Friday night the Golden Nugget hosted country music legend Dwight Yoakum. If you have ever seen Dwight live (or on TV) you know, the man from Bakersfield is one of a kind. No one does what he does, the way he does…period.
The posted show time for the concert was 8:30 pm. Tonight though there was an opening act playing before Dwight Yoakam. At 7:40 pm, as a handful of early birds were finding their seats the rising country act The Steel Woods hit the stage to play a short but impressive set.
This was to be a sold-out show tonight, but when The Steel Woods played the first notes of their song, “Axe”, there was only a handful of warm bodies to bear witness. When the singer/guitarist Wes Bayliss walked onto the stage, I thought the ghost of Ronnie Van Zant had entered the room but when I first heard his voice I looked around for the ghost of Waylon Jennings instead.
In the May 2017 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, The Steel Woods were named top 10 new country artists to watch. They originally hail from Alabama and North Carolina, but call Nashville home. Lead guitar player Jason “Rowdy” Cope has made the rounds as an LA and Nashville session player and spent nearly a decade as Jamey Johnson’s tele slayer.
The solid rhythm section consists of Johnny Stanton on “Fender” bass and Jay Tooke on drums and both also sing backup vocals. Besides the aforementioned song Axe, another standout track on their debut album Straw in the wind is the ballad, “I’m Gonna Love You.” It is not hard to compare this song to Alabama or Travis Tritt.
If you notice a pattern with all the comparisons to some of rock and country’s best bands from decades past, this cannot be escaped, and should not be. This band has an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach.” They are a “Right turn Clyde” in the current pool of slick, pop, bubblegum (country?) music that dominates the country airwaves.
Bands like this are keeping the “real” country music spirit alive. Had these guys been active in the 1970’s and 80’s, they would have fit in fine right alongside 38 special, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels, and Allman Brothers.
Everyone was there to see a Dwight Yoakum performance and Dwight Yoakum did what he does best, he put on a fine show. The dirty little secret is that only a handful of guests were able to enjoy The Steel Woods set. The vast majority of the audience had no they might have missed the highlight of the night. Remember the early bird gets the worm.
The Steel Woods: http://thesteelwoods.com/
Article: Tracy McGinnis