Sacred Steel

Why were we in Fallon, NV on a Friday night? We drove the 60 miles to see a gospel music tradition rooted in the African-American Holiness-Pentecostal church, commonly known as the House of God. The Campbell Brothers came all the way from New York to perform in Fallon. At the San Francisco Blues Festival a few years ago, they were the only group in two days that got the crowd up and dancing. I was definitely looking forward to a good show.

They really are brothers—Chuck, Darick, Phillip, and his son, Carl. They had a powerful woman vocalist, Tiffany Godette. Their brand of gospel is based around the steel guitar, either lap or pedal. Phil played his guitar to sound like a piano or organ. In the hundreds of shows that I’ve seen, I’ve never seen that before.

Let’s just say that Fallon is not the most ethnically diverse population. In spite of that, they had this very white audience swaying and clapping along. In addition to standards like Amazing Grace, they play blues based gospel like Don’t Let the Devil Ride, and the grand finale Jump for Joy with all the musicians and the audience jumping up and down, waving their hands in the air.

The Churchill Arts Council have this beautiful High School turned Art Center with a perfect auditorium for music appreciation—Barkley Theater. I would definitely make the drive again for another show.

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