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
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: For McCoury, Grisman, music still matters
One condenser microphone, a music stand, a mandolin, rhythm guitar and more than 100 years of bluegrass experience: that's all David Grisman and Del McCoury need to put on a show.
It's quite a show, too. The artists' backstories are well known: McCoury was a logger in Lancaster County, Pa., who came to New York City to see Bill... »»»
Concert Review: Ely wears well
Joe Ely is the prototypical rambler. It comes through in his music and in his life. There are lots of elements in the music about travels, riding the rails, small town scenery and getting away from it.
In fact, after playing "I'm Gonna Strangle You Shorty" as the first song of his encore, Ely opined, "The only thing I got out of... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Since the inception of the Bottle Rockets in the early '90s. the three basic constants have been the presence of guitarist/vocalist/primary songwriter Brian Henneman and drummer Mark Ortmann, a relatively consistent output schedule and a steady stream of great reviews for those releases.... »»»
On the eve of the first new release by the Cox Family in nearly two decades, "Gone Like The Cotton," Sidney Cox reflects on the national media frenzy over "Back To The Future" and the date Michael J. Fox would materialize from 1985, and the parallels to his own family's story haven't escaped his notice.... »»»
The Statler Brothers were an iconic vocal group in country music. They began by backing Johnny Cash (not a bad early gig, for sure), and went on to win the CMA award for Vocal Group of the Year an astounding 8 years in a row between 1972 and 1980. The group is in both the country music and gospel music halls of fame and has won three Grammy Awards. Tenor Jimmy Fortune replaced Lew Dewitt in 1983, and continued with the group for 21 year... »»»