright writes the "Songs" John Fullbright didn' grow up around musicians or like-minded songwriters in his little hometown of Bearden, Okla. You'd never know it, though, from his raw, stark, pure and honest songwriting that's drawn comparisons to Townes Van Zandt. His debut album, "From the Ground Up," was nominated for a 2013 Grammy as the Best Americana Album, catapulting him into the company of Bonnie Raitt, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers and The Avett Brothers.... »»»
Book dishes on guys writing the songs Jake Brown can't stop writing about music. Over the past 10 years, he's published 35 books, ranging from "Rick Rubin: In the Studio" and "Suge Knight: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Death Row Records" to "Heart: In the Studio." In 2012, he won the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards in the category of Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.... »»»
Finally, Skaggs and White duet Perhaps there are few more beloved names in the world of country and bluegrass music than Ricky Skaggs and his wife Sharon of the country music family act The Whites. The two have been close friends since their teenage years through music, first meeting at a festival where White was performing with her father Buck White and sister Cheryl, and Skaggs was playing with Keith Whitley.... »»»