Pedal steel guitar is a stringed instrument that often receives no respect in relation to New Age music in part because the instrument is often classified in the Country and Hawaiian music scene only, but believe me the ground rules have changed and is primarily due to one man.
Bruce Kaphan from California has taken petal string guitar to a whole new level in New Age music for years, making this instrumental transition not only a surprising one but a dazzling one, giving even music purists a reason to love pedal steel guitar with his earlier release Slider and now Hybrid. The reason behind his new adaptation in an otherwise strict classification was pretty much the colorful sound quality it provides and a love of exploratory music.
What many find interesting is that Bruce Kaphan began his early career as a studio technician, engineer and producer for many highly recognized artists in other genres, where he either played a role with the recording production of their album or performed with artists such as REM, Jewel, The Black Crowes, Thomas Dolby, John Lee Hooker and many others. During his early days in San Francisco he was a member of Indie / Alternative band American Music Club and his music has been featured on film scores and television broadcasts.
Hybrid is an album with 12 original song compositions by Bruce Kaphan who makes it crystal clear right from first track Pohaka La that you are listening to a unique composite of exotic blending with unrivaled clarity freshly harvested from another cross section in the vast field of music and it quickly becomes apparent this new emerging beauty will remain a lasting entity.
Pedal steel guitar just happens to be the prominent instrument in Hybrid and a natural selection too after listening to songs like Gleaming Towers, Legacy, Silenzi & Renewal, which breaks new ground by classifying the instrument as a main entry melody contender versus a mere supporting instrument.
There are songs like the piano enhanced Maya and guitar renditions in Senbazuru & Loops for Larry displayed in a new manner and show the instrument as an appealing choice while clearing a new path during improvisation in light ambience while reproducing a well conceived follow up for his Slider – Ambient Excursions for Pedal Steel Guitar 2000 release.
In an age where hybrids in all shapes and forms are becoming more relevant daily, Hybrid seems like a true natural contender when placed side by side among more traditional New Age albums and the lighter exploratory metrical patterns of Jazz, Hawaiian and Country in Hybrid are a prized natural attraction that shows well beside other music forms while earning the respect it deserves.
Bruce enlisted numerous artists on this album including, Jake Shimabukuro, Jeffrey Wash, Kent Darnielle, Salar Nader, Matt Brubeck, Real Vocal String Quartet, David Immerglück, John Loose, Paul Olguin and Karl Perazzo and Real Vocal String Quartet that is featured in Okanagan Jubilee.
Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – nsilcock.