Adam Steffey. “One More For The Road.” Sugar Hill Records. 12 tracks.
So why has it taken Adam Steffey 22 years in bluegrass to discover that he’s a good vocalist?
“I try to be realistic about my voice,” Steffey says in publicity material for what’s only his second solo album in the past eight years, “and I’m not the ballad singer at all.”
Maybe not, but he sounds fine on everything else. And fans can check it out when the album hits stores on Sept. 22.
Steffey’s baritone vocals on the title cut should qualify the song for a lot of airplay on country radio — if DJs will just overlook the banjo and Dobro, which bluegrass fans love.
Steffey began his career with the Lonesome River Band in 1987, left to help form Dusty Miller, then spent nearly eight years with Alison Krauss & Union Station, joined The Isaacs, then moved on to Mountain Heart for more than six years and currently is mandolin player for the Dan Tyminski Band.
He’s also won mandolin player of the year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association five times.
Now, he’s displaying his strong vocal chops on “One More For The Road,” “Don’t Lie To Me,” “A Broken Heart Keeps Beatin’,” “Trusting In Jesus” and “What Gives You The Right.”
Of course, like most musicians who are primarily instrumentalists, Steffey brings in some friends to help with the vocal work.
And he has some good friends.
Tyminski sings lead on “Let Me Fall.” Ronnie Bowman does a great cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends” and Krauss contributes an outstanding version of “Warm Kentucky Sunshine,” an old Bluegrass Cardinals song.
Steffey assembled an all-star band for the album — Clay Hess, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Stuart Duncan, Ron Stewart, Randy Kohrs, Tyminski, Bowman, Tina Steffey and Bryan Sutton.
He also wrote three of the songs — “Deep Rough,” “What Gives You The Right” and “Barnyard Playboy.”
Here’s hoping the next solo album comes out a little faster than this one did.
Can’t find it in stores? Try www.sugarhillrecords.com.