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Ben Keith

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An accomplished producer, solo artist, and pedal steel guitarist, Ben Keith got his start as a Nashville session musician during the late '50s. Two decades later, he secured a spot with Neil Young's band, where he contributed to such landmark albums as Harvest, Tonight's the Night, Comes a Time, and Harvest Moon. Having established his pedal steel credentials, Keith soon branched out into other areas of the music business. He produced Jewel's Pieces of You, which became one of the best-selling debut albums in history, and also launched a solo career while working concurrently with such luminaries as Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Willie Nelson. He made his solo debut in 1984, playing alongside J.J. Cale and Paul Butterfield on To a Wild Rose, and released the holiday-themed Seven Gates: A Christmas Album ten years later. The latter record was later reissued in 2008 under the name Christmas at the Ranch. Keith was working on a project with Neil Young and staying at Young's ranch in California when he had a heart attack and died on July 26, 2010 at the age of 73. ~ Andrew Leahey


March 6, 1937 in Fort Riley, Kansas

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s