For Fans Of: Sam Gendel, Benny Bock, John Carroll Kirby, Alabaster Deplume, Resavoir
In-demand pedal steel player & improvisor Rich Hinman shares his new single “Buddy,” a simple, hymn-like piece, created as a one-take improvisation on the pedal steel guitar. For Rich, it recalls the great Buddy Emmons, as well as traditional Celtic music.
The original direction for “Buddy” was just “let’s do a pedal steel piece.” Like nearly everything on the record, the tune arrived fully-formed in a one-take improvisation that I fleshed out with some pump organ. All the swirling emotion in it was apparently lurking somewhere under the surface! After the fact it made me think of the Buddy Emmons tune “Blue Jade” in its simplicity, and also the countless Celtic tunes I’ve heard over the years from my partner, the great fiddler Jenna Moynihan.
In addition to “Buddy”, Rich Hinman also just released a new album, Memorial, via Colorfield Records.
Memorial from Rich Hinman came together in a way unlike anything the pedal steel guitarist has ever worked on. Frequently featured on other artists’ records (including work with k.d. lang, Sara Bareilles, Maren Morris, and Emily King), he has developed a knack for taking a track and enhancing what’s already there. “It’s about bringing out more color, and presenting songs in the best possible light,” Hinman says.
Memorial features collaborations with several of Hinman’s peers — including Grammy-nominated drummer Mark Guiliana, bassist David Piltch, keyboardist Benny Bock, saxophonist Daniel Rotem, and the Section Quartet string quartet. Min recommended Brad Allen Williams — another Colorfield artist — as the arranger for Hinman’s challenging composition “The Raising of a Large Barn.” Says Hinman, “He somehow made it both lush and jagged at the same time.”
It captures a particular moment in time for Hinman as an artist — straying from the comfort of methods that have served him in the past, yet retaining the high level of connectivity and self-expression that he has become known for in his work. “This music was created with minimal forethought,” he says, “without the confining structures of a band, or any preconceived notion of what a ‘song’ is.”
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.