• Andy Shearer

Day 59 - An Introduction To The Pedal Steel Guitar

The high, lonesome sound of the pedal steel guitar is the sonic signature of country music but little is known about how this unique - and uniquely complicated - instrument works, even among dedicated fans of the genre.


Stuart Nisbet, steel player for The Proclaimers, Justin Currie, Phil Cunningham, The Felsons and Lau, amongst many others, helps demystify the instrument a little in this short video.

"I’d been up all night drinking on the tour bus going through the desert from San Diego to Phoenix . As the sun came up, I went and sat down the front with the driver, who was listening to Don Williams on the radio. Suddenly I understood pedal steel. Or so I thought.

Before the sky fell in, I was lucky enough to play guitar and steel with (and learn from) some amazing musicians and producers – Pete Wingfield, Edwyn Collins and Chris Kimsey with The Proclaimers – Clive Langer and Walter Becker with China Crisis, Mark Freegard with Justin Currie, and Tony Visconti and Martin Rushent with a band you’ve never heard of. I wish I could remember even a tenth of it.

I moved from Edinburgh to Perth after I’d been the music director for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (ahem), in no small part because of my wonderful experiences here as house band leader at Southern Fried over a few years, where I was utterly in my element, especially with Cyndi Cain and the divine McCrary Sisters. Inspiration in every sense.

I’m currently in the best band I’ve ever been in – Jessie Buckley’s band from the Wild Rose film. She’s an amazing singer, and I get to work with the brilliant Ben Nicholls, Neill MacColl, and Sian Monaghan. " Stuart Nisbet


Together Again – Buck Owens featuring Jay McDonald on pedal steel:


The Other Woman - Ray Price featuring Buddy Emmons:


Robert Randolph talks about his unique gospel-inspired pedal steel style;


I Can't Be Myself When I'm With You - Vince Gill featuring Paul Franklin:


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