Sunday Spotlight – STEEL BLOSSOMS! @steel_blossoms

I am SO excited to turn my blog site over to Hayley and Sara today, of the amazing duo, STEEL BLOSSOMS! I had the pleasure of hearing these girls live at Love & War in Texas when they were opening for the artist I went to see. I had never heard of them and they blew me away! So, I’ll turn it over to these multi-talented young ladies and let them tell you about themselves! Take it away, Sara and Hayley!

Hello! It’s nice to virtually meet all of you and I hope you’re surviving this strange time in the world. Let us first introduce ourselves. You’ll be hearing from us both, Hayley Amour and Sara Zebley, as we make up the female fronted, Nashville-based duo, Steel Blossoms.  

A LITTLE BACKSTORY:

We met about 12 years ago at a music festival in Pittsburgh, PA near where both of us grew up, but it wasn’t until 3 years later when we joined a band together that we actually became friends and started singing full time with each other. It was instant chemistry on stage and off. We were both on the path to being elementary teachers for life when we convinced each other to give it all up to move to Nashville in 2014. It’s been a hell of a ride ever since. 

Moving to Nashville was an opportunity to make music a full time career instead of a hobby and we quickly began performing regularly on Broadway 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. About a year in, we discovered that traveling the country was going to be key in expanding our following so we started performing “house concerts,” a unique experience that has gained us lifelong relationships with fans who have turned into friends. Seriously, you’ll question ever going to a regular concert again after attending an intimate house concert- it’s that fun!! 

Fast forward a few years later… In January 2019, we signed a record deal with emerging Americana label, Billy Jam Records, under the direction of hit songwriter Jerry Salley. That was huge for us, as it gave us a boost in the industry and a team to rely on for some of the legwork it takes to promote an album. We’ve been so lucky to have since hired a band of phenomenal musicians (who are literally our best friends now), buy a van (her name is Blonde Betty White), and tour the country telling the stories behind our original songs. 

AN EVEN BIGGER BREAK:

I remember us saying to each other “How in the world will 2020 ever top 2019? So many amazing things happened in 2019 and there’s no way we’ll outdo it!” And then we got a phone call that changed everything. We may have both blacked out during the conversation in disbelief, but at the end of that 5 minutes, we were the opening act for Alan Jackson’s 2020 tour. WHAT?! Crazy, right? We screamed, cried, called our families and swore them to secrecy, cried some more, questioned whether it was a dream, then got to work preparing for one of the biggest moments of our career. 

OUR FIRST STADIUM/ARENA TOUR:

January 10 and 11, 2020 was the first weekend of the Alan Jackson tour and we were beyond excited that the very first show was in Cincinnati, OH, equal distance between our Nashville friends and our Pennsylvania friends and family. It was one of those surreal weekends that we struggle to put into words. Let’s try though. 

First of all, we got to ride a tour bus for the very first time (not as glamorous as one would think- those bunks are tiny!!). We rode the bus with a lot of the sound engineers and techs from the show and that alone was such a neat experience to see what behind the scenes work goes into making the performance night run smoothly. Alan Jackson’s band was particularly welcoming and genuine, which was not taken for granted on our parts. We got to watch their sound check and hang out with some of the musicians throughout the evening. Alan’s fiddle player, Ryan, is from our hometown- small world! Hearing some of our favorite songs in person from AJ was also nothing short of amazing. Imagine hearing “Remember When” and “Little Bitty” from a few rows back in an empty arena before 13,000 people were on their way to fill the seats. PINCH ME MOMENT times infinity. 

We had the honor of performing 5 songs to start the night off and saying we were terrified and filled with adrenaline would be the understatement of the year. We were all pleasantly surprised that the butts were in the seats so early on and we had over 10k people watching our performance. The most amazing part of this experience was realizing that we belonged on that stage. I know it sounds crazy considering we’ve been working our way up to this moment consistently for years, but we really weren’t sure before that first performance if our usual stage show was going to translate to such a large atmosphere. When it did and we proudly finished our last original song of the night “You’re the Reason I Drink” with the whole audience singing the hook, we realized we had caught the bug. Both of us cried, hugged our band members, and decided that we NEVER wanna not be doing shows like that. Honestly, after feeling what we felt on that stage, I’m not sure why musicians do drugs. 

UNTIL NEXT TIME:

Thanks for getting to know us through these stories and we look forward to not only continuing the Alan Jackson tour once the world is in better shape, but we hope and pray that while you are reading this, you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and managing the uncertainty of these times. 

Follow The Steel Blossoms:
www.steelblossoms.com

www.steelblossoms.com/store

www.facebook.com/steelblossoms

www.instagram.com/steelblossoms

www.youtube.com/steelblossoms

Spotify link to SB latest album

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6c7CCsR0EwgZ81KHktNrhO

Jan’s TOP TEN Music CDs 2017

Jan's Top Ten NewMusic CDs for 2017

Most of you know that I am a staff writer for Buddy Magazine (The Original Texas Music Magazine). Part of my job is to review new music as it is released throughout the year. This list is the best of what I heard and is based on my opinion. I hope you’ll find something new that you haven’t heard before and that you’ll check it out.

#1

Willie_Boys_Album   Purchase Link

Just when you think Willie Nelson cannot do anything new under the sun, he does. I loved everything about this CD, from the cover to the liner notes, to the songs and production. But, what struck me the most about the project was the blending of voices and guitars that can only come from a family connection. Willie’s two sons, Lukas and Micah join him on this CD.

#2

Stars_Foster  PURCHASE LINK

This CD accompanies a compilation of short stories from Radney Foster, which made #1 on my Top Ten books for 2017. This entire project from start to finish a perfect example of what storytelling should be. I loved every song on this CD but one that stands out is “Belmont and Sixth,” about a homeless veteran.

#3

Close Ties  PURCHASE LINK

If aging has done anything for this timeless Americana troubadour, it has only enhanced his powerful songwriting prowess.  Close Ties, is beyond a doubt the most intimate as he weaves deep personal stories that expose vulnerabilities and regrets. It is quite possibly Rodney Crowell’s best work to date with wry, straight-as-an-arrow stories about his life.

#4

Lili Cover  PURCHASE LINK

There is no singular word that describes Lili Blessing’s voice…Pure, rich, subtle, smooth as silk, yet powerful and edgy are words that come close but fall short. She is like a young Norah Jones or Adele. Seamless transitions into falsetto and powerful dynamic delivery set this Indie Alternative artist apart from anything I’ve heard.

#5

Carter Bill  PURCHASE LINK

I get excited when I discover a new artist that has been around for decades making original creative music. Such is the case with Bill Carter. He writes the kind of songs other artists turn to for inspiration and their own material. For over three decades, Carter has been turning out songs that legends of rock, blues, and country have recorded. On this self-titled album, Carter’s unique style and skillful musicianship is the mark of a man who has spent a lifetime honing his craft.  Carter plays all the instruments, sings the songs and he also produced the album. Wow!! 

#6

kerrielepai1 (1)  PURCHASE LINK

Whoever said white girls couldn’t sing the blues have never heard Kerrie Lepai. With her powerhouse voice and undeniable range, she is a force to reckoned with. While Kerrie Lepai may be a new name to you, it’s one you won’t soon forget. If you love the blues and all that it embodies, along with the smoking hot guitar of Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, this album is for you.

#7

Steve_Krase  PURCHASE LINK

Houston-based blues harmonica ace, Steve Krase released his fourth album, Should’ve Seen It Coming, for Connor Ray Music. Most of this album was recorded live over two nights, at the Red Shack in Houston. The spotlight tune of the album is unequivocally “Repo Man,” written by brother David. It allows everyone to show off musically and vocally. “I won’t knock on your door/I won’t bang your wife/But I’ll take your car in the middle of the night/Cuz I’m a repo man…” The lyrics are catchy and humorous, but the arrangement is seriously incredible.

#8

Medullacover  PURCHASE LINK

This album is different in many ways, but mostly in the unique interpretation of lyrics and melodies done only the way Jerrod Medulla can. It is is fresh, sexy, sultry and diverse. It is hard to classify Jerrod’s music. It is a mix between Americana, Rock and Blues with a little Jazz thrown in.

#9

Keepsake  PURCHASE LINK

Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine. Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside. If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

#10

Baker_Land  PURCHASE LINK

What you’ll hear on Land of Doubt is stunning beautifully arranged strains of chords and melodies with lyrics deeper than the roots of an old oak tree. Baker is well-known for surviving a violent terrorist attack in Peru in 1986. He suffered some hearing loss in the explosion but has defeated all obstacles to emerge as a respected songwriter and performer. Land of Doubt opens with simplistic yet complex guitar chords from Will Kimbrough on “Summer Wind.” I am immediately reminded of Willie Nelson’s style of intermingling guitar licks with meaningful lyrics.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting new artists, perhaps finding new music that touches you or simply been entertained. Thank you for taking a look at a big part of what I do in life.