Mike interviewed by Andy Volk

[In 2018, I was approached to do an interview with Andy Volk, author of ‘Lap Steel Guitar’ and numerous other steel guitar books [Volk Media Books website] for a guitar publication. We had a pleasant conversation and Andy went on to write this piece which, unfortunately, never made it to publication. Andy was kind enough to share it with me, so I am proud to share it with you. Thanks, Andy!]

By Andy Volk

The sound of the steel guitar is deeply ingrained across a broad spectrum of American music. The first commercial electric instruments were non-pedal steel guitars (or lap steels), yet it still remains something of a cult instrument. Perhaps that’s because its learning curve is so steep.

Like learning the violin, in learning to play steel guitar well, you have to pass through hell on your way to heaven. It takes a lot of practice to deal with intonation on a fretless instrument. Add in blocking, making sure you control which notes sound and which are muted, and you have a bit of a hill to climb. The rewards is that on the other side, you have that sound – that superb, voice-like, liquid sound where notes and chords ring out and meld in such beautiful and exciting musical colors. That’s why more and more guitarists are adding lap steel to their skill set.

Mike Neer is one of their leading inspirations. New Jersey-based Neer is one of the players creating a significant buzz in the steel guitar community and beyond for his musicality and technical control of the instrument. His 2016 CD “Steelonious” reimagined the music of Thelonious Monk as a non-pedal-steel-centric universe where jazz was filtered through Hawaiian, lounge, blues, Western Swing and New Orleans R&B. music. Neer’s long history playing R&B and jazz guitar infuses his steel playing with some surprising twists and turns. ****** sat down with Mike to talk about his journey with the lap steel.
Read more…Mike Neer Interview by Andy Volk

1 Comment

  1. Got to you from a New Yorker article about Clinesmith. I’m a guitar player and jazz student who is fortunate enough to have a Bakelite Rick. I spent some time with an African American saxophonist named Robert Little who was from Chicago. He told me his dad had been a steel guitar player. Also there’s a little steel guitar on some Earl Hooker records. Anyway greetings you’re awesome thanks for making a record of Monk tunes!

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