Ben "Long Grain" Keith: One Year Ago...
Ben Keith as "Grandpa" in Greendale as filmed by Neil Young - 2002
(Eric Johnson as "Jed", center)
It has been one year since Ben Keith (1937 - 2010), Neil Young's long time band mate and dear friend, passed away.
Here is a repost of official statement on the Neil Young website N Y Times:
On the full moon, the Thunder moon, the world lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Ben was 73 years old the night he died on Broken Arrow Ranch in California, his happy home for the last years of his life. Ben played with Patsy Cline, Faron Young, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Ian Tyson and many other music greats. A great American, the quiet giant, he moved gently through the world, with kindness and grace.
My wife Pegi was lucky to share his last performance a few weeks back in San Francisco, where Ben was playing in her band, supporting her and lending his spirit to her every word as she sang her songs for us.
Of course, in Nashville Ben Keith is legendary, one of the last of the original country greats, the man behind the song. No one will ever fill his shoes. He has countless friends and admirers. They all miss him as much as I do. I will miss him every time I look to my side, remembering him, my brother and fellow traveler.
Thankfully, Ben's masterful playing can be seen and heard in two Johnathon Demme pictures: 'Heart of Gold' and 'Trunk Show,' as well as countless great recordings over the last 50 years. We are so fortunate to have these as memories and lasting documents of his greatness and grace. He started out on a homemade steel guitar he fashioned himself from a piece of wood and left over parts. He loved his music and his life and cherished his many friends and soul mates.
He leaves behind his wonderful daughter Heidi, and his grandchildren who he loved so much, DJ, Rachel, James, Meredith, Aubrey, Fletcher and Caroline.
May he rest in Peace.
More on the life and music of Ben Keith ... you are missed dearly.