Heather Leigh: Beyond the Pedal Steel Guitar
The avant-garde powerhouse selects music that expands upon her chosen instrument, the pedal steel guitar.
Born in West Virginia, the daughter of a coal miner, Heather Leigh became a musician in Texas, recording and releasing music starting in the late ’90s before relocating to Glasgow, Scotland, in the early ‘00s. As a solo musician, Leigh’s sound brings together metal, folk and different styles of experimental rock music; she sings and plays an assortment of instruments, including pedal steel guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bells, cuatro, psaltery, drums, bass and harmonica, though for many years her main focus has been pedal steel guitar and voice. Leigh has been touring the world extensively as a solo artist following the release of her studio album, I Abused Animal on Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ, and in 2018 she releases her album Throne, on Editions Mego. Her first studio album with her longtime musical collaborator, the German avant-garde saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, Sparrow Nights, is also out in 2018, and follows three live albums as BRÖTZMANN/LEIGH, Ears Are Filled with Wonder, Sex Tape and Crowmoon. On these records, her studied and expansive style of pedal steel guitar is beautifully rendered — Leigh is a powerhouse in her field.