Six Minutes, Six Questions With The Steel Woods

Six Minutes, Six Questions With The Steel Woods
NWA Democrat-Gazette

Southern rockers The Steel Woods stop by George’s Majestic Lounge at 9 p.m. March 7 in support of their new album “Old News,” out in January. In just two years since their debut album, the band has built a loyal and passionate fan-base through their road warrior touring mentality and explosive live shows. Here, the band took a few minutes to answer these questions for The Free Weekly ahead of their visit:

Q. Congratulations on the new album! What can you tell me about the process for this album and how it varied from “Straw In The Wind?” And how do you feel you’ve evolved creatively since the debut album?

A. The main difference between this record and “Straw In The Wind” is that it was mostly cut live. A couple of rooms, a bunch of mics, and four guys playing together always makes for a much more real sound. After two years of heavy touring with the same guys, you start to kind of read each other’s minds which makes playing together as one unit much more natural than when we started this thing.

I think we’ve honed in on our sound, although, if you asked us what that sound is, none of us would have an answer. We just write, sing, and play what we think is good and don’t let the idea of where we fit in or what radio stations are gonna play it get in the way of our creativity.

Q. What stories did you want to tell with “Old News?” Did you set out with a specific idea in mind or did the narratives reveal themselves to you throughout the process?

A. For us, an album is written over time. The songs just come when they come so we couldn’t have known from the first thoughts of this record what the end result or overall theme would be, but I guess you could say we had a general idea. We just want to make music that means something and I think we’ve achieved that with this one. Some will say there’s a darkness in our music because of the subject matter, but with that is always a positive message. We would never want to cut down anyone who may think or believe differently but encourage the ones who are standing up for the things that are most important.

Q. Wide Open Country called you, “Torchbearers for a new generation of southerners raised on rock, country, soul and everything in between.” What does that legacy of southern rock, or outlaw country mean to you?

A. We all come from different backgrounds and our combined influences cover most all genres. I spent the better part of my childhood on a bus with my family’s southern gospel band so there’s nothing that could replace the things I learned about music at such a young age. With so many of the greats dying off and such little variety in the mainstream, it’s hard to know what our kids might be listening to when they’re our age. Having said that, I think there are still a lot of great artists who are keeping the roots alive and we are glad to hear that people think we are one of them.

Q. Tell me about the tribute songs on the album. What did the loss of these icons mean to you and what compelled you to make these tributes part of the arc of “Old News?”

A. The idea was to pay tribute to some of the ones who have paved the way for bands like us to do what we are doing. We put the tribute songs in the order in which the artists have passed, at the end of the record (in the back of the paper) and were originally calling that section the Obituaries. I just think we should be taking every opportunity to give credit where credit is due and it happened to make sense on this one.

Q. Have there been any surprising or particularly meaningful responses to the new material?

A. The response we have gotten from “Old News” has been overwhelming. From the fans to the press, everyone has such good things to say. I’m sure there are those who don’t like it but they must be keeping it to themselves. It is surprising sometimes, this record is like our kid and we think it’s good but how are we to know how others will see it. Every mama thinks she has the most beautiful baby in the world but sometimes they are wrong and the rest of the world sees an ugly baby… we’re so glad people think our kid is cute.

Q. What can you tell me about the live experience and how these songs translate to the stage?

A. Of course we try to play the songs like the record, but even in the short time we’ve been playing the new ones at shows, some things may happen organically one night and get repeated the next, so they’re always evolving into the live versions. Not to mention, the recorded versions are typically heard at a reasonable volume on your Bluetooth speaker or car stereo which is not always the case at our live shows.


Photo credit: Alyssa Gafkjen
The Steel Woods perform at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville at 9 p.m. March 7.


The Steel Woods

WHEN — 7 p.m. March 7

WHERE — George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville

COST — $12-$15


Categories: Music