Tasteful overdubs for country, folk, indie rock, and experimental projects. Pedal Steel, Banjo, Guitar, and Bass. I'm a mixing engineer, too.
Whether it’s finding that perfect, singable melody or ripping a solo, my greatest joy is to serve the song. As a session player, I've recorded on over 100 albums including overdubs for multi-platinum and grammy nominated songwriters and arrangers. As a performer, I've played on stages from Red Rocks to the smallest dive bars with over 40 bands in North America and Europe and have been direct support for acts as disparate as Whitey Morgan, RJD2, Darlingside, Timber, Timbre, and Marshall Crenshaw.
I offer professional pedal steel, banjo, bass, and guitar overdubs for your song of any genre recorded with high end amps, mics, and analog preamps. I love developing lustrous melodies with subtleties and nuance, catchy hooks, or lush beds of harmony for pop, country, jazz, americana, folk, indie rock, hip hop, and more. I love to experiment! I'm also a mixing engineer with a trained ear for telling a song's story with clarity and conviction.
I have worked on songs produced by:
Thomas Bartlett (Taylor Swift, Norah Jones, Sufjan Stevens, Florence & the Machine)
Alasdair Roberts (David Byrne, Bonnie Prince Billie, Songs: Ohia)
Jon Gilbert (Mt. Joy, The Kills, Mercury Slim)
Peter Broderick (arr. She&Him, Sharon Van Etten, Gill Landry)
D James Goodwin (Rhett Miller, Bob Weir, David Wax Museum)
Charles Harnach (Blind Boys of Alabama, Col Bruce Hampton)
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
- Henry Jamison
- Peter Broderick
- Ghost of Paul Revere
- Dylan Earl
- Field Guides
- Jacob Augustine
- Jeff Beam
- Alexandra May
- Kevin Knight
- The Barlow
- Yishay Raziel
- Steve Balsamo
- Max Ruano
- Joel Thetford
- Pelican Motel
- Ryan Dart
- Tyler Moon
- Will Whalen
- St. Clair
- Definitely Maybe
- If and It
- Wesley Hartley and the Traveling Trees
- Bob Sezibwa
- Jack Reed
- Rodeo FM
- Dominic and the Lucid
- Travis Cyr
- The Hanging Prophets
- Brigid Mae Power
- Last of the Easy Riders
- High Plains Honky
- Garrett T Capps
75 Reviews - 15 Repeat ClientsEndorse Hamilton McKay Belk
Hamilton's sonic resume is incredibly impressive and I feel really fortunate to have him play on my track. Working with him was super easy and seamless. I didn't know exactly what I wanted and my vocabulary around steel sounds is pretty limited. He came up with an amazing part! Will certainly be hoping to have him play on future tracks!
Patient, professional, and on time
Hamilton is fluent on the dobro, friendly as a person, and professional as an artist.
Hamilton recorded a banjo track for me. He was prompt and laid down a couple of great takes with great tone. Thanks, Hamilton!
Hamilton is such a wonderful Pedal Steel player. He plays with immense skill and balances that with such a musical feel. Every time I have worked with him, I have been blown away by the amazingness!!!
Always a pleasure working with Hamilton! He has an incredible feel for a wide variety of styles and genres, and delivers beautiful, unique, and moving pedal steel recordings that elevate our songs above and beyond what we could have imagined. Highly recommended.
Hamilton was great to work with. He is a talented player and he approached our engagement with the highest degree of professionalism. I recommend him to others.
It was easy to work with Hamilton and His reply time and session work was very fast. As a first timer on sound better trying to get a steel guitar into my mix, I was impressed
I worked on 3 songs now with Hamilton, 1 with pedal steel and 2 with banjo, and I´m really happy with the results. He works fast, understands what you need and delivers great sounding tracks.
It was great to work with Hamilton. He works fast, delivers a great sound and gives good feedback!
Hamilton was just what we were looking for! Perfect sound, great parts, and super responsive! Highly recommend, and we'll be back for sure if we need more pedal steel on any projects.
Hamilton is a great player and went the extra distance to clue me into his musical ideas, his timeline and his revisions. Absolutely happy with what he did on my track!
Hamilton was an awesome person to collab with and has so many great ideas for how to make a song better, including various instruments along with excellent production ideas. He added a very simple guitar melody that really took my song to the next level. What's great about him is that he's so multi-talented, so whether you need a producer, a guitarist, a pedal steel player, or anything else, he's the best dude to hire.
- check_circleVerified (Client)
Hamilton was wonderful to work with. Easy to communicate with and very clear on what he needed to be done. Would love to work with him again. I love listening to his pedal steel playing too, he's a pro!
Hamilton always does excellent work!
Pleasure to work with and extremely pleased with the work put into the song. Hope to work with again.
another fantastic performance from Hamilton - he should be everyones go-to pedal steel guy!
Hamilton did an awesome job!
hamilton did an excellent job
I have Hamilton played banjo, bass, and pedal steel on my track. Very professional and wonderful playing!
I was looking for american pedal steel sound to my country song. Hamilton responded immediately and after three days I got these superb tracks. I can highly recommend to choose Hamilton!
Hamilton is always the best
Hamilton is an amazing pedal steel player! He played an awesome steel part that really complimented the song. A great communicator and a total pro. Gets great sounds! Highly recommended!
Hamilton did a great pedal steel part. He kicked the song up a notch. Respect!
Second time working with Hamilton and he is just incredibly talented. On the first song I did with Hamilton he played a very traditional country pedal steel part -- perfect for the song. On this second song, a much more modern pop/country track, Hamilton played pedal steel, banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, and all the parts were awesome with tons of vibe. Truly a pleasure to work with.
I always look forward to working with Hamilton, he delivers such a high level of quality
Always a pleasure to work with Hamilton. I will be working with him more in the future! the best.
First time working with Hamilton and he delivers! Easy to communicate with and sincere in his efforts to deliver the tracks that make you say "....that's what I was looking for!" Highly recommended!
Hamilton played pedal steel on a country demo for me and his parts were awesome. He sent multiple takes, giving me plenty of options to comp from. Great experience and look forward to working with Hamilton again in the future.
What an amazing talent Hamilton is! We are blown away. He gave us so much more than we asked for too, and ALL of it is amazing. Now we have to decide which parts to use—so much great stuff! And, he's the coolest person, taking care of us while he was ON TOUR! Highly recommend!
Hamilton sent me a variety of different pedal steel takes to choose from, each one bringing something completely different to the table. It was great fidelity and the performances all had soul. His contributions greatly added to the end result. Always a pleasure to work with Hamilton, I highly recommend him!
Hamilton did a great job. Great communications, willingness to work with me on things. Very professional.
Hamilton really listened to me and what I needed for my music, he is very good communicator and collaborative person. Professional sounding files. Thank you so much Hamilton!
Hamilton goes above and beyond. Listens to the song and will go the extra mile to give you what it needs, even if it means he has to do a bit more work. Exactly the kind of person everyone wants to work with.
GREAT MUSICIAN, this is my first time using a pedal steel for a pop christian song, I really enjoy work with him and loved it what he did for my Sogn, 100% sure that I will hire him again, TRULY TALENTED.
Hamilton did an outstanding job on the pedal steel for my track. The only issue I'm having is that comping his tracks has been difficult because they're all so good. I will definitely be back for more! Thanks again, Hamilton!
This is the second time I've worked with Hamilton - another fantastic experience. Quick, responsive, communicative, and a great pedal steel player. Highly recommended!
Hamilton added pedal steel to our track. We gave very little guidance but still received exactly what we were hoping for, exceeding our expectations. A great player with a great sound and very quick turnaround. We certainly plan on hiring Hamilton again in future.
Delivered exactly what I needed for this track! Great job :)
Hamilton did a great job adding steel guitar to my track! He provided a beautiful arrangement with a fast turnaround and I would highly recommend him to all! Thanks Hamilton!
Hamilton is a very creative and solid pedal steel player! Professional and easy to work with, our track was done quickly. Will work with him again on our next track needing steel guitar.
Turnaround was very quick. Hamilton totally nailed it and made my project better than I thought it could be. Very tasteful and dynamic. Thanks man!
Hamilton is great to work with, always enthusiastic. He has an amazing sense of melody - his pedal steel and banjo parts have made the tracks I we worked on together - cant imagine the songs without these parts now.
Highly recommend working with Hamilton
Great experience, super professional. Loved everything he brought to the song.
Great playing, fresh and creative takes on the material and really great communication all the way through. Look forward to more in the future with Hamilton.
Hamilton has been great to work with, adding a lot to the tunes.
Another wonderful steel track by Hamilton, thank you!
Hamilton is great to work with and a gifted player, very positive experience all around.
Excellent quality and detailed
Gorgeous pedal steel that totally fits the song! Thanks you Hamilton 😁
Hamilton delivers tasteful tracks every-time. He is a professional and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended!
Top pedal steel player, and receptive to feedback. Would not hesitate to work with Hamilton again
Hamilton played absoluetly beautiful on my song. He was incredibly patient while I we worked out what was needed. He has a real natural ear for what works when acompany people songs. He'll 100% be my first choice when I need pedal steel again!!
Hamilton was fantastic to work with. The pedal steel guitar part he came up with for my song really took it to a whole new level. He takes direction very well and turns it into something far better than you could imagine. Would definitely recommend!
Hamilton's expertise on the mixing side of my project was excellent. He has a great and sensitive ear, was terrific to work with and cannot say enough about his promptness, attention to my needs, and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for such a qualified musician on their own project. Thank you Hamilton for a job well done!"
Hamilton always impresses with his amazing talent. He exceeds expectations and has an amazing ear for nuance. He knows how to add the elements I never knew were missing. Wonderful work.
Quick and reliable. Pleasure to work with.
A wonderful pedal steel player! His mixing skills are top notch and my song has taken on a new life as a result of his dedication to the musical arts. His conversations were thoughtful and his gift of understanding my vision was excellent. I would recommend Hamilton to anyone and everyone without question. Thank you, Hamilton!
Hamilton is an incredibly talented versatile player and an absolute pleasure to work with. Friendly, professional, attentive, fast. If you're looking for a pedal steel guitar player or someone with great knoweldge on recording/mixing, look no further. Highly recommended.
Hamilton is a great musician and a very cool guy.
I asked him to put his wonderful pedal steel touch on my tracks, 100% successful. And a good spoken exchange
No problem, if you need this instrument, Hamilton is the one to choose
Wow! Great work from Hamilton on this track. Very professional, great player, easy to work with, and was supportive of a few call back edits. I'm thrilled with the result and am eager to work together again!
Great tone and soulful playing. He captured my idea without having to explain a lot. Thanks for the recording Hamilton feels good to work with a professional like you. I’m excited to continue working with you on my other tracks.
This dude is the real deal. I was blown away by his ability, his ear, and his desire to create something excellent! Great guy too!
McKay is amazing. Sometimes we'd track and I'd keep a full take, maybe the first pass. Most of the time he'd finish a take and we'd all wait a couple seconds before speaking, not to break the air. He's chill, smart and plays with a voice.
Hamilton played on three tracks of the second rodeo.fm album. We delivered the songs as mp3s and got 2 or 3 alternative takes back within a few days. Everything 100% usable, in fact it was hard to decide which part of which take to use as they were all tasteful, totally supportive and empathic of the song material, with a great tone and grasp of dynamics and the arrangement. no revisions required.
I hired McKay to record and produce six demos. He did a great job arranging and recording my guitar and vocals, adding drums, bass, electric and steel guitar, and mixing the songs. He is quick on ProTools. The guy is on point always and so nice to work with! He is not a smarmy musician. He is honest, hardworking, devoted.
I first contacted McKay to play bass for a number of live shows (Jack Gwydion). He is the kind of musician who showed up for our first rehearsal knowing the songs on my record better than me in a few places. On bass, he is always in the pocket and alive, he also produced super high quality demos for me, really went above and beyond. I wouldn't hesitate to hire him to engineer a studio project.
McKay is a master. I threw 12 unknown songs at him in one day and he crushed them all with one or two takes. Sly and hilarious, I have never enjoyed being with somebody in my entire life as I have with Mr. McKay Belk. He can riff on anything, music and otherwise. He is 100% pure sparkle dust fun, and he will explode any song that's lucky enough to have him accompany it.
McKay possesses in spades all my favorite qualities in a musician and collaborator: technical prowess, impeccable instincts, a willingness to approach arrangements from various angles, a generous spirit... It's an absolute delight working with him. His playing is expressive yet full of nuance and restraint; he gave such evocative and ethereal new layers to my music.
I've worked with McKay for nearly six years ranging on projects from country music to experimental rock and everything in-between. I always referred to McKay as 'the magic-maker', or 'honey fingers' because he adds so much to the songwriting process, or his ability to polish and bring to life a dull song is pure wizardry. In my opinion McKay's work is priceless, these rates are a steal.
It's a pleasure to work with McKay. He's a steady, calming presence, musically & otherwise. He's both filled with good ideas and able to take direction superbly. He's able to adjust on the fly. He has a great ear. He can lay down a classic steel lick w/ traditional charm, but he's just as much at home running through a Leslie speaker. He is an intangible asset.
" McKays playing is golden, smooth, comforting, delicate, moody, like syrup, like jelly, like nature, like he's inside of your heart. His playing has brought on tears, several times. His commitment to his instrument is inspiring and he is one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. He makes everything that much better.."
Travis Cyr / travis cyr
Having shared a bill with Mckay a few years back, and seeing what he has been up to lately, I reached out to him about adding pedal steel to a couple of recent tracks. His response was swift, his open ears and collaborative spirit during the overdubbing process were professional and comforting. Exactly what the tracks needed. Laid back and satisfying experience working with him! -Kevin Knight
I hired Hamilton for a studio album, he took the songs to a whole other level. His playing is expert, on point. He blends theory and emotion to give tracks just what they need. The way he approches runs is dynamic, creative, expressive, and then he tactfully resolves them into a splendor of sound. He can lead your track or give just that extra edge it needs. https://thejackreedband.bandcamp.co
Interview with Hamilton McKay Belk
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have a good ear for developing a song or complementing a song's feeling.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Country and experimental.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most often, I do pedal steel guitar overdubs. I also play bass and guitar, and work as a sound engineer.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is fairly modern. I mostly work in the box. I built some enormous 7'x6' gobos for a makeshift isolation booth that I can use for drums and vocals. I work out of my living room and the acoustics are something I typically try to remove. I usually try to recreate the room I want via plugins.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the DIY work ethic and the artistic implications of using the tools that you have. I think limitations often beget creative action.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I like to experiment to see what could work. Sometimes unexpected things happen and you stumble onto something unique and exciting. So I'd say my open mind and my respect for negative space and breathing room.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I've heard it said that a composition is done when you can no longer remove things without destroying the song. I think this is important. In a lot of cases you start with a granite block and your job is to chip away.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I feel like I already have gotten to do this! I have deep respect and admiration for a lot of people I've been blessed to played with.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Do it!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have reference tracks? What resolution do you need me to work with?
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: If you are operating with a limited budget, digital is clearly the right choice.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I usually listen to a song all the way through to get a feel for what I can bring to the table. By the end I have a fairly good idea of how to approach it - which parts require space and which might want thicker harmonies or faster licks. I consider how the existing melodies might play into the ideas I have, and then I just start putting stuff down. After I get something that works, I take a break to give my ears and mind a rest and then I return and if I'm still stoked about what I did than I usually know its good to go. If I'm not, then I have more work to do. I also like to pay attention to the instrumentation. It helps inform what register I will play in. It's all about balance.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I came into a very lucky job working for a sculptor who was adamant about giving me time to work on my art. I worked for him for 4 years and had the time practice, perform, and tour. That all started in 2012. My first tour was with Wesley Hartley and the Traveling Trees in 2013. I was playing bass and lap steel at the time.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on developing a sample library for pedal steel. I have some friends who are interested. I'm also trying to learn some works by Claude Debussy for steel guitar with the hopes of informing some bass and steel compositions.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: This really depends on what I'm working on. I once had a radio show on WBOR Brunswick, ME called Americana Overhaul. I think that's an apt description of what I often do.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A tarp, a solar still, a hatchet, fishing tackle, and Moby Dick.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I only play country music. I think there is a lot of exploring left to do for pedal steel guitarists, and I'm excited to be a part of that talented group of men and women.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I'm often asked how the steel should be processed. I typically send a dry track and a track with the effects that I think sound good.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: There is no finish line.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to work until you are stoked!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I have yet to come across anyone else that I know on here!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently worked on a Billie Eilish cover. I got to apply some vocal production techniques to the pedal steel tracks. It was a lot of fun.