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Infamous String Dusters’ steel player Andy Hall has teamed up with his buddy, Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) to share their mutual love of the steel guitar. Hall plays a 1929 National Style 2 Square Tricone and a Beard Mahogany Belle Beard Resonator guitar, and a Bear Creek Koa Weisenborn style guitar on “The Darkest Hour”. Collier plays an Asher Electro Hawaiian lap steel and Meredith Mahogany Maple Resonator guitar on “Singing Steel” and “Colfax Boogie”; the latter also features guest picker Anders Beck on Meredith Mahogany Resonator guitar.
The album title Let The Steel Play (produced by John Macy (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Los Lobos etc) alone gives more than a hint of what the listener can expect as the boys run off five covers backed by five originals. While it could be argued the listener does have different nuances to savour I still feel there’s a need for another player or two to drop by occasionally. Placing this observation to one side the music is peerless as they perform stellar versions of “This Little Light Of Mine” and smoky toned “Reuben’s Train” plus “Power In The Blood” (made to measure for this kind of duo, and with it given a jaunty beat it breaks up the music perfectly) to go with Collier’s moody, and utterly compelling “The Darkest Hour”. Such is the feeling of the boys playing they would be hard pressed to come up with a more appropriate title.
Both are touted pickers. Collier who was born into the sacred steel idiom first met Hall in 2012 on a Jam cruise, and they have stayed in touch ever since. Playing together when time allows an album together was a given. “Singing Steel” has all the hallmarks of what is good about the respective instruments, when played by such stellar craftsmen. They make the strings really pop. The latter is likewise is steeped in similar attributes. I found the added swagger most addictive, and with the likes of their artful cover of Robert Hunter – Jerry Garcia’s “Crazy Fingers” also up there fans of the genre, have plenty to droll over. Although swing tune “Maiden's Prayer” made less impact than anticipated.
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