David Lindley, a multi-instrumentalist and a true hero in the music industry, has left an indelible mark with his exceptional talent and versatility. Renowned for his skills on the electric lap steel and Weissenborn guitars, Lindley’s musical journey has taken him through various genres and cultures. From his early days with the psychedelic world-music band Kaleidoscope to his collaborations with legendary artists like Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, and Rod Stewart, Lindley’s contributions have been nothing short of extraordinary.
Early Beginnings and Genre-Bending Exploration
David Lindley’s musical journey began with the band Kaleidoscope, which was known for their genre-bending approach to music. Lindley’s mastery of the electric lap steel and Weissenborn guitars added a unique flavor to the band’s sound. However, his musical exploration didn’t stop there. Lindley embarked on a journey to explore African, Arabic, Asian, Celtic, Malagasy, and Turkish music, incorporating these diverse influences into his own recordings and live performances.
Collaboration with Terry Reid and Led Zeppelin Connection
After his time with Kaleidoscope, Lindley ventured to the UK, where he had the opportunity to tour and record with the incredible Terry Reid. It’s worth noting that Terry Reid was considered as a potential singer for the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin. Lindley’s collaboration with Reid provided him with valuable experience and further honed his musical skills.
Making a Mark in Rock and Pop Music
In the 1970s, David Lindley returned to the United States and joined forces with Jackson Browne, becoming an integral part of Browne’s hit albums. Lindley’s contributions as a session musician extended beyond Browne’s work, as he lent his exceptional skills to the recordings of Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby and Nash, Warren Zevon, and many other renowned artists. Lindley’s ability to seamlessly blend his unique style into various musical landscapes solidified his reputation as one of rock’s most sought-after session musicians.
The Birth of El Rayo-X
While enjoying success as a sideman, David Lindley made a bold decision to focus on his own music. He formed the legendary band El Rayo-X, which quickly became known for their exciting music. The records and shows put forth by El Rayo-X in the early 80s captivated audiences with their dynamic energy and showcased Lindley’s exceptional talent as a multi-instrumentalist.
Collaborations with Ry Cooder and Soundtrack Contributions
During the 80s, David Lindley collaborated extensively with Ry Cooder on several classic soundtracks. The synergy between Lindley’s musical prowess and Cooder’s vision resulted in memorable compositions that enhanced the cinematic experience. Lindley’s contributions to these soundtracks further showcased his ability to adapt to different musical styles and genres.
Acoustic Exploration and Solo Performances
In the 90s, David Lindley shifted gears and embraced a more acoustic sound. He embarked on solo and duo performances around the world, collaborating with musicians like Hani Nasser and Wally Ingram. Lindley’s low-budget recordings during this period left a profound impact on listeners, as he showcased his mastery of instruments such as the weissenborn, saz, oud, and many others.
A Conversation with David Lindley
It was an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to speak with David Lindley about his musical journey. Our conversation delved into his early influences, his experiences with various artists, and the evolution of his musical style. Lindley’s passion for music and his dedication to his craft were evident as he shared his insights and anecdotes.
Join us next week for Part 2 of this episode, where we continue to explore the remarkable career of David Lindley.