HOMETOWN ENTERTAINMENT: SteelDrivers performing two shows this weekend at The Harvester

The Grammy award-winning bluegrass group plans to work on new music after its current tour wraps up
Band's bluegrass sound is also blended with blues, rock and Americana
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:55 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -The SteelDrivers formed in 2005 with lead singer Chris Stapleton, starting out playing at bluegrass festivals.

“But as we started doing more of our original tunes, we realized that we had something that was a little special,” says bassist Mike Fleming.

Something special indeed. The SteelDrivers eventually signed a record deal, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2008.

Grammy nominations followed. But so did the first of many departures from the band.

In 2010, Stapleton announced he was leaving to focus on his family.

“You know, I won’t lie. It was unbelievably difficult,” says fiddler Tammy Rogers.

Despite that huge blow to the band, members say they’re proud of Stapleton’s success as a multiple Grammy- winning singer-songwriter.

“You know, I think enough time has passed, certainly now, and the fact that he’s gone on to become a one-in-a-million superstar that you know, we’re all friends,” says Rogers.

The SteelDrivers have certainly kept rolling, with the addition of new band members over the years. And after a few Grammy nominations, the band got a win for its 2015 album, “The Muscle Shoals Recordings.”

Their style, they say, is a mashup of blues, rock, Americana and bluegrass.

“Everybody had played different types of music, so when we got together, we had these bluegrass instruments, but some of the songs didn’t sound like bluegrass,” says Fleming.

Rogers says they’re the “gateway band” to bring fans into the world of bluegrass music.

“It’s always amazed me how many people come to our concerts and say ‘you’re the only bluegrass band that we listen to’,” says Rogers.

Local fans can see The SteelDrivers in concert not once, but twice this weekend. They’re playing at The Harvester Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m.

Fleming says it’s a venue they enjoy.

“Having people up on you, feels like a living room almost. You’re real close to him and we just bring them in with us, and they’ll sing our songs, which is interesting, too,” says Fleming.

Through all its lineup changes, the band has kept true to what brought it together in the first place, creating a lasting appreciation for bluegrass :music.

“That’s really satisfying to me to feel like yes, we’re honoring this truly American art form of music, but we’re also allowing it to grow and become something really current,” says Rogers.

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