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SteelDrivers head to "Muscle Shoals"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – The SteelDrivers' will dish out its fourth album of driving bluegrass, "The Muscle Shoals Recordings," on June 16 on Rounder.

Rolling Stone Country is offering an exclusive premiere of "Brother John," which features slide guitar by Jason Isbell, who also co-produced the track.

The album is largely inspired by Muscle Shoals, Ala. with its musical history of soulful music. Muscle Shoals also is the hometown of the SteelDrivers' lead vocalist and guitarist Gary Nichols, whose bandmates - fiddler and vocalist Tammy Rogers, banjoist Richard Bailey, mandolinist Brent Truitt and bassist and singer Mike Fleming - made the two-and-a-half hour trek from Nashville to Sheffield, Ala., to the NuttHouse Recording Studio to record 11 new original tunes, mostly written by Rogers and Nichols.

The music mixes soul, blues, bluegrass, R&B, country and rock. Isbell, Nichols' friend and musical compatriot since childhood, co-produced two of the 11 tracks and contributed slide guitar to two ("Brother John " and "Ashes of Yesterday").

Nichols wrote or co-wrote five of Shoals Recordings' songs, including the plaintive "Here She Goes," and the dark ballad "Brother John." Rogers has credits on five songs, including the waltz "Ashes of Yesterday" and the somber closer, "River Runs Red," a meditation on the Civil War. Richard Bailey composed the lone instrumental, "California Chainsaw." The one outlier on The Muscle Shoals Recordings is "Drinkin' Alone," a romp penned by Jay Knowles and former SteelDriver singer Chris Stapleton.

More news for The SteelDrivers

CD reviews for The SteelDrivers

Bad for You CD review - Bad for You
Throughout their existence of now more than a dozen years The SteelDrivers have been notable for their willingness to be a bluegrass band that ventures into a sort of musical "Twilight Zone," reaching across the void to draw a fervent following - "SteelHeads" - whose musical tastes and sensibilities often are more grounded in sounds ranging from hard-edged classic Delta blues to the iconic Southern rock of bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. »»»
The Muscle Shoals Recordings CD review - The Muscle Shoals Recordings
The SteelDrivers are a dynamic, driving bluegrass band, a five-piece with a sound and an approach completely their own. "The Muscle Shoals Recordings" is their fourth album and second featuring expressive lead vocalist Gary Nichols and mandolinist Brent Truitt alongside group founders Tammy Rodgers (fiddle), Richard Bailey (five-string banjo), and Mike Fleming (bass). Given Nichols' roots in the Alabama community, it is hardly a surprise that The SteelDrivers chose to record at »»»
Hammer Down CD review - Hammer Down
While you wouldn't know it from reading their press, there are many bluegrass bands with as good a back-story as The SteelDrivers, and as advanced songwriting and musicianship prowess, while having deeper professional bluegrass roots and longer track records with more significant lineup alterations over a relatively brief period of time. Not to begrudge The SteelDrivers notice they receive, sometimes it feels a bit over the top. But darn it, they know how to produce a mighty inspiring bluegrass album. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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