Dave Easley – Byways Of The Moon (Vinyl LP)

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Description

*This is a Vinyl LP*

Release Date:  2021

Label:  Big Ego

 

Track List

Side A

1. Jesus Maria 09:21
2. Giant Steps 03:35
3. My Foolish Heart 07:10

Side B

1.Battle of Evermore 07:17
2.Ruby, My Dear 09:36
3.In A Silent Way / In My Room 05:23

 

Personnel

Dave Easley – pedal steel guitar
Cathlene Pineda – Wurlitzer electric piano
Chad Taylor – drums
Dave Tranchina – double bass

 

Notes

Dave Easley plays the pedal steel guitar, but this is not a “pedal steel guitar” album; it’s an album by a gifted musician at the peak of his career. His phrasing, sense of touch, harmonic sensibilities, and sheer virtuosity put him in a league with greatest musicians of our time. So I won’t go into how difficult an instrument to play the pedal steel guitar can be or the extraordinary coordination and control is takes to play chords with a light touch. I’ll talk about the album and the music.

I had heard about Dave Easley playing with Brian Blade in the early nineties and over the years. Whenever I encountered New Orleans musicians, the first thing they would say to me (a fellow steel guitarist) was always, “Have you heard Dave Easley?”, but I hadn’t. I finally had that opportunity in 2012 at the International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis in a rather sterile environment, a convention and a hotel that had seen better days. I played in the main ballroom where half the audience left during the first song and Dave was playing in a conference room to fifty or sixty rapt steel guitarists hanging on to every note. I walked in just as Dave said, “People say you should play from your roots, but what if your roots are in the sky?” and lit into Roger McGuinn’s “Eight Miles High”. It was a revelation.

The pedal steel guitar, an infant in the family of instruments, is an enigma. Perhaps the last musical instrument borne of the mechanical age before the beeps, blips, and cold comforts of electronic music, it is one of the most expressive instruments on the planet and one of the least understood: a neck of anywhere from 8 to 14 strings, a set of pedals for the feet, knee levers and inside the guitar, a Rube Goldberg contraption, a Mondrian painting, a cluster of rods, levers, cogs, and springs to enable the pedals change the tension and thus the pitch.

Like all instruments, the pedal steel guitar has unlimited musical possibilities, but unlike most other instruments, these possibilities have barely scratched the surface. In the right hands, an instrument leaves an indelible mark on the styles of music it touches. This is what Dave Easley has done for jazz — and for everything else he has played. We came up listening to Buddy Emmons, Curly Chalker, and Joaquin Murphy. Now another name can be added to that pantheon.

There is plenty to love in this album – the lyricism displayed on “My Foolish Heart” and “Ruby My Dear”, a version of “In a Silent Way” that Brian Wilson would love and an interpretation of “In My Room” that I think Miles Davis would have approved of; and, of course, John Coltrane’s formidable composition “Giant Steps”. The deft and tasteful ensemble-like accompaniment of drummer Chad Taylor and double bassist Dave Tranchina. Cathlene Pineda’s piano rhapsodic solo on “Jesus Maria” and more. This is one of the very few albums by a pedal steel guitarist that simply takes my breath away, and I, as surely will you, will treasure this record, returning to it again and again through the years, each time discovering something new. – Susan Alcorn, Baltimore, Maryland

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