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Episode 53 - Greg Leisz

Music Makers and Soul Shakers

In March of 2016, I'll be releasing a weekly podcast that delves into the lives, careers and studio experiences of musicians, music producers, and even a few music biz-types who have been involved in excellent music. Some will be artists you recognize, others will be the musicians behind the scenes you may not be aware of, but each one has a great story to tell and brings a perspective to great music that will be of interest to music fans of all kinds. Stay tuned here and subscribe if you'd like to hear each episode as it gets released starting in March!

Episode 53 - Greg Leisz

steve dawson

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My guest this week is the incredible pedal steel, guitar, mandolin, dobro player Greg Leisz. The word "ubiquitous" is usually placed in front of Leisz's name. With good reason -- the man's resumé is daunting, boasting spots with Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, Peter Case, Paul Westerberg, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Victoria Williams, Joe Cocker, Dave Alvin, k.d. lang, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, and the Ventures...to name a few. Not to be pigeonholed in just roots music, Leisz has also played with the likes of Beck, Matthew Sweet, Bad Religion, the Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent and Brian Wilson. Greg's inspired playing on many of Bill Frisell's projects form the last 15 years is what made me want to play the steel. Leisz spent his younger years catching acts like the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers in Southern California clubs. Part of his universal appeal -- which certainly draws on the experimental nature of those influences -- comes from an open-minded approach to lap and pedal steel, an approach that casts aside Nashville references. Leisz is also somewhat of a stylistic chameleon: You can't pin down a distinctive style for him because he chooses to serve and accompany a song rather than place his mark on it. His creativity and open-mindedness as a musician have allowed him a genre roving usually not accorded renowned steel players. Enjoy my conversation with Greg Leisz, and please subscribe to the podcast for free on iTunes!