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Ratings and reviews for The SteelDrivers

Ratings and reviews for The SteelDrivers
4.9
based on 47 rating(s)
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Price: $17.98 $15.49 (26% off)
Trade In Value: $0.25
Artist(s): The Steeldrivers
Release Date: 1/15/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 1/15/2008
Binding: Audio CD
Format: CD
Region Code: 1
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Rounder
Manufacturer: Rounder
Product Group: Music
Genre: Country
Sales Rank: 2278
Description: With one foot in the field and the other in the factory, The SteelDrivers are a beacon beaming their own version of rhythm'n'bluegrass far across the musical landscape. Highly regarded behind the scenes as songsmiths and session men - with innumerable hits, cuts, and licks to their credit - The SteelDrivers are stepping out at long last. In their ten capable hands, back-country high-lonesome collides with Delta soul, resulting in the freshest sound to emerge from Music City in recent memory. Via eleven original songs, their debut album offers revealing new takes on classic themes of redemption and loss, hope and home delivered with urgency and heart. The SteelDrivers are Richard Bailey, Mike Fleming, Mike Henderson, Tammy Rogers, and Chris Stapleton. "Really soulful bluegrass, with great songs. An incredible combination." -Vince Gill
UPC: 011661059825

Ratings
Reviews 1 to 10 of 47
Pageof 5
amazon logo A Breath of Fresh Air in the Bluegrass Scene!
...contemporary bluegrass is such a fertile field right now, with so many new styles, sounds, and ideas complimenting the timeless and traditional core that underpins the music. But even in such a rich community, these guys stand out. So much so that I hesitate to pigeonhole them as bluegrass at all...this is some sort of stringband country soul -- hillbilly r'n'b or something. I can't put my finger on it, and that's what I love about it.

Most reviewers are quick to point out Chris Stapleton's voice, which is riviting and unusual in an acoustic context: a sandpaper-roughened bluesy belt that never sacrifices the soul of the song in favor of histrionics.

But the whole band is greater than the sum of its already-formidable parts: Tammy Rodgers (remember her great duo album with Don Heffington "In the Red"? Buy it now!) nails the high harmonies and comes up with fiddle breaks that are melodic and organic but still surprising; Mike Henderson (you should buy all his Dead Reckoning albums with the Bluebloods, too) keeps the backbeat sharp with his mandolin and tosses in some great Monroe-ish funky solos; banjo vet Richard Bailey is so tasteful, his licks (smoothly blending melodic and Scruggs styles) always complimenting what is going on and never overwhelming it; and Mike Fleming drives it all with his big bass sound and smooth baritone vocals.

As fine as the musicianship is, this is a song band, and these tracks (mostly by Stapleton and Henderson) are all gems: clear and vivid portraits of heartbreak, struggle, and regret. Some have been cut by country acts (Chris has had two #1 hits in the past year, Henderson and Rodgers have both had big chart success as songwriters), but they are reborn here as stringband stomps and are all the better for it. I hate to pick favorites, but if you really don't have much time, check out "Midnight Train to Memphis," "Heaven Sent," and "East Kentucky Home," the latter a very clever variation (particularly the chord changes) on the vintage bluegrass homesickness theme.

Words ain't enough folks -- plunk down the dough and go for it!
29 of 29 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Creative advance for bluegrass revival
While I have welcomed the revived enthusiasm for bluegrass in the last few years, I have heard little that moved beyond earnest homage, and few new songs in the genre were memorable. The Steeldrivers mark a creative advance on both counts.

The playing is exceptional -- dead-on and driving while eschewing ostentacious virtuosity. Chris Stapleton's growling, bluesy voice is certainly a departure from bluegrass norms, but an apt complement to the traditional instrumentation. But the songs are what distinguish The Steeldrivers' debut. The lyrics and hooks are fresh and moving, without cliché or pointless noodling.

My only disappointment is Mike Henderson's sublimated role here. He co-wrote eight of the 11 songs, and I have to believe that his powerhouse blues background is largely responsible for this band's distinctive hard-edged sound. But for a musician of his renown, his mandolin licks rarely stand out here. I look for him to step out a little more on The Steeldrivers' next release.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo No-frills, hard drivin' workingman's music
I'm not a real big fan of bluegrass but I am a big fan of SteelDriver. Where this group pulls away from the pack is with the focus on songwriting, singing and soul.

Stapleton has written #1 hits for Kenny Chesney and Josh Turner and the band is an assembly of seasoned session musicians from Music City.

Toss all of this together with a raspy, kick-a$$ singer and you get some no-frills, hard drivin' workingman's music at it's best.


14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Very original sound
I highly recommend this CD. The band is bluegrass oriented, but they sound (mostly because of the harmonies) like no one else. Listen to the free mp3 clips, and you will understand. The instrumentation and song selection (writing) are great. I'm hoping I get to see them soon live.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo The SteelDrivers Put the Blues Into Bluegrass Music
The SteelDrivers self-titled album will be released on Rounder Records in mid January. When that happens, the music community is going to get a surprise. Here's a band that puts the blues into bluegrass. This is a new experience and a new sound to acoustic music. Take a bit of rock-a-billy, blues, honky-tonk and traditional bluegrass. Put them into a big black cast iron pot on high heat and you get a hot mix of a new blues grassy sound.

From the start of the album, you know this isn't going to be another typical album of acoustic music. This is something new, unique and refreshing. A sound with a different beat, a different mix but using the same old instruments. This is also a sound that has enough relevance and familiarity that you will instantly be able to relate to it even though, it is something you've not heard before.

If you are looking for a traditional bluegrass album, this is not it. If you're looking for newgrass, this is not it. If you're looking for progressive grass, this isn't it. But, if you're looking to find the blues in bluegrass, you've found what you're looking for with The SteelDrivers. Bluegrass is based on the blues but the blues seem long gone from the genre. The SteelDrivers bring it back together with this exciting release. There is something personal and alive with this band that has been missing from the music scene for some time.

While the lively pickin' of bluegrass is here in songs like "If You Can't Be Good, Be Gone" and "Hear the Willow Cry", it is songs like the opening "Blue Side of the Mountain" and "To Be With You Again" that carry the soul of this album -- blues+bluegrass=SteelDrivers. The artistry of placing blues and bluegrass together using traditional instruments is a unique combination. A combination that is both refreshing as it is entertaining.

And, these artists are the SteelDrivers:

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", Richard has performed with Bill Monroe, Roland White, Vassar Clements, Loretta Lynn, Chet Akins 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
Mike Fleming lays down the firm foundation and sings the baritone harmony to round out the SteelDriver's sound. A versatile veteran, 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 on the Nashville scene. He has recorded with such artist 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, Nitty Gritty Dirt band and many others. Mike's songs have been recorded by a number of acts including 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
Tammy Rogers has a life spent in music. 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. No stranger to the studio, she has recorded with many top artists, among them: Neil Diamond, Wynonna, Rodney Crowell, Radney Foster, Bill Anderson, Iris Dement, Randy Scruggs, Patty Loveless, Buddy & Julie Miller, Jim Lauderdale and others. Tammy 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
Chris Stapleton is a rising star on the Nashville scene. The Paintsville, Kentucky native whose powerful "sandpaper to silk" voice helps give the SteelDrivers their distinctive sound has recorded with Daryl Worley, Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, Trent Wilmon, James Otto and others. As a songwriter, his compositions have been covered by many popular artists including 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. In addition, Chris recently scored a number one single, "Your Man" by Josh Turner.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo "Blues" Grass!! This pure greatness to the ears.
I was driving down the road here in Winchester, KY and heard music that had the hair on the back of my neck standing up! I heard a song about a man spending 40 days, and 40 nights in a jail cell listening to that "Midnight Train to Memphis", and knew right then and there I MUST have this. Luckily I heard it on XM radio. The name of the band was in lights, and I told my lady to remember the name so I can be sure to get this. I get home to find out The Steeldrivers album is a month away. I'm here to say it was well worth the wait. The sound of this music is what I like to call "Blues" Grass. I don't know if that term has ever been used, but man it sure suits this. Chris Stapleton roars with a voice that is VERY rare in this world, and an amazing band to back him. When you hear him you know it's him. His range, and style is unreal. He makes me ashamed to even open my mouth and utter a single note! This is the best stuff I've heard since The Black Crowes hit the scene in the early to mid 90's.

This is so unique and so refreshing, especially seeing the state of music these days, that I'd replace this 20 times if i lost it 20 times it's that good. JT IS TO THE BASS WHAT DOLEMITE IS TO PIMPIN'!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Off-center bluegrass
I came to this cd as a long-time fan of Mike Henderson, a true genius who has never been associated with anything but excellent music. "Steeldrivers" is no exception. Of course, the musicianship is out-of-this-world, you expect that with bluegrass, but what really separates this record from most of the others is the quality of the songs which are all just slightly "off-center".
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo The Best!
This cd is going to be one of my favorites, if not my #1 favorite! It has the two types of music I love most blended into one sound-blues and bluegrass. The voices blend beautifully and the songs are just awesome, especially "Sticks That Make Thunder."

If you buy only one new bluegrass cd this year, buy this one!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Wow!
I started listening to Bluegrass intensely about 2 years ago and everytime my daughter or wife gets into my truck, I am forced to change the XM off of Bluegrass to mainstream country because they complain. I popped this album in the CD player and they don't complain at all. Why? Is this less Bluegrass and more mainstream? I don't think so. I think it's Chris Stapleton's awesome voice that has won them over.

What attracted me to the album in the first place was "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey" and the simple truth of the lyrics "It'll loosen your tongue but don't never tell the truth." But over time, my favorite song has become the mournfull "Sticks that Made Thunder".
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo The Steeldrivers are amazing!
I heard The Steeldrivers on the Opry on saturday night and immediatly came to amazon to order their cd. They were absolutely riveting.I was blown away by "drinking dark whiskey" from the opry show but they have other songs just as good or better. I was mesmerized by "sticks that made thunder" and played it back several times. Peoople will be hearing more and more about this inspired group. I'll let everyone else categorize their sound. I just know what I like - and I love them. It feels good to be this excited about music again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.

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