A $6,000 grant funded the first recordings of the House of God church's Hawaiian steel-based gospel music. A licensing agreement brought the "Sacred Steel" concept to a wider audience. The series' fifth album, "Sacred Steel -- Live!," fully captures this dynamic music.
The steel guitar can move with and lead improvisational elements. So the music sounds like early Allmans backing fiery gospel voices -- a soaring synthesis between band and singer. Having the tight Campbell Brothers playing on most of the tracks provides continuity for the singers, players and listener.
Although gospel and secular music have often stood on opposite banks of the commercial river, they have always been involved in cross-pollination. Secular sources might have brought rhythm to the church, but gospel provided the fervent intensity found in rock and R&B. With the vibrant "Sacred Steel -- Live!," the divide between gospel and secular becomes almost inconsequential.