Friends, don’t look now, but here comes The Steel Woods for round 2, and I hope y’all have tied down your possessions, and your friends and neighbors because they came to blow us all away. “Old News”, the group’s sophomore album, is set for release January 19th and we’re here with a comprehensive look at this badass new record ahead of the big day!
The first track, “All Of These Years” opens with a bang, unapologetically reaching out through the speakers and grabbing the listener and drawing them into it’s rowdy, heavy riffs. The song is the perfect tone setter for what excites the seasoned Steel Woods fan, but it also serves as a good “how do you do?” for first time listeners.
The second track changes gears and exposes the depth and that The Steel Woods are capable of achieving in their songs by slowing things down and bearing the soul of the band in “Without You”, a song about moving on when “She’s lying in another man’s arms, wearing his ring.” It’s a strong track that tugs at the emotions and establishes the The Steel Woods are more than just a rowdy rocking band that pushes the pace and hauls ass with edge.
Track #3 shows off yet more of the band’s talent and depth with a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes”. It is hardly the first cover in their catalog, or on this record, but it serves as a reminder that when The Steel Woods cover someone else’s songs they know how to make it their own. The vocals of Wes Bayliss shine through on the track with the kind of heart and soul a song like “Changes” deserves. The accompanying music fleshes out the track differentiating it from the very quiet and melodic original Sabbath take.
These first three tracks sum up this album perfectly. It will make you rock and roll, it will make you sit down and truly absorb what it has to offer, and it’s going to give you something you already know in a brand new way like you’ve never heard before. The album is a robust 15 songs, and there isn’t a weak link among them. I’m going to get away from walking you through the album track by track on this one, because this is an album that, on the strength of those first 3 songs, WILL draw you into taking it’s journey.
“Compared To A Soul” comes out setting an ominous tone of what can happen in the heat of the moment. The track draws the listener in, catching their attention with exceptional storytelling, and then turns the volume up to 11, rocking them hard with it’s rowdy chorus.
The title track, “Old News” is a look at us all. A look at how we use the world around us to divide ourselves, and a call to look beyond all of that for the good of us all. “‘Cause I’d hate to think that you think I hate you, and I hate the thought of you hating me too, so let’s hash it all out till we’re red, white, and blue, ’cause I’d hate to think that thinking is old news.” A wonderful song with a meaningful message, delivered for the good of us all.
The album features a tribute to the late great Wayne Mills with a cover of “One Of These Days” from his 2010 album “The Last Honky Tonk”. The track opens with a simple acoustic guitar followed by heavy steel guitar, setting the stage for something deep. The song is ode to friends passed on, and a promise to keep their dreams alive. “One of these days I’ll fly to the moon, one of these days I’ll have nothing to prove. One of these days I’ll get out of this place, yeah I’m gonna be somebody one of these days. One of these days. The track carries a special weight to it. Wayne Mills left this world like the friends he sang about, and now years later The Steel Woods are helping make sure what he fought for while he was here is realized. Bringing tears to my eyes this was a masterful tribute to someone who would have gone on to be a leader of this movement had he not been taken from us early.
“Old News” is a fantastic journey. It’s wide array of sounds and style provide something that every listener can jump into headfirst and get lost in. An absolutely exceptional record from a band that truly has no limits, mixing a rich blend of southern rock, country, and blues, sewing it all together with heart and soul. The high bar that The Steel Woods set with 2017’s “Straw In The Wind” has no doubt been surpassed with “Old News”.
A must-have of 2019, “Old News” releases Friday!
Visit https://thesteelwoods.com/ to order your copy of “Old News” and check out all the upcoming live dates for The Steel Woods.