Al Perkins records with Diesel Therapy
Al Perkins, he of the “Flying Burrito Brothers” and many more seminal Country Rock bands, has given us the ultimate compliment by playing on four of our tracks destined for the new Diesel Therapy CD.
Shortly before an appearance at Porters in Tynemouth, Danny approached Al about the possibility of playing on some of our new songs currently being recorded at Dave Maughan’s studio in Newcastle. Luckily for us Al agreed to listen to the songs and on Friday morning we picked him up from Colin and Celia’s house in Tynemouth and took him along with his pedal steel, lap steel and amp to the studio. What was to follow was one of the best musical experiences we have ever had.
After setting up and tuning everything he started the session by playing lap steel on “Memphis Moon”. This was done in the style of Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”, using harmonics and delay/reverb with astonishing taste and awareness. There is a line in the song “Check out some old slide guitar in a darkened room”. When Jim wrote that line he didn’t imagine that the slide would be played by one of our favourite session guitarists. What can we say?
Next up was “The Heel” a new guitar tune by Danny and named after a mountain in Scotland. Al played pedal steel on this up-tempo number and had us rolling around laughing at the sheer skill, tone and humour in his playing. Al plays with a lot of soul, not wasting notes, just complementing, underlining the songs. He can rip it up with the best of them though; witness his solo in “The Heel”.
We had finished the song “Rules of Life” some time ago. Adding pedal steel to the mix gave it an authenticity we love.
Finally Al added some delicious lap steel to “Catch Your Death” including a growling solo section. Watching him work was an education. For three and a half hours he sat in Dave’s tiny live room at his pedal steel, listening intently to everything. Not just to himself but also to our own guitar tracks, using the lyrics as markers for licks and fills.
Al Perkins is a Southern Gentleman, a man of God and a consummate musician. We thank him with all our hearts for playing on our tunes. We will never forget the day “Nashville” came to Newcastle. Special thanks to Colin and Celia, Ian and Carol at Smart Choice Music, Dave Maughan and his partner Gillian.