Album review: THE STEEL WOODS – Old News

Thirty Tigers [Release date 18.01.19]

The Steel Woods released their debut album ‘Straw In The Wind’ in 2017. ‘Old News’ (for that retro feel it is also released as a double vinyl) sees the band’s main songwriters Wes Bayliss (vocals, guitars) and Jason ‘Rowdy’ Cope (guitars) joined by the rhythm section of drummer Jay Tooke and bassist Johnny Saunton in the song writing duties.

Wes Bayliss has that classic slow, drawling vocal that makes southern rock/country so fine. He pours plenty of emotion into ‘Wherever You Are’, backed by fine guitar playing and a groove filled rhythm. Their version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Changes’ is another stand out. There are six covers out of the fifteen songs on the album, however they give each one their own unique touch and they all fit well with the overall sound of their original music.

The title track is a song of hope, again the singing is a stand out, along with the guitars. Totally different is the upbeat bluegrass of ‘Anna Lee’, a real toe tapper, whilst ‘Rock That Says My Name’ is a six minute musical manifesto that sets out what the Steel Woods do – southern rock with a distinct country air.

They pay homage to four of their musical heroes that have passed including a simply stunning version of Tom Petty’s ‘Southern Accents’. The others are Greg Allman via ‘Whipping Post’, Wayne Mills’s ‘One Of These Days’ and Merle Haggard on ‘Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver)’.

The Steel Woods have set 2019′s bar very high for southern rock/country rock with ‘Old News’, a glorious set of songs that carry on the spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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