Around the same time that the Hawaiian steel guitar was finding its place in Western swing, Willie Eason and his brother were trying it out as a substitute for the organ in the African-American House of God Church. In country music, it morphed into keening pedal steel, but, as sacred steel, it got fiery. Three generations in, Easons nephew Aubrey Ghent is recognized both inside and outside the church as one of the finest players of the instrument. Living Blues magazine named him Outstanding Musician for Lap Steel last year. Nowadays, Ghents a local and, along with his wife Lori, leads a gospel-and-blues jam band with a taste for traditional material, rounded out by organ, bass and drums. Thinking of sacred steel as a stand-in for the organ didnt last. In Ghents hands, the guitar sounds a lot more like an ecstatic, moaning human voice than an organ, anyhow.
Fri., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2009