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Hammer Down

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Audio CD, February 5, 2013
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Hammer Down + Reckless + The SteelDrivers
Price for all three: $36.23

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Editorial Reviews

The SteelDrivers are back! The three time Grammy® nominated bluegrass-meets-soul band has threaded the roots of bluegrass music with the distinctive threads of their own design, bringing together country and soul to create their own unapologetic hybrid of new music with the old feeling. Hammer Down, their third release on Rounder Records, is set for release February 5, 2013 (International release dates vary).

The SteelDrivers brand of bluegrass intense, dark, poetic, and inescapably human is a refreshing reminder of the timeless power of string band music, and is captured perfectly on the new Hammer Down. The band has gone through a few changes since they first hit the national scene in 2008 with their self-titled debut, but their songs and sound remain fresh and powerful.

The SteelDrivers are banjo player Richard Bailey, bass/vocalist Mike Fleming, guitar/vocalist Gary Nichols, fiddler/vocalist Tammy Rogers and mandolinist Brent Truitt. Produced by Luke Wooton, Hammer Down is a collection of 10 new tunes from original members Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson, as well as Rogers and Nichols. The set also includes the songs I ll Be There and Cry No Mississippi that Nichols co-wrote with John Paul White one-half of the band The Civil Wars.

The English pop star Adele was so smitten with the band that she began performing their song, If It Hadn't Been For Love, in her live performances. Throughout 2013, The SteelDrivers will be touring nationwide at clubs and festivals.

1. Shallow Grave
2. How Long Have I Been Your Fool
3. When You Don t Come Home
4. I ll Be There
5. Burnin The Woodshed Down
6. Wearin A Hole
7. Lonesome Goodbye
8. Hell On Wheels
9. Cry No Mississippi
10. When I m Gone

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2013
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder
  • ASIN: B00A8ZZ39K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,210 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Z. Mehrbach on February 5, 2013
Format: Audio CD
First off, if you're worried that this album would be a total departure from the Steeldrivers of old, it's all. While I think at the end of the day this is my third favorite album of theirs, it's still an incredible, five star album. Yes the Steeldrivers are that good. This is a must buy.

I'll never forget the first time I heard the Steeldrivers at Grey Fox Bluegrass fest in 2007. It was as if the band I'd been waiting years for had arrived. Minor key, hard-nosed, rickety truck, throw another piece of wood on the fire bluegrass. Guns, Liquor, sweat, murder, and heartache. Chris Stapleton's voice was the most incredible thing I'd ever heard and it was (is) equally matched by his incredible songwriting. I spent the weekend following them around trying to get as much of them as I could. Then...a few years later...

...Upon hearing about the departure of Chris Stapleton I immediately got worried after the release of their last album "Reckless." This had already happened to another one of my favorite bands "The Duhks," Jessee Havey left and things progressively went south until Scott Senor left and the band became something else.

To make matters worse for the Steeldrivers, they would eventually part ways with Mike Henderson who left the band for not completely known reasons. Anyways, I was sad yet again. His slide and mandolin playing was a huge part of their southern blues-grass attack.

I saw the Steeldriver's again in 2012, now with the new members at Old Town here in Chicago. The live show was every bit as awesome as seeing them years earlier. They haven't lost a step with the new members. Especially in live performance.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By wchtx on February 8, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I take exception to the negative criticism written in some of the reviews. Not because you don't have a right. You do. However, Chris is gone. Get over it. If this album was released by the same band with a new name you'd love it. The songs are excellent. Lyrics and vocals fantastic. Gary Nichols is the real deal. And the new mandolin player, Brent Truitt, is a better player than the last. Sorry,it's true. Listen. Don't judge. But if we must, I say Hammer Down is as good as their first two fabulous discs. "Lonesome Goodbye" is as good as any original SD number as are many of the others. It's the best $10 I have spent on a CD since Reckless. Buy it. You will not be sorry!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 11, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Before posting my review of the newest Steeldrivers release I noted a lot of other reviews posted already. Many of the are passionate about the group and concerned that two of the founding members have left and gone on to other ventures. When some bands make changes it can get pretty personal with some listeners. But change happens in life, whether we plan it or not, and the current lineup is still playing the same kind of fine music and taking bluegrass in new directions, in my opinion. The band still includes fiddler Tammy Rogers who wrote, or co-wrote a few of the 10 new songs and whose voice is prominent on a number of my favorite tracks. Rogers plays viola and cello too.
From the opener "Shallow Grave" to the closer, "When I'm Gone" I found this album just as enjoyable as the past ones. Sure there are a bunch of similar bluegrass band, but in my opinion, the more good players out there writing songs and playing well, the better it is for the bluegrass music industry.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Redsfan78 on February 26, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think all to often people get choose to error on the side of positive rather than negative and I believe that some people truly feel that this album is great but I am not one of them. I do not review things very often but after hearing this new album I felt compelled to give one. First off for the people who say the albums are terrible are reacting only to the absence of Henderson and Stapleton while that is a huge key and changes things, this is till an OK Bluegrass album. For those who are over the top for this and give it five stars they may truly feel that way or they may be trying to overcompensate or they are just too loyal to write a negative review.
The band play itself does not have the same darker overtones that the previous two albums had but it still has that unique SteelDriver feel to it so the sound aside from the voices sounds close enough to mask the music changes.
However, when the booklet says that "the album's first dead body appears fifteen seconds into ominous opening track" it isn't a joke. The first dead body just isn't the songs music it's my heart because the voice that comes across the speakers is not anywhere near Stapleton. I believe the booklet calls his voice only obtainable in the dark of night at a Mississippi crossroad. Well that isn't true or even close to it. His voice might not be a dime a dozen but I am sure you can stick him in a lineup of other run of the mill bluegrass singers and not be able to pick him out of them. I don't say that to be mean but just to point out that who they got to replace Stapleton sounds nothing like him or even near it. Most bands fail when they lose a lead singer and they never sound the same.
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