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Sacred Steel Link:

Sacred Steel

Recorded Live at the Second Sacred Steel Convention

2002, Arhoolie

Album coverWhen you put searing, passionate pedal steel guitar, heart-felt fervent vocals together with a belief inspired by an impassioned religious belief, you have the ingredients for music that ascends far beyond any work that is missing the crucial heart component for inspiration. The music and playing here transcends the disc made at the first convention (which was a choice for disc of the year). The playing and singing, if anything, are more powerful, and come through with more feeling. We are introduced here to the talents of Lisa Lang, the first woman showcased on the pedal steel guitar at this event. She more than holds her own with the men. Robert Randolph, who is making a big name for himself in the secular music world (a number one disc on the Billboard blues charts) is heard here playing his 13 string steel with The Family Band. The group features his cousins Marcus Randolph on drums and Danyel Morgan on vocals and bass, and rips it up with an inspired version of “You’ve Got To Move.” Dan Tyack and Chuck Campbell pair up for a truly stunning version of “Amazing Grace,” that keeps building and pushing the limits of the song until the tension created seems about to burst and then pushs it that one step more to explode the depth of the song. The sound quality is consistently high and there is not a weak cut on the disc. Chris Strachwitz is to be commended for this 9th edition in the Sacred Steel catalogue. From the opening notes to the closing strains it is a shear joy to hear. Whether you are into gospel, blues, rock n’ roll, or just a fan of music that is played exceptionally well and heartfelt, this is a disc that should not be missed. Incendiary is the characterizing word for this disc.—Bob Gottlieb

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