The Campbell Brothers present Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocal. This tradition is just now emerging from the House of God Keith Dominion Church, where for over sixty years it has been an integral part of worship and a vital, if little known, American tradition. As the music moves from sanctuary to concert hall -- including the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Symphony Space -- secular audiences are now able to appreciate a performance both devoted and rocking.
Recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship, pedal steel guitarist Chuck Campbell and his lap steel-playing brother Darick are two of the finest in this tradition. Rounding out the band, which has been playing together for nearly two decades, is a high-energy rhythm section featuring brother Phil Campbell on electric guitar and his son Carlton on drums with Daric Bennet on Bass.
The Campbell Brothers present a compelling, rich variety of material from the African-American Holiness-Pentecostal repertoire with a new twist: the growling, wailing, shouting, singing and swinging voice of the steel guitar, played as you have never heard it played before.
· "Best U.S. Gospel Instrumentalists of the Year," Fourth Annual Real Blues Awards, 1997
· “Best Gospel Album,” Indie Awards, 2002
· National Heritage Fellowship, 2004
Critics are raving about the group's debut album on Arhoolie:
"This man (Chuck) is the Jimi Hendrix and the Django Reinhardt of the steel guitar...this CD is bound to be an award winner and possibly the biggest seller Arhoolie's ever had. Six hallelujahs for a mandatory purchase."
---Andy Grigg, Real Blue
"The Campbell Brothers play music that until recently was heard only in gospel churches, with pedal steel guitar lines swooping skyward like a gospel shouter; two Campbell brothers trade off leads, carrying the songs to peak after peak."
---Jon Pareles, The New York Times
Charles “Chuck” Campbell
Recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship, Chuck Campbell began playing the lap steel guitar at the age of 12. At 17 he became the first player to utilize the pedal steel guitar in the House of God Church, Keith Dominion. He is renowned for his innovative approach to the instrument, both technically and musically. His use of effects such as distortion and wah-wah pedal and his picking techniques enable him to emulate the human voice in an uncanny fashion, evoking images of gospel moaning and field singing.
"...Chuck steals the show with his pedal steel. The instrument's extra strings, pedals and levers open up a universe of sounds that simply can't be reached on any other kind of guitar, and this man is a master.“
---Jim DeKoster, Living Blues
Darick first made his musical mark as a drummer, and for several years was the premier drummer of the General Assembly, the National Convocation of the House Of God Church, held in Nashville. His choice of the lap steel is a reflection of the influences he has blended to become the most emotional player of The Campbell Brothers’ musical tour de force. His renditions of “End of My Journey” have caused audiences throughout the world to weep in heartfelt response to his playing. However it is argued that his most definitive work is his solo playing on “The Storm is Passing Over.” Darick fills the added role of vocal leader on the Campbell Brothers’ call-and-response favorite “What’s His Name?” In marked contrast to the pin-drop rapture of audiences to “End Of My Journey,” the raucous spontaneity of “What’s His Name?” has left the Campbell Brothers’ audiences dancing on a spiritual high.
Phil Campbell began life as a drummer but quickly proceeded to the instrument on which he is arguably most accomplished, the bass guitar. It was on the bass that Phil began to explore the many genres that form his eclectic musical personality. As his self-taught explorations took him into bass chord harmonics and figures, Phil began to play other instruments such as keyboards and guitar. These led to chordal progressions that would express his melodic tastes and further complement the Sacred Steel playing of his brothers. Because of its ability to drive the music, guitar became his weapon of choice. Phil now combines the rhythmic attributes of the guitar with MIDI guitar synthesis to create a unique stylistic blend, which perfectly complements the Brothers’ steels across all genres into which they venture.
As drummer, Carl Campbell is the heartbeat of the Campbell Brothers. He and his father Phil form the rhythmic foundation upon which The Campbell Brothers’ soulful gospel is built. Formally trained in jazz and band percussion, Carlton has been able to assimilate the classic principles of drumming with his improvisational upbringing in church to formulate a style that always sets and locks the right groove. Carlton continues to stretch his boundaries by studying the Sacred Steel tradition on his own Fender String Master lap steel as he pursues his dream of being a “Campbell Brother.”
At the age of 10 years old, Daric picked up his first bass. As a child growing up, Daric always had an interest in music. Daric's father, who is an accomplished Steel guitar player, was the one to encourage him to play the bass guitar. Being surrounded by musicians in his family and also growing up in the church, Daric has a firm foundation and background in music. He began to teach himself in his beginner years then quickly advanced in his playing when he started studying music theory in junior high. He plays all sorts of genres but has studied mostly jazz and classical throughout his high school and college years. Daric now tours regularly with the Campbell Brothers and other various groups. He has played on numerous albums and countless live performances that mark his professional career