The Campbell Brothers present Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocal.
"There's a thinking side to what we do...
How am I treating my fellow man?
How am I living?
Am I doing the right things in life?"
The Campbell Brothers present
Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocal. This tradition is just now emerging from the House of God Keith Dominion Church, where for over sixty years it has been an integral part of worship and a vital, if little known, American tradition. As the music moves from sanctuary to concert hall -- including the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Symphony Space -- secular audiences are now able to appreciate a performance both devoted and rocking.
Pedal steel guitarist Chuck Campbell and his lap steel-playing brother Darick are two of the finest in this tradition. Rounding out the band, which has been playing together for nearly two decades, is a high-energy rhythm section featuring brother Phil Campbell on electric guitar and his son Carlton on drums. Katie Jackson's classic, gutsy gospel vocals bring the ensemble to a level of energy and expression that defies description.
The Campbell Brothers present
a compelling, rich variety of material
from the African-American Holiness-Pentecostal repertoire with a new twist: the growling, wailing, shouting, singing and swinging voice of the steel guitar, played as you have never heard it
Chuck Campbell began playing the lap steel guitar at the age of 12. At the age of 17 he became one of the first players to utilize the Pedal Steel guitar in the House of God Church, Keith Dominion. Chuck is renowned for his innovative approach to the instrument both technically and musically. His use of effects such as distortion, and wah pedal and his picking techniques enable him to emulate the human voice in an uncanny fashion, which evokes images of gospel moaning and field singing. Early in his career Chuck became recognized for becoming the first steel player to be accomplished in the Sacred Steel styles of Calvin Cooke, Ted Beard and Henry Nelson when most steel players could only play in one! Chuck's inventive blending of those methods along with his ground breaking use of complex chords and fast picking formed the musical style which is the most emulated among young Sacred Steel players today. More of Chuck's technical prowess is displayed in his role as producer and primary engineer on the new Campbell Brothers' discs, Sacred Steel On Tour and Sacred Steel For the Holidays.
Darick Campbell first made his mark in music as a drummer. For several years Darick was the premier drummer of the General Assembly, the National Convocation of the House Of God Church in Nashville, Tennessee. His choice of the Lap Steel is a reflection of the influences he has blended to become the most emotional player of The Campbell Brothers musical tour d' force. His renditions of End of My Journey have caused audiences throughout the world to weep in heartfelt response to his playing. However it is argued that his most definitive work was his solo work on The Storm is Passing Over. Darick brings the added dimension of being the vocal leader on the Campbell Brothers' What's His Name? In marked contrast to the pin drop rapture of audiences to End Of My Journey, the raucous spontaneity of What's His Name? have left Campbell Brothers' audiences everywhere dancing on a spiritual high.
Phillip Campbell began life as a drummer but quickly proceeded to the instrument which is arguably his most accomplished, the bass guitar. It was on the bass that Phil began to explore the many genres which form his eclectic musical personality. As his self-taught explorations took him into bass chord harmonics and figures, Phil began to look at the other instruments which lent themselves to chordal progressions which would express his melodic tastes and further compliment the Sacred Steel playing of his brothers. The guitar became the weapon of choice because of its ability to drive the music. Phil now combines the rhythmic attributes of the guitar with MIDI guitar synthesis to bring a unique stylistic blend, which perfectly compliments the Steels across all genres into which they venture. Phil's work as a songwriter has also been recognized. His song, Breakthrough, has been published in Germany for an upcoming Gospel compilation CD.
Drummer Carl Campbell is the heartbeat of the Campbell Brothers. Carl and dad, Phil, form the rhythmic foundation upon which The Campbell Brothers soulful Gospel is built. Formally trained in Jazz and Band Percussion, Carlton has been able to assimilate the classic rudiments of drumming with his improvisational upbringing in Church to formulate a style which always finds itself in the groove. Carlton continues to stretch his boundaries by studying the Sacred Steel tradition on his own double neck Fender String Master as he pursues his dream of being a "Campbell Brother".
Even though Denise Brown is a cousin of the Campbell Brothers there isn't any nepotism at work here. Silky smooth is the most commonly used description of this outstanding vocalist's singing. Her renditions of Don't Let The Devil Ride have garnered ovations across the United States, Europe and Africa. However her favorite song, The Storm Is Passing Over, has become an audience favorite as well. As she continues to develop her style and push her artistic boundaries, look for Denise's work to become even more compelling than it is today.
The fact that Katie Jackson is a part of the Campbell Brothers is the result of unbelievably good fortune. She just happened to be "available" when the Campbell Brothers asked her to be the Vocalist on their critically acclaimed Pass Me Not disc. Indeed Katie Jackson has shared the stage with some of Gospel's most famous singers, including Mahalia Jackson (no relation) and is well renowned throughout the Eastern United States for performances she has given in numerous venues. As a vocalist in the House of God Church, she has been the keynote performer for countless conferences and occasions for more than two decades. In Europe, Katie's acapella renditions have amazed audiences and critics alike. Her powerful vocals underscore the term "Command Performance."
Diversity might be the best the word to describe Malcolm Kirby Jr.'s adaptive musical persona. After spending two years at Manhattan School of Music, Malcolm finished his bachelors in jazz performance at the Eastman School of Music. Soon after college, Malcolm and long time friend Jim Martin created the music production company known as 456, joined the Campbell Brothers, was playing with the Respect Sextet, and was working fulltime as a freelance bass player. Malcolm's wide range of musical interests are apparent in his body of work; classically trained, jazz bassist, hip-production/mixing for Shady/Aftermath "The Game", commercial t.v. work for Vogue/Mercedes-Benz/GMC/Bravo, pop-dance remixing for Duran Duran/Britney Spears, and mixing/mastering a violin and koto duo album for the classical label Naxos. Malcolm has worked professionally as a musician, private teacher, as well as serving many roles in the studio environment; engineer, producer, ProTools operator, and session musician. As a professional musician he has performed and recorded with many great musicians such as Fred Wesley, Marcus Printup, Shelly Berg, Steve Gadd, John Medeski, The Campbell Brothers, Ben Monder, Clay Jenkins, Toshi Nagai, Jon Faddis, Robben Ford, Derek Trucks, Sonny Landreth, Respect Sextet, and many others. As a co-founder of 456 Productions, he has done work for Fox TV, ESPN, VH1, Warner Brothers, Jive Records, MTV, Electronic Arts, and many others.
"4th Annual Real Blues Awards: Best U.S. Gospel Instrumentalist of the Year"
-Real Blues Magazine
"This CD stands as the best of Arhoolie's latest series of sacred steel guitar sessions."
-Dan Ouellette, Downbeat, May 1998
"Truly magnificent and moving. This disc is the most dynamic and talent- laden of all of the sacred steel discs so far on Arhoolie..."
-Andy Grigg, Real Blues
"...different from anything you've ever heard... essential listening for anyone interested in blues guitar."
-Jim DeKoster, Living Blues
"The Campbells create a unique, steel-guitar-driven gospel music called "sacred steel" that's every bit as earth-shattering as Johnson's music was in the '30s. It's a soul-stirring blend of gospel and the power and volume of electric blues and rock, a sound as hot as brimstone that kicks holy butt. It's also shredding perceptions of country's signature instrument and the limitations of church music."
-National Public Radio
"Our mission is share our tradition of music and praise and to realize the versatility and expressive potential of the steel guitar."
FOLKLORE PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL