February 6, 2013 by Jay Minkin
With all the talk about the USPS raising rates and reducing delivery, there still is great joy when the postman delivers a padded envelope with a newly released CD stuck inside. One of those cherished packages had a copy of the SteelDrivers new album titled Hammer Down.
The Nashville based quintet is one of the most heralded new bluegrass bands around. Since the release of their self-titled Lp (2008) and Reckless (2010), the SteelDrivers have been nominated for three Grammys, four International Bluegrass Music Association awards, and as an Emerging Artist of the Year from the Americana Music Association. Adele covered the band’s “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” on her 21 album that helped boost a great deal of awareness to the band’s original recording.
Original members Richard Bailey (banjo), Mike Flemming (bass), and Tammy Rodgers (fiddle) make-up the core of the band. Although Gary Nichols (guitar/lead vocals) had replaced Chris Stapleton in 2011, this is the first SteelDrivers album to feature him out front. Brent Truitt (mandolin) has recently replaced Mike Henderson and whose resume’ as an in-demand record producer and Grammy winning engineer is credited on over 250 records.
The Rounder Records and KCA Artists ensemble will not disappoint longtime fans as the songwriting and gritty vocals from Nichols picks-up right where Stapleton left off. The biggest change is hearing more from the lovely voice of Rodgers who blends beautiful harmonies on songs like “I’ll Be There”, “Burnin’ the Woodshed Down”, and “Wearin’ A Hole”. Everyone has a chance to take a bow playing a lead or fill throughout the nine tracks including “Cry No Mississippi”, “Shallow Grave”, and “Hell On Wheels”.
Hopefully Minkin’s Music has been an avenue for you to get turned-on to some exceptional singer/songwriters that you might not have heard about in these parts before. With our market making strides bringing more Americana artists to town, you’ll have an opportunity to catch SteelDrivers perform live at The Beachland Ballroom on Sunday, March 3rd. But check on getting advance ticket reservations as many “steelheads” are already aware of the band’s tour stop in Cleveland.