So, last night I had the pleasure of attending a steeldrivers concert at the Jefferson theater in Beaumont. So, before the concert, I had mentioned to the local guitar store owner that I was going, and he hadn’t heard about it, so he called some people, and since they didn’t have an opening act, he asked if his band could be, and they got the gig. So, he had a gig Tuesday, and then opening Thursday, so he had me work at his store those two afternoons. So we (my mom and I. The only ones interested in bluegrass) showed up a little before they opened the doors, and were the second ones in the door. After finding our seats, ($50 each, for third row just to the left) we waited a moderate time before the opening act came out. The opening act was a trio, with a mad scientist (that’s literally what he looked like) playing bass, my friend the guitar store owner on acoustic guitar, and a youngish dude (comparatively, he was probably mid thirties) playing electric guitar. They played mostly adult contemporary, and all sang pretty well. After playing a couple songs, Paul (my friend) said “we’re going to dedicate this next song to our friends the Salyers who live in Mozambique and are going back soon.” And then they sang (wouldn’t you know) Africa by Toto. After they finished, there was another short wait, and then, to much applause, the steeldrivers took the stage. Their set was awesome, they describe their style as uneasy listening, cuz it’s all about murder and whiskey, and things like that. So they played a bunch of tunes, with a joke or story or bit of history thrown in every few tunes. So, the lead singer/guitarist is a pretty young dude who’s fairly short and stocky and plays a Taylor guitar (mentioned in every other song), the bassist is probably mid sixties, a bit taller, and also sang, the fiddler (the only girl on the band, and I think the leader) was a probably mid fifties lady with a good voice and crazy fiddle skills, the mandolinist looked like Sam Bush, and played his Gibson gold top F5 very low, around his waist. (Which seemed a long way, cuz he’s tall) and the banjoist was also probably mid sixties playing a Gibson mastertone. After playing about half the set, the band went off except for Tammy Rogers, who stayed and sang a beautiful rendition of gloryland with just the fiddle and her voice. Afterwards, the band came back, and the bass player said, I know most of y’all haven’t seen us live before, so you should know that we have two rules, first, no drinking on the gospel songs, and I saw a few of y’all break that one, (at which point Tammy says, yeah, you had one backstage…) then he says, the second is no gospel songs. (Audience laughter) they then proceeded to finish out their set, walk off the stage, get called for an encore, and played one more song. Afterwards they were signing autographs in the lobby, with a surprisingly short line, so I waited in line (during which time their sales person gave me a sticker for them to sign) so I had them sign the back of my ticket, the sticker, and my I love Jesus cap. When I set my cap down, Kelvin (guitarist) says, “I do too!” My mom made a comment on it being dirty with Mozambique dirt, and we chatted a bit about being missionaries and what instruments I play, and I shook all their hands. When I shook the mandolinists hand, a said something about him being Sam Bush, and they (he and the banjo picker) said they actually were good friends with Sam, and that the banjoist had played with him last Wednesday at the station inn. We were almost the last folks in line, so when they had signed everything I saw them taking pictures with someone, and so I asked for a couple, which I’ll try and post soon. Then Kelvin shook my hand and said, “keep at it! Keep picking music, and definitely keep following Jesus!” It was a great experience, and I’ll definitely try to see them whenever they tour Mozambique my mom friended Kelvin on Facebook, and they talked a little about Jason Halbert, and he told her to tell me to keep following Jesus (which I fully intend on doing). If you can make it, do. It’s great concert that’s worth your money.
Bona Fide steelhead