Here are some videos of professional pedal steel players that capture important elements of pedal steel music, sounds, playing, or techniques…
I have never found a video better than this one, that demonstrates the true capabilities of this instrument in the hands of a master. In particular, Emmons shows that a pedal steel can hold it’s own without supporting instrumentation. How many steel players in the world can entertain an audience with just their steel?
Another one, a young Buddy Emmons (around 28 years old) having some fun. This one has a great view of his bar and picking hands…look at how relaxed they are. Buddy said that towards the end of his career, his picking hand would be almost vertical (top of hand facing right) when resting on the strings. You can see his hand hinting at this in this video.
If Jerry Byrd was the master of touch and tone, then Greg Leisz is a modern equivalent. There aren’t many players that can make so much sound, out of something so simple, at just the right time. I love Greg’s approach to “textural” playing. He creates a great atmosphere within songs, while still having the ability to get down and dirty when the song calls for it.
This video is a great demonstration of the big sound he gets, from playing such smooth stuff. His volume pedal technique is some of the best in the world. This is one of thousands of sessions he’s done over the years.
Here’s a more modern approach on the pedal steel, which Greg is good at. This is him playing with Daft Punk in the studio. He has a great ability to add tasteful pedal steel to music that usually isn’t associated with this instrument.
Not only is Paul an amazingly talented player, he also has a great drive and work-ethic. I love his approach to playing; he has a big heart, you can just tell from his music. Here is a video of him that displays just how much pedals and knee levers can do to make the pedal steel cry.
Paul can shred it with the best of them too. Here his solo starts close to 1:11 mark.