Wes Bayliss and Jason “Rowdy” Cope, co-founders of the Steel Woods, are a pair of hirsute, Southern-bred musicians who met while performing on the same bill at a Nashville nightclub. This led to fishing trips to Kingston Springs, Tennessee, where acoustic guitars eventually commandeered space alongside bait and tackle.
Balancing lyrical tenderness with a propulsive, Skynyrd-esque guitar solo from Cope (formerly of Jamey Johnson’s band), Bayliss sings of getting things done “with a flower or a gun” on “I’m Gonna Love You,” from the group’s stellar forthcoming debut album, Straw in the Wind. (Listen to the song’s premiere below.)
“I wrote a song called ‘Long Road’ a few years ago about me and my wife taking chances and leaving our town,” explains Bayliss. “I never did anything with the song until Jason approached me with a song idea called ‘I’m Gonna Love You,’ and it just so happened that the chorus I had written years earlier for ‘Long Road’ was a perfect fit.”
Straw in the Wind, which features a guest vocal by Lindi Ortega and a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky,” is set for a May 19th release. The hard-hitting Southern-rock band, rounded out by drummer Jay Tooke and bassist Johnny Stanton, is currently on the road and will play the House of Blues in Cleveland tonight.