Do you feel somehow special, being a steel guitar player? I kinda thought I was special, after honing my musicianship to a razor sharp level that enabled me to play the Opry and do sessions and work with major artists. Hell, I always thought Hal Rugg and Buddy Emmons were somehow special people, and I mean special in the broadest terms, in that they occupied a prestigious, esteemed sector of the world at large.
But, as it turns out, Hal and Buddy and I are just like everyone else when we’re at Kroger or the Post Office or getting pulled over for speeding. Nobody cares that we play steel guitar. Just being in a band will sometimes engender free drinks or invites to a party, but that’s not because you’re a steel player, it’s just because you’re in the band.
Most artists aren’t especially impressed by you, if you can play something close to what was on their records, and most other musicians are more concerned about what they’re playing than what you’re playing.
But on the upside, steel guitar show attendees (some miniscule percentage of the population) think we all have something going for us that the rest of the world doesn’t. And I did meet a steel guitar groupie once.