2008 Gospel Steel Guitar Show

Texas Troubadour Theatre

The 11th annual pilgrimage to our favorite show took us to Nashville, Tennessee, this year. All previous shows have been in Indianapolis, but a number of factors led to the selection of a new venue. As usual, it was a wonderful experience with fantastic performances by a number of talented artists.

The location this year was the venerable Texas Troubadour Theatre, which was made famous by the late Ernest Tubb. Acoustics were wonderful, the seating was nice, and its location next to the Fiddler's Inn Motel was excellent. Everyone was moved by the significance of this historic country music spot. It adjoins the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, which offered discounts to all GSGA attendees.

Our thanks to Stevie and Doug Rolfe for all their efforts to make this event memorable!

Performers This Year

  1. Cliff Waterman
  2. Mike Sweeney
  3. Bobbe Seymour
  4. Albert Svenddal
  5. Robbie Turner
  6. Leonard T. Zinn
  7. Bob Strum
  8. Jay Shupe
  9. Mike "Cookie" Jones
  10. Mike Johnson
  11. Bill Ferguson
  12. Jerry Newberry
  13. Austin Stewart
  14. Jerry Roller
  15. Doug Jernigan
  16. Russ Hicks
  17. David Spires

The outstanding band included:
Joe Arview on lead guitar; Roy Rosetta on keyboard; Pat Coyne on bass guitar; Ron Stroupe on drums; Jeneé Fleenor on fiddle; vocals by Rob Parker, Rob McKeithen, and others.

We also have pictures & information about some of these players in our previous reports.

A few of the artists in no particular order.

Cliff Waterman

Cliff Waterman has opened many of the past shows and his playing was superb again this year. He lost a few minutes due to technical glitches (not his fault) so they gave him a second set Saturday. He flew in and didn't have a guitar so he played both sets with different borrowed guitars; another sign of a true pro.

JeneƩ Fleenor

Jeneé Fleenor, a native of Springdale, Arkansas, started playing Violin at only 3 years old and at the age of 5 she started learning fiddle tunes. She moved to Nashville after graduation from high school and quickly got a gig with well-known songwriter, and bluegrass band, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, played the Grand Ole Opry a couple months after moving to town, and only a year and a half later got a call to audition for the country music star, Terri Clark. She has been a part of the Terri Clark band since 2002.

Leonard T. Zinn

Leonard T. Zinn is an inspiration to all and continues to play beautifully at the age of 83! He has devoted over 65 years of his life to playing, arranging, teaching and promoting the steel guitar. He's played steel for many country music stars including Ernest Tubb, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Faron Young, Patsy Cline, Randy Travis, and many years with Columbia recording artists, The 101 Ranch Boys.

Russ Hicks

Russ Hicks is another master and always plays tunes that no one else thinks of. He's done it all and has an impressive biography. We always enjoy his excellent style.

Doug Jernigan

Doug Jernigan joined us again and dazzled all as usual. Every steel player knows of Doug and his beautiful playing of all types of music. A superstar of the steel.

Austin Stewart

Austin Stewart is 13 this year and is playing major shows. He just keeps getting better and shows no signs of slowing down.

Jerry Newberry

Jerry Newberry is Austin Stewart's mentor and grandfather. But Jerry is also a great player and did a fine set as usual.

Jerry Roller

Jerry Roller played the dobro for Austin and then a nice set on the steel. A true musician, he can play many instruments. He regularly appears on the Little O' Oprey, West Fork, Arkansas.

Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney is another real pro who has not joined us before, but we hope he will return. Mike has worked with many artists including: Clinton Gregory, Jack Greene, Shawn Camp, Ray Price, Vern Gosdin, and many others. He also played at the Country Music U.S.A. show at Opryland and The Broken Spoke among other places. Today he works as a freelance musician and teacher.

Bobbe Seymour

Bobbe Seymour is one of the most well-known people in the world-wide steel guitar community. He has contributed much and continues to be a true leader in the field. His store is the largest store in the world devoted to the steel guitar. It was a pleasure to have him make his first appearance at a GSGA event.

Robbie Turner

Robbie Turner played a terrific set and displayed why he has done so well in the industry.

Bob Strum

Bob Strum may be a full-time dentist, but he sure plays a nice steel too.

Jay Shupe

Jay Shupe was "drafted", as he puts it, at the last minute. But his playing was nothing short of wonderful. He currently is in Mel McDaniel's band.


Mike "Cookie" Jones spent 23 years traveling with Barbara Mandrell among other gigs.

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson has an impressive background that includes 15 years with Bill Anderson. His biography is a must-read. His lovely wife, Joanie, played the bass for him. What a great, friendly couple. His web site is Mike Johnson Productions.

Bill Ferguson

Bill Ferguson provides the fine sound for the show and plays a mean steel also.

David Spires

David Spires was able to find a break in his schedule as the steel player for Jo Dee Messina. David once again closed the show.