Steelwind: F5 Album Review
Oklahoma City – Steelwind is an Oklahoma based bluegrass band that was formed in 2009, featuring Blake Parks (fiddle, vocals), Michael Henneberry (guitar, vocals), Adam Davis (dobro), Jim Blair (banjo), Sam Parks (mandolin), and Kenny Parks (upright bass). Their bio says: “The original sounds of Steelwind will take you on a timeless ride down lonesome highways and into the mountains while feeling an adventurous wind at your back”, which I think sums it up rather nicely. The band’s first album The Sound of a Train was released in 2010, and their new album F5 coming out this month. It was recorded at 33rd Street Studio with Tyler Garcia, and contains 10 songs for your listening pleasure.
“Hazel” opens up the album, it’s a fun little love song, full of great instrumentals. The bluegreass style is both comfortingly traditional and full of spunk, it makes you want to move right away. The layered sounds of the banjo, mandolin and dobro add depth and variety. The song is about trying to get the attention and gain the affection of a particular gal, Hazel.
“Ghost” follows which starts off rapidly and has dark undertones woven throughout. It’s soulful and the harmonies are great. The instrumentals again show great talent in the traditional bluegrass style. It paints a picture of being haunted by someone who you just don’t want to let go of.
“Back to Drinkin” comes next, a heartfelt and melancholy tune that tells the tale of losing a battle with the bottle. The vocals are smooth and soulful, and the music is perfectly balanced with the tone of the song.
“In My Dreams” opens with some great fiddle work, and breaks into a happy little tune. It’s a song about dreaming of the perfect girl, who only appears in dreams at the moment, but with hopes that she will come into reality soon. It features Becca Herrod on harmony. It’s a lovely song.
“Lay My Hammer” is a fast paced tune, a bit woeful and melancholy lyrically but definitely upbeat and fun instrumentally, which makes it more interesting. It has a bit of a nostalgic sense of a time long gone, working on the train tracks. The music makes you want to get up and dance, it’s hard to keep still while listening to it.
“Miner’s Soul” is a beautiful tune, slower and laced with hauntingly lovely fiddling, making it a sorrowful song. It paints a vivid picture of life working in the mines.
“Gunny Sack” is a fun song again full of those great layers of instruments and fantastic harmonies that you find throughout the whole album. It’s heartfelt and sincere, and makes you want to get up and move.
“Leaving the Old Home” comes next, with the fiddle shining through beautifully to begin with once again. It’s a toe tapping tune about leaving and moving on. The layers of mandolin and dobro make for amazing sounds throughout all of the songs, giving them all depth and the signature bluegrass sounds.
“Walnut Valley Romp” is a fantastic dancing song, I can picture men twirling their ladies around a dance floor to this tune easily. It’s fast paced and fun, and solely an instrumental piece, which I think gives the amazing instrumental talent a chance to shine through for a moment. It’s very well done.
“F5” is the title track and wraps up the album nicely. It tells the story of a gal who blows through your world like a tornado, shaking everything up as she goes. It’s fun and quirky with a great beat that makes you want to tap your toes and bob along with the music.
Overall the album is enjoyable and fun with a good mix of songs that provide variety. The fellas know what they are doing and do it well, both vocally and instrumentally. The songs shine through with genuine simplicity in a great way; it’s not too flashy or frilly or trying to be something that it’s not. It’s just a great bluegrass album, and that’s all it needs to be. You can find out more about the band and their music at the website www.steelwindmusic.com as well as their various social media sites.
They have a CD release party coming up at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City on Saturday April 23rd, which will be a great opportunity to come hear them and pick up the new album. You can also catch them playing at The Gypsy Café on the Eskimo Joe’s stage in Stillwater on Wednesday April 27th.