Duane is the kind of guitar player that whether you know it or not, has had an influence on you! Anyone who’s ever tried to play a little “twang” on their lower strings, or who tried to play a great and haunting melody on a guitar instrumental really owes a debt of gratitude to the “twang of that Guitar Man!” His instrumental hits of the late ‘Fifties and early ‘Sixties had a great effect on the sound of instrumental guitar, and his influence is still felt, even today.
Back in 1982 or ’83, Guitar Player Magazine had published an article about me, and featured a soundpage in that issue that had me playing many styles, especially my “pedal-steel” style bending, as well as some slide guitar. One day, soon after that, I get a call from none other than Mr. Eddy himself, who just couldn’t believe what he was hearing! He said he had never heard string bending like that, especially just done with the fingers, and he wanted to get together and do some playing! Well, I was certainly “over the moon” about this…I mean, I get a call from a guitar super-hero, who changed music itself, wanting to know how I do what I do, and wanting to get together!
Well one thing led to another, and before you know it, we were not only friends, but he had me join him on his tour opening up for Huey Lewis and the News in America. It was a great thrill, as well, because the other half of the tour, my spot was held down by the great Albert Lee, a personal friend of mine, and another guitarist I greatly admire. The tour was fabulous, (except for me falling 15 feet off the ramp when I went into the darkness at the end of the last “jam” of the tour”), and it was a chance to also play with many incredible players in the band, such as Larry Knechtal (Bread), and the great sax player, Steve Douglas.
About seven years after that, I was coming to Nashville to finish my first “Toolin’ Around” album, and I suggested that Duane do one of the duets on it with me. The others were Brian Setzer, Jerry Douglas, Duke Robillard, Sam Bush, Albert Lee and Danny Gatton! Of course, Duane obliged, and I wrote a very specific tune for him called “Black Water”, that was my vision of a late-night Nashville “twangy” blues that I thought would fit his style and mine perfectly! And it sure did…and we had a blast doing it, too! A little section of it can be seen on YouTube, and I’m hoping to be able to re-release this cd later this year!