Musician Jim Hudak may be moving closer to realizing a long fermenting idea:  To hook up with a versatile pedal steel guitar player.  Steve Epstein, a talented steel player based in the San Francisco Bay Area, was recently referred to Jim by drummer Ron Potts.  While Steve and Jim have yet to meet or play music together, there's a sense of promise regarding the possibility of their developing a music based friendship.

"I've talked with Steve by phone a few times and sent him some samples of my music," said Hudak earlier this week.  "I must say he shares a similar vision to my own regarding the possibility of blending steel guitar with piano.  Most of us think of pedal steel as an instrument used in country music, which of course it is.  But I've always felt that it could be used in other ways, too.  You always hear about piano and violin or piano and cello...Why not piano and pedal steel?"

In his 1987 release of an album titled "The Hudaks - Connected," recorded with his brother Don, Jim Hudak enlisted the services of legendary pedal steel player JayDee Maness on Jim's original song titled "Shirttails of the Crowd."  It turned out beautifully, and though long out of print, "Shirttails" remains one of Jim's favorite recordings of his own songs.  "JayDee has such a lovely, delicate touch," Jim says. "It was a real honor for my brother and I to have him participate in the making of our album. We hope to rerelease that record sometime soon, and it would be nice to let a new group of music lovers in on what I feel was a pretty darn good recording."

Jim and Steve Epstein hope to meet up soon, and "start experimenting," Jim says. "We're looking for a couple more pieces to round out our band, and Ron Potts seems like the perfect drummer for what we hope to accomplish.  Good things take time, but we hope we're on to something here."

Stay tuned for developments and updates on what may be an interesting new direction for Jim Hudak and his music.

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