When listening to The Steel Woods’ new album, ‘Old News’, the influences are clear from the opening line of the first track, ‘All of These Years’. If you mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers somewhere in the middle you would arrive at this record. Lyrically it may sound familiar to fans of Chris Stapleton with mortality being at the forefront of the storytelling.
Essentially ‘Old News’ is about being an American, from the musical influences to the actual storytelling. The album relies mainly on Southern blues and rock, although there are clear influences from bluegrass, folk, and gospel, all highly evident throughout the record. The title track of the album stands out, where the current state of America is in the forefront of the song, Lady Liberty being the main source of imagery for it: “And the crack in Her bell/There’s a tear in Her eye/But Her arm hasn’t fell.” The song is basically about hope – although the US is a very divided country, its fundamental values are still what the majority in the country want (basically to be free), and this is heavily highlighted with their album cover as well.
“The Catfish Song” –originally by Townes Van Zandt, with the vocals of Wes Bayliss does sound quite similar to the likes of Greg Allman and having The Allman Brothers inspired music throughout the album it does make it clear that they have been a strong influence when it comes to this record, which is then showed once again with their cover of “Whipping Post”
This is a great sophomore album from The Steel Woods – strong Southern rock guitar music and an excellent vocalist, a great album to start the year with.