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Hammer Down

The SteelDrivers

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Album Review

On their third album, the SteelDrivers continue to forge their own unique path in the world of bluegrass/acoustic music. They play music that sounds like bluegrass on the surface, but they usually eschew the high lonesome harmonies of traditional bluegrass for a more mainstream approach that often sounds like hardcore country gone acoustic. New guitarist Gary Nichols' lead vocals owe as much to rock as they do to country and bluegrass, and the subject matter wanders far astray of the usual concerns of bluegrass traditions. Everyone in the band is a seasoned Nashville vet, so while they never sound like they're trying to consciously stretch the limits of bluegrass, they do so just by being themselves. "Wearin' a Hole" is a hardcore country drinkin' song full of heartache and booze, with Richard Bailey's banjo playing what would be a guitar solo on a country track. The harmonic banjo and fiddle hook makes "Burnin' the Woodshed Down" a standout. It turns the usual lament about hard times inside-out when the singer decides to vent his anger with an act of arson. Nichols strikes an R&B chord on "Cry No Mississippi," a kiss-off to a faithless lover from a lover who holds his head up high as he tells her he "won't beg or crawl" or "cry no Mississippi." The opener, "Shallow Grave," is the closest the band comes to traditional bluegrass; it's an old-fashioned murder ballad that sounds like it's 200 years old, with Tammy Rogers contributing wailing lonesome fiddling and Bailey adding his desolate banjo picking. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Great music, if you like any Steeldrivers or good ole bluegrass, It doesn't get much better than this. This album has everything from fast mind blowing pickin to heart felt lyrics with great harmony... Love it, Steelhead for life!

Hammer Down

Man I miss Chris Stapleton in a big way, but its a good album and I will always be fan. You just can't beat staple tons voice.


I do miss Chris stapelton by this is still an amazing album. I love everything about this band. Seen them live several times and they blow me away every time and this album is just great


Formed: 2005 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Specializing in a unique mix of what might be called bluegrass soul, the SteelDrivers have featured a group of veteran Nashville session players including Richard Bailey on banjo, Mike Fleming on bass, Mike Henderson on mandolin, Tammy Rogers on fiddle, and Chris Stapleton on guitar and lead vocals. Stapleton's bluesy, hoarse, and Tom Waits-like singing really set the SteelDrivers apart in the often generic contemporary bluegrass genre, where a high and lonesome tenor lead vocal is typically heard....
Full Bio
Hammer Down, The SteelDrivers
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Customer Ratings


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