Album Review: The Steel Woods - “Straw in The Wind”

There are few bands who have made music as good as The Steel Woods do on this, their debut album.

To steal a line from Mark Twain, the reports of Rock Music’s death has been greatly exaggerated. It’s just moved south to country music. Take the Steel Woods for example. Blending the Southern-fried rock of a Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Allman Brothers with the intense, raw sounds of a Soundgarden or a Pearl Jam, The Steel Woods make a case that rock n roll is alive and well on their debut album Straw In The Wind.

Opener “Axe” certainly feels like a southern fried Chris Cornell (RIP) tune with the way front man Wes Bayliss emotes the lyrics with some bluegrass-y angst. It wouldn’t have felt outta place in an episode of Justified or even a penultimate scene of The Walking Dead. The band has swagger and nothing could prepare country rock fans for a countrified version of Black Sabbeth’s “Hole In The Sky” but dammit if it doesn’t work when a talented band takes a great song and brings it to a newer audience.

The Black Crowes-like “Better In The Fall” is only bested by the murder ballad with atmosphere a-plenty with a story on top of it with passionate vocals and classic angst-building melodies. Damn. What a song. The Southern Gothic “The Secret” is passionate and powerful while another cover, this time Darrell Scott’s “Uncle Lloyd” allows the band (which features Jason Cope, Jay Took and Johnny Stanton in addition to Wes Bayliss) to truly shine. There’s really nothing better than listening to music get reinvented in unique ways as The Steel Woods prove Rock N Roll is alive and well with Straw In The Wind proof.