Neil Flanz Home Page

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Neil and his Sho~Bud Pedal Steel - Photo from his Album Cover
"Neil Flanz And His Nashville Steel"

Bud's Bounce
Steelin' After Hours
Danny Boy
Panhandle Rag
Steel Guitar Rag
Boot Hill Drag
B. Bowman Hop
For Pete's Sake
Steelin' the Blues
Harbor Lights
 

Neil  recorded his first album
 in 1962 on the 
Trans-Canada label.



 
 
Photo from his album "Get On The Star Route"
Neil Flanz
with his stereo Emmons
Pedal Steel Guitar
1964
Neil received endorsements from Sho~Bud & Emmons 
to play their Steel Guitars.
Star Route
B. Bowman Hop
Jonesey
Red Skin Rag
Steeling Home
The Preacher
A Falling Star
Boot Hill Rag
Bells Of St. Mary
Texas Playboy Rag
When They Ring Those Golden Bells
Southern Sunday
 
Neil's inspiration came from Buddy Emmons, Jimmy Day and Buddy Charleton.  It was from listening to recordings by the talented Mr. Emmons that Neil acquired his ambition to master this difficult instrument.  In fact, Neil plays an Emmons Stereo Steel, manufactured for select professionals by Emmons Guitar Manufacturing firm in Graham, North Carolina.  Neil gives great credit to both Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons for their encouragement and help, 
which he says has continued.



 
 
Neil's Career - World Renowned For His Steel Guitar
Neil started playing his music when he was seventeen years old and living in Montreal. As a child during the summer months he would live in the country about 30 miles north of Montreal and spent a lot of his time listening  on an old wind up Victrola to Jimmie Rodgers, Wilf Carter and many different country and Hawaiian records his uncle had. He also listened to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights on an old battery operated radio. Neil heard and loved this unique sound without knowing there was such an instrument called a steel guitar. On his 13th birthday his parents bought him a flat top guitar and being unable to get the sound he had heard, he finally realized that it was an instrument called the steel guitar that was creating this sound. He soon progressed to playing a lap steel. Eventually Neil got a double neck Fender Stringmaster. After hearing a new song called "Slowly" by Webb Pierce he nearly hit the ceiling going absolutely berserk at the sound of Bud Issacs playing what he later learned was a steel guitar that had a pedal that bent the strings which at the time was called a tone changer and produced a sound unlike any steel guitar had ever done before. A steel guitarist George Essery in Montreal had built his own steel with pedals and Neil approached George to modify his steel and put a single pedal on it. It was kind of crude but it did the job and produced the Bud Issacs sound that revolutionised the steel guitar and was the beginning of the multi pedal Nashville sounding steel guitar.  Neil, like so many others fell in love with that sound. Neil's first job was playing for Cowboy Jack, an artist from Montreal who had several hit country music records in French. Neil worked around Montreal for the next few years. During that time he bought a new eight string double neck Sho-Bud. He kept up with the times and soon bought a double neck nine and later a double neck ten string Sho-Bud. It was  the original double neck 8 string Sho-Bud playing the sweet sounds we hear on his first album "Neil Flanz and his Nashville Steel featuring the outstanding guitar playing of Dougie Trineer.(recorded in Montreal circa 1962) He recorded his second album "Get On The Star Route" in Toronto in 1964 using an Emmons Stereo pedal steel guitar.Neil worked the Toronto area with Dusty King and toured much of Ontario with Dusty, Jack Kingston, and Gary Buck. Whenever
he was in Toronto he used to enjoy listening to Bob Lucier, one of his favourite Canadian steel players. The success of the two albums gained Neil considerable recognition in both Canada and the United States. At the age of 24, Neil had his heart set on moving to Nashville and playing the Grand Ole Opry. Working in a country bar in Montreal called the "Country Palace", Neil backed up several Nashville artists including
Charlie Louvin of the famed Louvin Brothers duet. This break began to move things along and after getting his green card Neil moved to Nashville. For the next three years he worked on and off with Charlie
Louvin as well as other Opry artists such as Jean Sheppard, Billy Walker, and Ray Pillow, just to name a few. After being on the road a few years Neil felt it was time to stay at home and connected with a band in
Nashville called "The Kelly Rogers Breed". They were gigging at the "Broadway Barn", an enormous club around the corner from the Grand Ole Opry. They were a versatile band playing country and some rock, but didn't get the recognition they had hoped for. In 1973 Neil got a phone call from Phil Kaufman to play a six week tour with Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris. The band was called "The Fallen Angels" and featured Neil, Kyle Tullis on bass, N.D. Smart 11 on drums, and Jock Bartley on lead guitar
who replaced Gerry Mule, a friend of Emmy's who played great Flamenco style classical guitar but really didn't play the style that Gram wanted for the Group. Neil remembers the tour as beng "one of the most exciting parts of his career with thousands of cheering young long haired fans being introduced to country for the first time and rushing up to the stage just to touch us." A live album "Gram Parsons and the Fallen
Angels Live 1973" was recorded in Hempstead, Long Island N.Y. and is still available today on C.D. It features Neil's steel playing predominently. After the tour was over Neil chose to return to Nashville
and rejoined the "Kelly Rogers Breed." Ronnie Rogers was later to find fame by writing "Dixieland Delight" for Alabama.The group underwent a name change and were known as "Peppertree." During that time an opportunity came along for Neil to play for Roy Drusky, so for the next six months Neil was back on the road playing big shows again and playing the Opry whenever Roy was in town on a Saturday night. After working with Roy, Neil held fort at a popular downtown night spot called the "Deeman's Den" named after Nancy Dee who sang and owned the club. It was a lot of fun where artists like Little Jimmy Dickens, Faron Young, Johnny Paycheck, Webb Pierce, and great musicians like Jimmy Day, Buddy
Emmons, and Jimmy Bryant just to name a few would set in and let their hair down. Neil also spent a few months in Austin and Dallas working with various groups. One adventure was doing a two week tour with a group that  travelled and introduced President Jimmy Carter when he did his North Carolina primary tour. Other band jobs followed and one day Joe Sun who had asked Neil a year previously if he would like to work with him when he could afford to put together a band, called and offered him the job. The band rehearsed and sun bathed in Key West Florida for a month . It was then time to go back home to Nashville and hit the road. Soon the bookings were increasing and Joe was becoming so popular that
he needed a new album and bucked the trend of using studio musicians, insisting that his band "Shotgun" record with him in the studio. "Living On Honky Tonk Time" was the first album featuring the
band and the song "Bombed Boozed and Busted" released as a single became a juke box favourite and went up to the top twenty of the country charts. "Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You" continued to be his biggest selling record and lead to T.V. shows like Austin City Limits and three trips to Europe over a three year period which included playing London's famed Wembley Stadium as part of a giant package
featuring stars like Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Emmy Lou Harris, the Kendalls, Tammy Wynette, and many others. These tours took them to Stockholm, Zurich, Amsterdam, and many cities in Germany. Other European tours took the band on a one month tour of Germany, and even to Aberdeen, Scotland. Two albums were recorded in Nashville for release in Germany on the Intercord label and are unavailable on this side of the pond. A second album for Elektra Asylum was released called "I Aint Honky Tonkin' No More" and features Joe, the band, and guests Randy Scruggs, Hoot Hester and many other Nashville studio players. Neil Flanz flat out loves the steel guitar and as well as recording one of the first instruction albums for the E9th tuning on the pedal steel, has also written a book called the C 6th chord dictionary for the C 6th Nashville setup. 
Neil currently plays a double neck Emmons with clarity, soul, and great taste. 

                                                                                     Paul Evans


Here is another song from Neils Album played on the C6 neck.
Texas Playboy Rag

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