Ben Keith 1937-2010
Photo by Danny Clinch
Pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith passed away yesterday in Northern California. Keith first gained national renown in 1961 when he performed on Patsy Cline’s song “I Fall to Pieces.” Ten years later when Neil Young was recording Harvest in Keith’s home base of Nashville, Keith joined the sessions, beginning a relationship that continued to the present, as Keith was in the midst of spending time at Young’s home working on new material. Keith was a particularly animated presence in the concert film Neil Young Trunk Show directed by Jonathan Demme, which capture Young’s tour in 2007-08 with Keith, bass player Rick Rosas and drummer Ralph Molina. Keith also recently logged some dates with Young’s wife Pegi as she toured in support of her latest disc, Foul Deeds. The pedal steel player was born in 1937, enjoyed a career that also saw him perform and record with Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, David Crosby, Jewel and many others.