Center For Arts & Equity

The Campbell Brothers

Tradition isn’t built overnight. It took a few decades for the Rochester-based Campbell Brothers to hone their sacred-steel sound, harkening back to the 1930’s and House of God services. Soaring, crying guitar strings mimicked the human voice and an insistent groove accompanied the services lead by Campbells’ father, first in a church off Goodman Street and then later in a building in Rush, NY. The brothers separated from their church when it demanded that they restrict themselves to performing only during services, and not take sacred steel to the rest of the world. 

The group, composed of three brothers and one son, debuted their sacred-steel version of “A Love Supreme” at New York City’s Lincoln Center. In their capable hands, the music reflects the journey that Coltrane himself had taken personally at the time he was recording. It is representative of his journey from drug addiction. Guitarist Phil Campbell says the journey mirrors the Campbells’ path as Christians. A Love Supreme is a love of god. Different gods, sure. For the Campbells, it’s a Christian god. For Coltrane, it was a move toward Eastern religions.

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