Aubrey Ghent Third generation lap steel guitar master Aubrey Ghent is one of the country’s most exciting players of “sacred steel,” a music that originated in House of God churches 75 years ago.
- Sacred Steel
- Nashville, TN
Listen[audio:http://rvanews.net/folk_festival/2009/artists/AubreyGhent.mp3|artists=Aubrey Ghent|titles=I’ve Got a Feeling from What a Time!]
From the Brothers Burton
Taylor says: Excellent high energy gospel, from a master of the sacred steel. Nothing makes gospel music sound better than a roaring lap steel!
Scott says: Gospel as a vehicle for an amazing lap steel guitar player… sign me up for real.
Third generation lap steel guitar master Aubrey Ghent is one of the country’s most exciting players of “sacred steel,” a music that originated in House of God churches 75 years ago. Holiness-Pentecostal churches cite Psalms 150:4, “. . . praise him with stringed instruments. . . ,” and 149:3, “Let them praise his name in the dance,” as scriptural support for celebratory, spirit-filled worship in which the presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested through music and holy dancing.
Up until the early 1990s, Sacred Steel music was virtually unknown outside of House of God churches. That all changed when Florida folklorist Robert Stone walked into a South Florida music store in 1992 and heard Aubrey Ghent. Stone had never heard music remotely like that which Ghent was playing. It led him to delve into the tradition and discover that there were dozens of great steel guitar players in House of God congregations from Florida to upstate New York, each with its own deep history and variation on the style.
Aubrey Ghent was born in 1959 in Fort Pierce, Florida into a family linked to the very creation of the Sacred Steel tradition. His uncle was Willie Eason, who taught Aubrey’s father Henry Nelson to play. A notable innovator who expanded upon Eason’s style, Nelson played for more than 50 years in the church and around the country with gospel greats like Rosetta Thorpe and Mahalia Jackson. Aubrey began playing at age six and by nine was performing at church services. As a teenager Ghent began to preach and became known as the “Gospel Tornado,” as much for the intensity of his preaching as his astonishing instrumental prowess. Later his wife Lori became his musical partner and the lead singer in his group, and together the couple has dedicated their lives to the music and ministry of the House of God Keith Dominion.
Ghent was featured on the ground-breaking 1995 Arhoolie CD Sacred Steel: Traditional Sacred African-American Steel Guitar Music in Florida, and soon followed up with his solo recording, Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus, which brought him national acclaim and performance opportunities throughout the country, as well as additional recordings. In 2000 the Ghents moved to Nashville, formed a new band and have become ambassadors for Sacred Steel, appearing at festivals throughout the country and on European tours. They have worked with gospel legends Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker and Tremaine Hawkins.
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