The SteelDrivers arrived in the bluegrass world like a hail storm hitting a hobbled mule. Before I heard a single note from the SteelDrivers, some friends of mine saw them open for Marty Raybon at a small outdoor bluegrass venue near Lebanon, Ohio, and raved about them. Then, after listening to that first SteelDrivers recording, I was quickly on the bandwagon. The music was fresh, the songwriting strong, and they were putting the blues back in bluegrass.
February marked the release of their new recording Hammer Down. It will be the first album to feature the group’s current lineup. While the band lost some key members along the way after their initial success, they have landed on their feet and are ready for a new era.
The SteelDrivers formed, as the now well-known tale is told, as the result of a living room jam session by some music industry professionals who wanted to play some bluegrass. That original version of the band featured the bluesy songwriting and singing of Chris Stapleton, the mandolin and slide guitar of Mike Henderson, the solid banjo playing of Richard Bailey, the steady bass of Mike Fleming, and the awesome fiddle work and vocals of Tammy Rogers. Read entire article »