May 2017. A Southern rock band from Nashville, “The Steel Woods” was releasing its first album, “Straw in the wind“. Jason “Rowdy” Cope, guitarist and cofounder of the band, had worked with country artist Jamey Johnson. Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega was making a guest vocal appearance.

One year and a half later, on January 18th, The Steel Woods released their second album, “Old news“. With this amazing album, we can say that the band is a brilliant successor of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allmann Brothers Band, and proudly represents the tradition of the Southern Rock. But “Old News” is definitely not the album of a genre. Its incursion into country, blues and funk and its impressive artistic quality put this album in a great position when will arrive the moment for 2019 awards.

This is a long album (more than one hour), that includes 15 songs, 6 of them being covers of famous past songs. Each one of these songs reveals the creativity of the band.

The first song released (with an excellent music video), in early December of 2018, is a brilliant cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents“. Wes Bayliss’s performance is impressive. The singer shows all his talent. His voice brings this song to a stratospheric level.

Wherever you are” is undoubtedly the best song of the album, in my opinion. It’s brilliant, catchy, powerful and its fiddle solo moments are just incredible. We’ll surely remember this song when the moment will have arrived to choose the 2019 best songs.

I also appreciated a lot “Blind lover“. It’s an awesome song, with a funky touch and a brilliant use of all the instruments. When listening to this song, there were some moments when I was thinking about Prince. I don’t know if I’m the only one who felt that.

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Rock that says my name” is a very powerful and catchy song, with excellent guitar riffs.

Country music is very present, not only with “Wherever you are” but also with excellent covers of Merle Haggard’s “Are the good times really over” and Wayne Mills’ “One of these days“, and with brilliant “Anna Lee“. We enjoyed these songs and the perfect use of pedal steel.

Compared to a soul“, “All of these years” and instrumental “Red river” are all excellent and powerful songs.

Three other covers are excellent. We have, of course, the awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes“, and the one of Townes Van Zandt’s “Catfish song“. But definitely, the most impressive cover, along with Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents”, is the cover of Greg Hallmann’s “Whipping post“. It’s absolutely amazing. Johnny Stanton shows all his talent with his perfect use of the bass.

With “Old news“, no doubt that Southern Rock is more alive than ever. For our pleasure!

Nicolas Davelu