On Friday, Jan. 16, at 11:15 a.m., musician Chris Merwin will present a performance lecture at the senior center on popular American music. This music has its roots in blues, country, and bluegrass music. This program presents these styles along with gospel music. Artists covered include blues legend Robert Johnson, country legend Hank Williams, and the grandfather of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.
The music is played on steel guitars which are originally from Hawaii and used for Hawaiian music. In time, the steel guitar known as the dobro became one of the main instruments used in bluegrass music. Blues guitar players used bottle necks to slide on the strings which no doubt came from Hawaiian slide players who slide a steel bar on the strings of the steel guitar to form the notes. This is where the steel guitar gets its name, contrary to the popular belief that it is called a steel guitar because it is made of steel. In fact most steel guitars are made of wood.