Jonathan GreggJonathan Greggpedal steel guitar lessonslicksgigs calendarbiopress

By age seventeen I was a decent young guitarist whose heroes were Eric Clapton and Johnny Winter, but seeing the Grateful Dead two nights in a row the first weekend of college was what really sealed my fate, musically and academically. The Dead introduced me to the possibilities of country and jazz in a rock 'n' roll context, and both they and their sidekicks the New Riders of the Purple Sage used pedal steel guitar, which immediately captivated me. A few years later I made my first foray into the instrument, acquiring an MSA 5x4 single neck and laboring mightily to plumb its mysteries. But instructional resources were few, and out of frustration I ended up swapping the steel for a better guitar amp.

I began my musical career playing guitar for a Providence, R.I., country outfit called Dee's Travelers, which paid $60 for weekend gigs at Mishele's Lounge, a lurid cinder-block tavern in a scary part of town. I sang "Daydream," "Big River" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and did my best to support Dee, a vocalist for whom pitch was a highly relative concept.