The SteelDrivers Unveil The Muscle Shoals Recordings

Apr 27, 2015

The SteelDrivers Unveil The Muscle Shoals Recordings

New Set Due Out June 16 Features Collaboration With Jason Isbell

Summer Tour Dates Announced

Rolling Stone Country Premieres “Brother John,” Listen Here

The SteelDrivers’ innovative, soulful brand of bluegrass has made them one of the most successful bands on the contemporary bluegrass scene. The band, which has earned three Grammy nominations and garnered tremendous critical acclaim, has announced their fourth album for Rounder, The Muscle Shoals Recordings, which will be released on June 16, 2015.

Rolling Stone Country is offering an exclusive premiere of “Brother John,” which features slide guitar by Jason Isbell, who also co-produced the track. Listen to it here:

The album is largely inspired by Muscle Shoals, an area of confluence and consequence, of intermingling, experimentation, and exultation, and a legendary music mecca. It’s also 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, Alabama, to the NuttHouse Recording Studio to record eleven new original tunes, mostly written by Rogers and Nichols.

There, they conjured a singularly compelling sound, drenched in soul, blues, bluegrass, R&B, country, and rock’n’roll. Jason Isbell – Nichols’ friend and musical compatriot since childhood, and himself an extraordinary singer, songwriter, and guitarist – co-produced two of the album’s 11 tracks and contributed slide guitar to two (the aforementioned “Brother John, ” and “Ashes of Yesterday”).

Gary Nichols has emerged as a vocalist of distinction, as a monster acoustic guitarist, and as a songwriting force who wrote or co-wrote five of Shoals Recordings’ 11 songs, including the plaintive “Here She Goes,” and the dark ballad “Brother John.” Tammy Rogers stepped up her songwriting as well, and she has credits on all but one of the album’s remaining songs, including the stirring waltz “Ashes of Yesterday,” and the somber, reflective album closer, “River Runs Red,” a meditation on the Civil War. Richard Bailey composed the lone instrumental, the joyous, rousing “California Chainsaw.” The one outlier on The Muscle Shoals Recordings is “Drinkin’ Alone,” a romp penned by Jay Knowles and former SteelDriver Chris Stapleton.

The SteelDrivers have inspired accolades from critics like NPR’s Ann Powers, who praised their “dazzling bluegrass musicianship,” and PopMatters’ Arnold Pan, who extolled the band’s “virtuosic ‘bluesgrass’ songs that take classic Americana instrumentation and give it an intense, soulful inflection.”

One thing is for sure: Nichols and the SteelDrivers speak in their own accent, one that charms and sears and beguiles. This is a band like no other, by inclination, but not by calculation.

Country Fried Rock

Jun 6, 2013

A hour long interview with Fleming about the history of the SteelDrivers and their musical influences.  Some great music!

“Maximize Your ‘Country Fried Rock–Music Uncovered’ Feature”


Elmore Magazine Album Review

Jan 21, 2013

Read the review on page 38 by visiting the link below!

Elmore Magazine

Wildy’s World Album Review

Jan 21, 2013

by Wildy Haskell

The Steeldrivers – Hammer Down
2013, Rounder Records

In a town like Nashville you have four strata of musicians: The mega-stars, the headliners, the session/side musicians and the hungry newcomers or hangers-on. Everyone knows the mega-stars, and most people would know a song or two from the headliners. The kids are still trying to find their place and the hangers on are the lifers who never ‘make it’ but never give up. In betwixt and between them all is perhaps the most talent and dedicated group of musicians you will ever find. These are the people who fill in the cracks on recordings for all of the above, from the new unknown working with an established songwriter to the biggest star on Music Row. They are the session players and touring musicians. These folks make their living playing music and supporting the muse of others.

Many of them play several instruments better than you or I will ever master one. Many of them are singers and songwriters and arrangers and producers and anything else they can learn to keep them near the music. Every once in a while one of these players will break out on his/her own. That’s a parallel for the story of The Steeldrivers: Five highly successful musicians who have spent their careers playing the music of others. Yet this dedicated group has been recording since 2006, and has become both critical darlings and crowd pleasers. The Steeldrivers have recorded individually with some of the biggest stars in all of popular music, yet when they come together as one organic whole something special happens. The Steeldrivers return on February 5, 2013 with Hammer Down, perhaps their most sonically perfect work to date.

Hammer Down kicks off on the toe-tapping bluegrass of “Shallow Grave”, featuring a memorable melody and exquisite vocal harmonies. That trend continues on “How Long Have I Been Your Fool”, which takes a classic theme of betrayal and reworks it in wonderfully tuneful fashion. “When You Don’t Come Home” completes a trio of dysfunctional or atypical relationship songs that open the album. This is the most infectious of the three, with primo vocals and some prodigious picking and fiddle playing involved as well.

“I’ll Be There” takes this theme on a new direction, exploring in melancholy overtones the expectation, born of heartbreak that things will come back around. The melody here is nothing short of gorgeous, and the violin solo seems inspired by the late, great Stephanne Grappelli. Another type of darkness infuses “Burning’ The Woodshed Down”. Lead vocalist Gary Nichols sounds a great deal like Trout Fishing In America’s Keith Grimwood, but perhaps never more than here. Perhaps even more intriguing, Tammy Rogers’ harmony vocals make it sound like Alison Krauss is sitting in.

“Wearin’ A Hole” is all about dancing (and drinking) as an escape from worldly troubles. It’s a feeling better song with a catchy mid-tempo arrangement that should make line dancers everywhere happy. “Lonesome Goodbye” is ripe with classic country melancholy. The brilliant melody is allowed to ride on the wave of an easy going arrangement that highlights its inherent beauty. The Steeldrivers launch next into the high energy bluegrass of “Hell On Wheels”, the story of a small town girl gone wild. Full of frenetic energy and frantic instrumental work, you’ll be jumping out of your seat when this little number comes on. “Cry No Mississippi” plays on the theme of falling out of love in a small town and having to see your former love on a regular basis. The bluesy folk arrangement is a perfect match for the pragmatic lyrics. Hammer Down comes to a close with the jaunty “When I’m Gone”, which features the distinct melodies, vocal harmonies and instrumental prowess that seems to define The Steeldrivers. It’s a sonically appealing way to say goodnight; one certain to bring listeners back for another go ’round.
The Steeldrivers suck you in and wrap you in their ever loving arms on Hammer Down. Ten songs chock full of classic country heartbreak and neurosis await you, wrapped in amazing bluegrass arrangements bursting with irresistible pop hooks. The chemistry here is amazing, and Hammer Down is a can’t miss listen.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Wildy's World

Concert Review: The SteelDrivers at The Hamilton

Aug 7, 2012

by Juli Thanki

It’s fitting that The SteelDrivers, with all their songs of murder and mayhem, would perform at a venue named after Alexander Hamilton, who infamously ended up on the wrong side of a bullet.

The ‘Drivers’ Sunday night show at The Hamilton, a new roots music venue in DC, was two fantastic hours of bluegrass punctuated with lots of humor (the evening’s ground rules, facetiously laid out by frontman Gary Nichols and fiddler Tammy Rogers: no drinking during gospel songs and…no gospel songs. Both rules were broken within minutes.).

Several surprises peppered the set list, which included a wide selection of cuts from the group’s self-titled record and 2010’sReckless. Rogers’ solo performance of “Gloryland” was a highlight, as was the fiddle and banjo tune “McEntire’s Rain” that she played with Richard Bailey. The band shared some material from their upcoming album, which will be released either late this year or in early 2013 – whenever it comes out, it’s not soon enough. “I’ll Be There,” a haunting, gorgeous ballad that Gary Nichols wrote with John Paul White of The Civil Wars sounds unlike anything else The SteelDrivers have recorded to date, while “When You Don’t Come Home,” a wronged-woman tale which finds Rogers singing “You can tell the truth to me or this .45,” received raucous approval from the packed house.

Though founding members Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson have left the band, the  music hasn’t suffered a bit. With Nichols’ raw vocals anchoring sublime harmony singing and stellar musicianship, The SteelDrivers are making some of their best music to date, and Sunday’s show proved that they’re one of the most entertaining live acts in bluegrass as well.

Engine 145

The SteelDriver’s received two Grammy Nominations for their Reckless CD on December 1st, 2010

Dec 21, 2010

1. Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group: ” Where Rainbows Never Die”

2. Best Bluegrass Album: “Reckless” The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards wiil be held on “GRAMMY Sunday,” Feb. 13, 2011, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on your local CBS network affliate.

SteelDrivers receive Grammy nomination!

Feb 21, 2009

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals On December 3rd, 2008 The SteelDrivers received a Grammy nomination for “Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group for their song “Blue Side of the Mountain”. The 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards were held on “GRAMMY Sunday,” Feb. 8, 2009, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

SteelDrivers Nominated for IBMA and AMA Awards

Jan 13, 2009

The SteelDrivers were nominated by the IBMA and AMA. The IBMA nominated them for Album of the year, Song of the Year and Emerging Artist of the year. The AMA nominated the SteelDrivers for Emerging Artist of the year. Thank you to all the members of the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Americana Music Association for your support!

  • An hour long radio interview with Fleming about the SteelDrivers.  Plenty of great music about our musical influences.

    “Maximize Your ‘Country Fried Rock–Music Uncovered’ Feature”


    - Country Fried Country
  • Loaded with assured and often inspired songwriting, conveyed with unfailingly superb musicianship.”

    - Jon Sobel, Blogcritics
  • They’re a blues, country, bluegrass, swagger band and they are brilliant.

    - Adele
  • I love how this band knows the rules enough to break them now and again. They show great taste and invention, using their own musical personalities and the basic building blocks of tradition to express some of the very best in modern bluegrass.

    - Tim O’Brien
  • I’m not sure this isn’t the best work The SteelDrivers have done yet.  In any event, it’s killer!

    - Kyle Cantrell, Bluegrass Junction
  • This [Hammer Down] is adventurous bluegrass, marrying traditional themes to ambitious and soulful music

  • The Steeldrivers suck you in and wrap you in their ever loving arms on Hammer Down.  Ten songs chock full of classic country heartbreak and neurosis await you, wrapped in amazing bluegrass arrangements bursting with irresistible pop hooks.  The chemistry here is amazing, and Hammer Down is a can’t miss listen.

    - WildysWorld
  • “I’ll Be There” is as energetic and scary as roots music gets, and it’s a highlight from the innovative bluegrass band’s third album, Hammer Down.

    - Ann Powers, NPR Music
  • The Steeldrivers put the Hammer Down with a vengeance on their new album… Unflinching honesty, real beauty, and incredible talent push these Steeldrivers to the forefront.

    - Hittin’ The Note
  • On their third album, the SteelDrivers continue to forge their own unique path in the world of bluegrass/acoustic music.