The SteelDrivers

The SteelDrivers, with their unique style of bluegrass has already won a well-deserved Grammy in 2016 for their album “The Muscle Shoals Recordings.”

I attended a concert of theirs recently at the DeKalb Theatre in Fort Payne, where Gary Nichols the lead singer and guitarist of The SteelDrivers said they play “Bluegrass in the rock style.” This unique view of bluegrass brings it out of the past and into the future.  It brings it out of a dusty corner and into the mainstream. They have a blend of ole-timey traditions and vision that make them stand out in such a beautiful way.

Gary Nichols, the lead singer of the group and guitarist from Muscle Shoals, also teaches at the Florence High School Academy of Fine Arts. Nichols said in the magazine “No’Ala” that he would like to see the area he calls home become the “Hit Recording Capital of the World” once again.

As a life-long Alabamian, I agree. I love our state’s musical history, believe in preserving it, and appreciating it. Nichols said that while growing up in AL he wouldn’t have known it was possible to succeed in the music business unless he’d seen others do it. Those trail-blazers who came before us teach us that it is possible.

It is inspirational to see Nichols continue to inspire a new generation. It is inspirational to see Tammy Rogers, the only woman in the group, stand on stage as a powerhouse and deliver.


I attended the concert as an observer and took pages of notes. I could write more about how many records they sell or how many shows they sell out. I also could write you a couple of paragraphs about the opening act, Rob Aldridge, and his amazing sound. Rob drank Milo’s tea, an Alabama staple, onstage.

Instead, I see another story. A story worth more than records sold or awards won.  A story of continuing a legacy and inspiration. I didn’t mean to walk away from the concert feeling inspired; but I did.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Chris LeDoux

Jamie Godwin





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