Nov 272023

The lap steel guitar is a simple but versatile tool. It can air, space, and emotion to work, and is regularly heard on Hawaiian music or adding color to Country tracks. One man, Sean Williamson, aims to expand the palette further, into the realms of shredding. His Velocihamster project believes it is the “world’s only lap steel metal band.” He is, in his own words, “hell-bent” to expand the use of, and proselytize about, the instrument. As well as heavier tracks the project also looks to classics and AOR. Their new cover of “Broken Wings” is now available as a single.

Mr Mister’s number-one hit from 1985 established the band in the charts and remained their biggest hit. When they followed it up with another chart-topper, “Kyrie,” their success for the decade was guaranteed. Co-written by frontman and bassist Richard Page, keyboardist Steve George and lyricist John Lang, the band used a Khalil Ghibran novel as the inspiration. The mix and production were smooth and sophisticated and full of the polish of the time. With MTV at its peak the video covers all the relevant bases, with a black and white theme and an actual bird.

Williamson has continued to expand and utilize his capabilities beyond the lap steel and covers the majority of all of the music and production here, including his first credit on drums. His only partner for this track, fretless bassist Matt Turner, recreates Page’s iconic bassline, and the version retains the rueful minor key and pace of the original. Replacing the vocals with airy lap steel is the difference. That combination is a winner. The bird has taken wing and soared, and there is no concern that it has remained broken. There is a remarkable sense of place and space, reminiscent of the desert setting of the video for the original.

Photo by Greg Vorobiov

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