The Steepwater Band’s 2004 release, Dharmakaya, was a very strong effort, and this is an equally strong followup. The band is a modern version of the classic rock trio many grew up loving. The boys also grew up on those bands, and their own music conveys lots of hard blues and country. They put it into a fine mix that, while sounding familiar, creates its own musical space.
Guitarist/vocalist Jeff Massey powers these tracks with his big sound; the stomping “Mercy” has enough big, aggressive guitars to fill auditoriums for weeks. Throw in some wah and a little duet solo between Massey and drummer Joseph Winters, and you’ve got rock heaven. “Collision” offers up some of the variety that most trios never approach. It’s a pop-rocker with big-sounding slide and a subdued midsection with dreamy guitar that recalls 1971. “Steel Sky” is quintessential trio rock with a great lyric and slide that sounds bigger than the Grand Canyon. “Halo” is a ballad with a country feel and terrific bass from Tod Bowers. Massey gets to go solo on “Slow Train Drag,” where he unplugs and plays the country blues like he grew up on the Delta. The tune leads into “Indiana Line,” which opens with electric and acoustic guitar before yet another big slide solo. Massey adds a little more variety, with big double- and-triple-string bends and booming bass notes on the solo out.
The Steepwater Band is one of the simple joys of music – just straightforward rock and roll, done with precision, passion, and soul.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.