The Steepwater Band’s brand new LP Grace and Melody represents the evolution of a genuine, hard-working rock n’ roll band unwilling to compromise the integrity of their musical values. The album is vital and optimistic; a fresh sound borne of classic influences but zero nostalgia.
The Steepwater Band formed in Chicago in 1998 ignited by a passion for the city's electric blues. The power trio who quickly progressed from covering Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker to writing compelling originals has crafted a rock n' roll sound best described as heavy Americana. For a decade the band has gigged relentlessly, performing nearly 125 shows per year and bringing their songbook of gritty Delta blues, soulful boogie, and backwoods psychedelia to audiences across the States and abroad.
The creative energy of the band's live shows has earned them a loyal fan base and critical acclaim. Jeff Massey performs with a passion that can belie his virtuosity. His masterful guitar work, often featuring slide, has won the respect of many modern guitar luminaries. The rhythm section's rock-solid interplay provides a foundation which liberates Massey's lead work: Joe Winters swings beats with total command of his ferocity while Tod Bowers rolls out bass lines with the loose-boogie sensibility of Ronnie Lane and a knack for carrying the melody. Years of musical collaboration allow the band to play together tautly without sacrificing spontaneity.
The Steepwater Band has released three full-length records, their last being Revelation Sunday (Diamond Day 2006), and each album has garnered substantial radio airplay across the Midwest, including on Chicago's influential WXRT. The trio regularly headlines such prestigious Chicago venues as the Metro and the Double Door while expanding their touring base throughout the Midwest and beyond. They have shared the stage with acts as diverse as Buddy Guy, Wilco, Gov't Mule, Cheap Trick, The Redwalls, Taj Mahal, Bon Jovi, Rose Hill Drive, Bad Company, King’s X, Drive-By Truckers, and Heart. In 2005, the band made its European debut, performing at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, and returned the following two years for club-and-festival tours to heavily attended shows.
It was a serendipitous meeting at a Black Crowes concert that brought friends Winters and Bowers together with Massey. A decade later in May ‘08, the three found themselves in California recording Grace and Melody, their fourth full-length studio album, with Grammy winner Marc Ford as producer-the musician widely regarded as The Black Crowes' finest guitarist and integral to their prime years. The Steepwater Band met Ford while sharing a bill at a festival in Spain in the summer of '07. They invited Ford to sit in on Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," a song banned in Spain for years. A friendship was forged and Ford expressed interest in collaborating with the band shortly after producing the critically acclaimed debut album from Ryan Bingham, Mescalito (Lost Highway 2007).
Grace and Melody was recorded in just nine days at the organic and inspiring Compound Studios in Long Beach, California. With Ford's direction, the band dug deeper into the swamp and grit of their past records while exploring new influences that give the new record a fresh sound. From the top-down catchiness of "Lord Knows," to the extended guitar jam of "Waiting To Be Offended," to the hypnotic bounce of "Healer" and Lennonesque strum of "One Way Ride," this album runs the gamut of rock n’ roll roots with progressive style. Songwriting has long been a strength for The Steepwater Band, but it has never been more palpable than on Grace and Melody.