THE STEELDRIVERS, “The Muscle Shoals Recordings,” 11 tracks. Rounder.

The SteelDrivers created a lot of excitement in 2008, when they roared out of Nashville with a sound best described as having Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys backing Bob Seger.

Lead singer Chris Stapleton’s mountain growl — infusing bluegrass with soul — was unlike anything on the radio.

Some called it “outlaw grass.” Some called in “bluesgrass.” Some called it “mountain soul.”

Whatever you called it, people took notice.

But two years later, Stapleton decided that he didn’t want to spend his life on the road and left the band.

Gary Nichols, a Muscle Shoals, Alabama, native, took over the lead singer post with his Southern soul sound.

And the band never missed more than a beat or two.

Now, Nichols and his bandmates have gone to his hometown to record an album that blends soul, blues, bluegrass, rhythm & blues, county, rock’n’roll and maybe a hint of gospel into what The SteelDrivers do best — create great music.

Nichols and fiddle player Tammy Rogers wrote most of the songs on the album.

“Brother John” tells the tale of a man who killed a lawman’s son because he wanted the man’s wife.

“River Runs Red” is about the Civil War’s Battle of Stones River on Dec. 31, 1862, in Tennessee, when nearly 3,000 men were killed. But there were “no winners or losers when you count the dead,” Nichols growls.

“Long Way Down” finds a man condemning his woman for messing around and telling her that it”s “a long way to hell for a fallen angel.”

Drinkin’ Alone” is about a man going wild after his woman walks out on him.

“Day Before Temptation” finds a man playing with fire and riding shotgun with a driver called Temptation, knowing that he’ll wind up drunk and broke.

“Here She Goes” is about a man who knows his woman is about to leave him because she hasn’t been happy in a long time.

“Six Feet Away” warns people to make the most of every day because on any given day “we’re only six feet away from the bottom of a grave.”

Good album by a band that’s still going strong after seven years.

It hits record stores on June 16.

But if you can’t find it then, try www.TheSteelDrivers.com.

 

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