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Musician-Producer Ben Keith Dies at Age 73
Musician-producer Ben Keith, a longtime sideman to Neil Young, has died at age 73. The date, place and cause of death have not been confirmed, but Young acknowledged Keith's death during a Monday night (July 26) concert in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Keith played guitar, piano and saxophone but gained his greatest acclaim as a steel guitarist. He grew up in Kentucky and moved to Nashville during the late '50s and worked as a studio musician and in the touring bands of several noted country artists, including Faron Young. His professional relationship with Neil Young began in 1971 when he worked in Nashville on the sessions for what became one of Young's most popular albums, Harvest. Keith's work is prominent on two hits from the album -- "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man." Through the years, he contributed to many of Young's albums, including Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, Comes a Time, Harvest Moon and Prairie Wind. He's featured in Heart of Gold, a concert film produced at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2005. Keith's other recording credits include projects with Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, The Band, Bobby Bare, Ringo Starr, Crosby, Stills & Nash and many others. He also produced Jewel's 1995 breakthrough album, Pieces of You, which contained the hits "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "You Were Meant for Me."
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