Most people think of the steel guitar as an instrument associated with country music — from country rock and pop to alt-country. But there's another style of steel playing that dates back to African-American Pentecostal churches of the 1930s, when a handful of congregations began using steel guitars in place of organs.
Once confined to a small region, this highly vocal style of playing has grown over the decades, encompassing blues, rock and soul. The style reached peak popularity with The Slide Brothers' protégé, Robert Randolph, who produced the group's most recent album.
The band's highly electrified and near-seamless blend of gospel and blues rock prompted host Larry Groce to remind the audience that "Mountain Stage is located halfway between the church and the bar." Aubrey Ghent and Calvin Cooke play guitar, with Levi Bennett on drums and AJ Miles on bass.