David Lindley, the Los Angeles guitarist and multi-instrumentalist best known for his slide guitar work with Jackson Browne, has died aged 78.
His death was confirmed at Los Angeles Time (opens in a new tab) on March 3, although no cause of death was given.
Lindley’s love of string instruments began in his teens when he learned the baritone ukulele, before quickly moving on to banjo and fiddle.
Inspired by his father’s love of Korean folk and Indian sitar music, Lindley went on to master a breathtaking array of instruments, spanning the guitar in all its forms, as well as the mandolin and string instruments. more esoteric strings, including bouzouki, cittern, charango and zither. .
“I developed the ability to watch how people did things and get as close to it as possible and get the sound,” Lindley explained of her unquenchable thirst for learning. in a 2005 interview (opens in a new tab).
“Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal are all in the audience and we were all doing the same thing. We all went to watch people play [famed California venue] Ash Grove and then sat down with them and asked, “How do you play that?”
Yet it was lap steel that became Lindley’s calling card after his psychedelic band Kaleidoscope broke up and he joined Jackson Browne on a string of albums, beginning with 1973. For everyone.
His extended solos quickly became a highlight of Browne’s live shows, blending lyrical phrasing with licks steeped in folk and country tradition. His lap steel technique was something few artists could match and became a touchstone for all aspiring slide players who followed.
The duo would collaborate several times over the years, and Browne would produce Lindley’s own band’s debut album, radiographyin 1981.
Countless artists have benefited from Lindley’s unique touch, with his playing appearing on albums by David Crosby, Graham Nash, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh, Rod Stewart, Ben Harper and many more. He also teamed up with another slide master, Ry Cooder, in the late 70s for his Jazz And Bop till you drop scrapbooks.
Throughout his career, Lindley relied on a wide assortment of guitars, many of which would generally be classified as pawnshop guitars today, including models from National, Teisco and Sears.
He continued to release solo material throughout the 90s and 2000s, reuniting with Jackson Browne for a tour of Spain in 2006, documented on the live release, Love is Strange: Living with Tino.
His lasting influence has been recognized in the guitar world, with Joe Bonamassa declaring (opens in a new tab), “He changed the game for all of us. Rest in peace sir. »
“The loss of David Lindley is huge” echoed Jason Isbell (opens in a new tab). “Without his influence, my music would sound completely different. I was really obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard him.
“He was a giant among musicians” said Peter Frampton (opens in a new tab). “Always his unique sound and style revealed him in a single note.”
Former collaborator Graham Nash possibly Lindley’s monumental best talent (opens in a new tab)“One of the most talented musicians there has ever been. David could play just about any instrument you put in front of him with incredible versatility and expression. He was truly a musician’s musician and he has been admired with admiration and respect for so long now.
“He was also a wonderful person and a friend. He will be greatly missed. My heart and love goes out to his family and everyone who loved him so much.