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Ben Keith RIP: Guitarist and longtime Neil Young sideman dies at age 73

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Image Credit: Jordi Vidal/Redferns/Getty ImagesSteel guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and longtime Neil Young collaborator Ben Keith has died of unknown causes at the age of 73. According to Rolling Stone, Young acknowledged his passing last night at the singer-songwriter’s show in Winnipeg. “This is for Ben Keith,” Young said, before playing “Old Man.” “His spirit will live on. The Earth has taken him.”

Keith first worked with Young on the classic 1972 album Harvest, which, of course, featured “Old Man.” “Ben and I developed the style during those sessions,” Young told The Tennessean in 2005. “When we did ‘Old Man’ and talked about what he could play, I said, ‘Try to play those single notes and make it sound doubled. Just ride those babies all the way through there, that’s a great sound.” Keith would contribute to many more Young albums and performed with him at the Bridge School Benefit just last October.

Keith initially made his name as a Nashville session musician and played on Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces.” He also produced Jewel’s 1995 debut collection Pieces of You, and released music under his own name. His 1994 album Seven Gates boasted contributions from Johnny Cash and J.J. Cale.

You can see a clip of Keith and Young performing”This Old House”—from the CSNY album American Dream—after the jump.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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