The second album that I listened to last weekend and through this week was the latest album by Sterling Koch (pronounced “Cook”) Slide Ruler. Koch us a nationally acclaimed lap steel guitarist from Cressona, Pennsylvania. I’ve seen this album on the Roots Music Blues Chart and others and was unsuccessful in finding the album on Rhapsody. I did listen to one of early albums Steel Guitar Blues though and enjoyed that so when I saw Slide Ruler on Napster I quickly put it on the iPod!
Koch lap steel playing on the album is terrific and his rhythm section at bad either! On bass there’s legendary blues bassist Tommy Shannon (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter) and on drums, Grammy nominated drummer Chet McCracken (Doobie Brothers). Tracks on the album cover songs from many blues legends including: Elmore James, John Lee Hooker and Otis Rush. A stand-out track is Koch’s cover of Roosevelt Sykes’ “Driving Wheel.“ And while my wife (who hates blues) didn’t like it I liked the cover of Santo & Johnny’s steel guitar standard “Sleepwalk.”
From his website:
Sterling specializes in playing Chicago-style, slide guitar blues in a contemporary style on the lap steel guitar. He has appeared as opening act for Savoy Brown, Rick Derringer and Blackfoot among many other major touring bands. He has performed at many nationally known venues including The Bitter End, Kenny’s Castaways and Cornelia Street Café (all in New York City) as well as Stanhope House and Bubba Mac’s Blues Shack (both in New Jersey).He has previously released 2 solo CDs of steel guitar blues music, “Steel Guitar Blues” and “Steelin‘ Home.” Sterling has had the support of the legendary steel guitarist Calvin Cooke (mentor to Robert Randolph of “Robert Randolph‘s Family Band“) when first starting on steel guitar and now can claim internationally known steel guitarists Darick Campbell (The Campbell Brothers), Aubrey Ghent and Freddie Roulette as friends and mentors.
Here’s the Video fro the single “Driving Wheel”