The SteelDrivers

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Hammer-Down

Hammer Down

  • Release Date: 05 Feb 2013
  • 11661-9122-2

The SteelDrivers are back! The three time Grammy® nominated bluegrass-meets-soul band has threaded the roots of bluegrass music with the distinctive threads of their own design, bringing together country and soul to create their own unapologetic hybrid of new music with the old feeling. Hammer Down, their third release on Rounder Records, is set for release February 5, 2013 (International release dates vary).

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ABOUT THE STEELDRIVERS

The SteelDrivers

 

Nashville, Tennessee is a nexus - a point where tradition and innovation intersect, where commerce collides with art. It may be the only town around where salaried songwriters and full-time session musicians are as common as accountants and schoolteachers. Music is the product, and the factories line the street, from the swank Music Row mini-high-rises to the low-slung Sylvain Park bungalows. And only Nashville could give birth to a band like the SteelDrivers: a group of seasoned veterans - each distinguished in his or her own right, each valued in the town's commercial community - who are seizing an opportunity to follow their hearts to their souls' reward. In doing so, they are braiding their bluegrass roots with new threads of their own design, bringing together country, soul, and other contemporary influences to create an unapologetic hybrid that is old as the hills but fresh as the morning dew. This is new music with the old feeling. SteelDrivers fan Vince Gill describes the band's fusion as simply "an incredible combination."

The SteelDrivers' brand of bluegrass - intense, dark, poetic, and inescapably human - is a refreshing reminder of the timeless power of string band music, and is captured perfectly on Reckless. Produced by Luke Wooten along with the SteelDrivers, the album captures all of the rare elements that come together when they play: the intense vocals of Chris Stapleton, the song-crafting excellence of Stapleton and Mike Henderson, the versatility of Richard Bailey on banjo, the spot-on harmonies provided by fiddler Tammy Rodgers and bassist, Mike Fleming, and the impeccable musicianship all of the band members bring to their roles in the band.

Tammy Rogers' fiddle and Richard Bailey's banjo kick off "The Reckless Side of Me," establishing Reckless' place in the bluegrass genre, but it's not long before Chris Stapleton's vocals soulfully lead the way into the place just beyond bluegrass where The SteelDrivers dwell. The groove the band sets for "Good Corn Liquor" transports the listener to the backwoods of Appalachia. The introspective "Where Rainbows Never Die" follows, with its poetic evocation of aging and salvation.

"The Price" provides a perfect showcase for Chris Stapleton's voice, as his reading of the song builds to an emotional zenith directed at the injustice of the world. "Can You Run," sung from the point of view of a slave is a call to freedom, no matter the cost. An unusual perspective is offered in "Peacemaker" where a gun questions its ironic name. "You Put the Hurt on Me," sung definitively by Stapleton, is the kind of classic country song you could also imagine George Jones singing, with lines like "I never had a memory cut - a path as wide as yours."

The high lonesome sound of "Midnight on the Mountain" features some stellar 3-part harmony by Stapleton, Rogers, and bassist Mike Fleming, as all of the natural elements conspire against a forlorn lover - the wind, the rain and "the chill in the pines." A cautionary tale, "Guitars, Whiskey, Guns and Knives" warns of the dangers of the country music lifestyle. "Angel of the Night" provides plenty of space for fiddle, banjo, and mandolin, and features a chorus that soars along with the pleading vocal. The blues-inflected country of "Higher than the Wall" paves the way for the album's closer "Ghosts of Mississippi" where the blues take control.

In the hands of The SteelDrivers, the transition from bluegrass to blues is perfectly natural. The willingness to set aside the unspoken rules that ruthlessly govern bluegrass set The SteelDrivers apart from the innumerable faceless acts vying for the bluegrass spotlight.

The SteelDrivers are:

Richard Bailey - Banjo


Grammy® nominated banjo player, Richard Bailey has recorded with such diverse artists as Al Green and George Jones. Featured in the book Masters of the 5-String Banjo, Bailey has performed with Bill Monroe, Roland White, Vassar Clements, Loretta Lynn, Chet Akins, Larry Cordle, Laurie Lewis, Dale Ann Bradley, and countless others. He has also recorded with Kenny Rogers, Michael Martin Murphy, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, and Ronnie Milsap and has played at Carnegie Hall and on Austin City Limits.

Mike Fleming - Bass/Vocals

A versatile veteran, Mike Fleming lays down the firm foundation and sings the baritone harmony that rounds out the SteelDrivers' sound. A self-confessed "recovering banjo player," Mike has recorded with Holly Dunn, Joy Lynn White, and with groundbreaking singer/songwriter David Olney. In addition to traveling the world during stints with Dunn and Kevin Welch, Mike has appeared on Austin City Limits, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, and too many Grand Ole Opry shows and festivals to count.

Mike Henderson - Mandolin/Vocals


Mike Henderson is a veteran songwriter and award-winning musician, with several solo albums on both RCA and Dead Reckoning to his credit. He has recorded with such artists as Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Mark Knopfler, Albert King, Hank Williams, Jr., Johnny Lang, Peter Rowan, Guy Clark, John Hiatt, Sting, Delbert McClinton, Bob Seger, Bo Diddley, Faith Hill, Lucinda Williams, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many others. His songs have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Rogers, Daryl Worley, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Solomon Burke, Marty Stuart, Gary Allan, and Randy Travis.

Tammy Rogers - Fiddle/Vocals


Growing up in a family bluegrass band that also included banjo great Scott Vestal, Tammy brings a lifetime of instrumental and vocal experience to the SteelDrivers. She was also in the legendary pre-Union Station bluegrass band Dusty Miller with Barry Bales, Tim Stafford, Adam Steffey, and Brian Fesler. No stranger to the studio, she has recorded with Neil Diamond, Wynonna, Rodney Crowell, Radney Foster, Bill Anderson, Iris Dement, Randy Scruggs, Patty Loveless, Buddy and Julie Miller, Jim Lauderdale, and many more. She has toured the world with Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Maria McKee, and the Dead Reckoners. Her songs have been recorded by Terri Clarke and Frances Black.

Chris Stapleton - Guitar/Vocals

A rising star on the Nashville scene, Chris Stapleton is a Paintsville, Kentucky native whose powerful "sandpaper to silk" voice gives the SteelDrivers their distinctive sound. He has recorded with Daryl Worley, Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, Trent Wilmon, James Otto, and others, while as a songwriter his compositions have been covered by Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, Julie Roberts, Daryl Worley, Trent Wilmon, Gary Allan, Patty Loveless, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Lee Ann Womack, Montgomery Gentry, and the Lonesome River Band. He recently scored a number one singles as the writer of "Your Man," recorded by Josh Turner and Kenny Chesney's "Never Wanted Nothing More."