“Will The Circle Be Unbroken” : Banjo, Steel Guitar And A Word About Robert Hunter

The last couple of weeks I have been watching the Ken Burns documentary “Country Music” on PBS (go here to stream all eight episodes – https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/country-music/). Tracing it’s beginnings from the 1920’s through to 1996, it’s an excellent introduction to the genre. As a music geek I have what I think is a okay familiarity with country music and it’s various sub-genres but I definitely learned a thing or two. It made me want to check out a bunch of different artists and specific records. Being a music geek who’s into instrumental music, I’ve also have been checking out instrumental country music records which I plan on talking about in a future post.

In the meantime I wanted to share a some interesting videos about two instruments that are forever linked to country music, the banjo and the pedal steel guitar. The first video features Noam Pikelny, of the Punch Brothers, discussing the evolution of banjo styles.

Three Bluegrass Banjo Styles Explained –


The next two videos deal with that beast of an instrument, the pedal steel guitar. The first one is by working Nashville musician, Jim Lill and the second is by Steve Fishell who plays with Emmylou Harris.

How To Play Pedal Steel Guitar (Lesson For Guitarists/Beginners) –

Steve Fishell explains how pedal steel guitar works –


Finally, I want to say a few words on the death of Robert Hunter, best known as the primarily lyricist for the Grateful Dead. His lyrics created a universe filled with characters that would be familiar to a country music fan. Cowboys, gamblers and people who are just trying to survive hard times. Hunter created these characters with deft lyrical touches. He will be missed.

Robert Hunter – “Ripple” / September 18, 2013 / Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

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Posted in Classic Rock, Grateful Dead, Jam Band, Music Appreciation and Analysis
One comment on ““Will The Circle Be Unbroken” : Banjo, Steel Guitar And A Word About Robert Hunter
  1. […] my previous post, I was talking about the Ken Burns documentary “Country Music” on PBS (see https://roymusicusa.com/2019/09/28/will-the-circle-be-unbroken-banjo-steel-guitar-and-a-word-about-r…). While I generally thought it to be excellent there were a few minor quibbles, namely the omission […]

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