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Pedal Steel Noah’s Covers Charm Fans Online. Up Next: His Own Songs.

Like many American teenagers, Noah Faulkner, 16, is obsessed with music. He’ll spend hours going down rabbit holes, listening to every note played by his favorite artists and studying new discoveries. He recently came out of a monthslong deep dive on Clarence Ashley, a banjo player who recorded during the Great Depression and “makes me feel like I’m an old man,” Faulkner said. Ashley’s music “feels very spooky, and I imagine it’s like an abandoned place somewhere.”

Unlike most teenagers, Faulkner is translating these influences into a dedicated music career. Using the handle Pedal Steel Noah, he posts daily covers of ’80s New Wave and post-punk hits on Instagram and TikTok, interpreting the work of acts like the Smiths and Tears for Fears on one of the hardest instruments to master. Along the way, he’s made fans of Neko Case, Big Thief, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle and scores of others drawn to his emotive playing and charming setup: a big Texas flag in the background, his brother, Nate, 13, on bass and a shaggy Aussiedoodle panting along.

Faulkner’s interest in pedal steel stems from an early plunge into country music. “I was listening to George Strait when I wanted to listen to something that’s cheerful and faithful,” he said. Credit…Eli Durst for The New York Times

In March, the brothers and their father, Jay, played several showcases during the South by Southwest festival in their hometown and opened for the Black Keys’ keynote address. Dressed in a Western shirt, black cowboy hat and the colorful Crocs that have become his signature footwear, Pedal Steel Noah put a Texas stamp on songs by Duran Duran and the Cocteau Twins.

“It was amazing,” he said via video call from the dinner table, his family gathered around him, “but it was exhausting. Hopefully, I can give myself a reward of a party for my friends.” On Monday, he’s taking the next step in his young career, releasing “Texas Madness,” an EP that includes three covers and two original tracks.

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