A New Age of Pedal Steel Dawns in Luke Schneider’s ‘Anteludium’ [Fresh Vid]

"Altar of Harmony" out May 15th! Preorder at https://thirdmanstore.com/altar-of-harmony-standard-black-vinyl

"ANTELUDIUM" OUT NOW: https://orcd.co/anteludium

Director - Ben Chappell

Colorist - Jimmy Cadena

Special thanks Kodak Film Lab Atlanta

Follow:

https://www.instagram.com/lukefromnashville/

https://www.facebook.com/lukefromnashville

The history of new age music from south of the Mason-Dixon line is largely a secret one. But the south is where we find one of the genre's most important distributors —New Leaf, in Kentucky, some of its most accomplished synthesists — Don Robertson, Geoffrey Newhall, William Linton, amongst others, and acoustic musicians like PC Davidoff and George Tortorelli. It is the home of countless spiritual retreats, intentional communities, and other signifiers of alternative spiritual life.

But until now, there have never been any particular regional characteristics that can be assigned to southern new age music. Until now, there has never been any crossover between country and new age.

And so —all of the sounds heard on this album were made with a 1967 Emmons Push/Pull pedal steel guitar in Nashville, Tennessee.

This recording, which can justifiably be described as "new age" in the most essential sense, represents a radical new approach to the versatile and cosmic instrument of the steel guitar. The closest antecedents may be sculptural sounds of Francesco's Cosmic Beam, or Constance Demby's Sonic Steel Space Bass. But unlike these invented instruments, the pedal steel is steeped in tradition. This is something new under the sun, a total reinvention of an iconic instrument. Quite literally, there has never been anything else quite like it.

But more than a mere piece of invention —Altar Of Harmony is extraordinarily cinematic, an epic musical devotional to higher realms —booming music of the spheres. Regardless of its origins, the expression unmistakable. This is the sound of Valhalla, of heaven, planetary alignment, of total eclipse. This is the sound of an angelic army roaring into battle. This is the heavy metal thunder of the future we were promised. Music for the end of the world. At very least, music of transformation. Sunset on the old way of life, sunrise on the new.

Luke Schneider was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1980. He was named after Paul Newman's character in the film Cool Hand Luke. He cut his teeth playing with artists like Margo Price, William Tyler, and Caitlin Rose. A popular session player, he has, at the age of 40, taken the extraordinary step of transforming himself into a solo artist, the main attraction. Third Man Records put out a new age album. Play this record to find out why.

-Douglas Mcgowan

#StayHome #WithMe

(C) 2019 Third Man Records

Over the past two decades, Luke Schneider has been an MVP of the Nashville music scene. He was a member of Aughts-era post-rock outfit Character. More recently, you've seen and/or heard his stellar contributions to a heap of local bands and records — working with folks like Margo Price, Caitlin Rose, William Tyler, Natural Child and Teddy and the Rough Riders — as a style-expanding pedal-steel guitarist.  

Back in June, he made his debut as a solo artist with material from a forthcoming album called Altar of Harmony, whose release date hadn't yet been determined. Now, word has come that the LP will be released May 8 via Jack White's Third Man Records. If you haven't caught Schneider playing solo (perhaps opening for Lambchop at Drkmttr in December), you might be surprised to learn about the ambient, New Age-inspired nature of his music.

Either way, you're in for a treat via the above music video for the Altar of Harmony track "Anteludium," the title of which is the Latin equivalent of "overture." Directed by Ben Chappell, the images flow with the music. The piece rests on a cloud of pulsing harmony, shot through with soft-edged melodies like rays of light. The picture shifts from calm, gentle images from nature to shots of Schneider coaxing tones from his pedal steel on set — both in front of his custom LED light panels and surrounded by candles. 

Schneider doesn't have any local dates on the books at the moment; he's on the road as a member of Orville Peck's band, and provided that COVID-19 doesn't interfere, you'll be able to see them at Bonnaroo. Check in with your favorite local record store or visit the Third Man site to preorder the album, and see this link for pre-saving on your streaming service of choice.

Like what you read?


Click here to make a contribution to the Scene and support local journalism!