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“Together Again” as told by a Pedal Steel Guitar

April 20, 2019 by Dawn Jackson

Its a rainy mid-April Saturday with a lingering chill taking one last desperate swing at Spring. Not feeling a run today. By the look of him stretched across the bed, I’m pretty sure Hank isn’t either. I hunker down, crank up the fire in my cozy li’l North Georgia cabin and find my way to Zane King videos, searching for voids or gaps to fill in with a lap steel lick here and there. 

I get to “Together Again” and quickly learn there are, for good reason, none. And it would be wrong on so many levels to even try. I put the lap steel down, turn up the volume on the Genelecs and close my eyes. Its like watching a movie. Now, if you’ve never heard a pedal steel guitar tell a story, just push play and follow along. She has all the lines.

:03 She slowly inhales as the door opens and
:10 throws a lazy and easy-breezy haven’t seen you in a while but who cares look your way. How’s it going, good.
:30 She composedly walks through the door as pleasantry exchanges and chit chat continue.
:55 She crosses the room and cracks the window; takes her coat off and tosses it on the chair; agrees to a drink; toasts to the good ol days; begins to seem moderately interested in catching up.
1:20 The conversation gradually becomes more tensive and pleading.
Around 1:42 her aloofness begins to turn disquiet, until at
2:07 She resolves that She is so glad and relieved…finally Together Again.
She caves and admits around
2:19 “I’ve totally and completely missed you”.
2:36 “O-M-G I can’t believe how long its been and how much I’ve missed you.”
2:45 Passionate kisses with a trail of I love you’s.
2:49 A little more fussing…”don’t ever leave me again”..
3:00 She starts to settle back down, begins to collect herself; pushes her hair out of her face; bites her lip; closes her eyes.
3:17 She’s still doing a little fussing, but smiles.
3:26 One more kiss. 
3:31 She slowly exhales.

What a great story. That’s what a pedal steel guitar does. She whispers and cries and yells and fusses and reprimands and gives thanks and shouts praises. She tells her side of the story with honesty and confidence and intensity and rawness. I can feel her torment and rapid change of emotions as easily as I can my own.

Notice the way Zane King approaches, attacks, releases and confidently controls the strings and pedals. He dances with her. He pays attention to her responses and reacts accordingly. He begs a little and She gives, then begs back, and he gives. A graceful tango.

Her creation was methodical and painstaking. A unique body, color and voice, she is a rare piece of art. She is temperamental and complicated and executes most kind when handled and treated with respect, devotion and adoration. She demands attention. Given it, she will sing to you unlike anything else. She’s the most beautiful instrument I know.

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