DOMINICK M. MELARA
This Saturday, March 30th the Steel Woods are doing a show at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. The Steel Woods are a country music band originally formed in Nashville, Tennessee. They are incredibly well known for their energetic shows, strong guitar driven songs and southern rock style. With Jason Cope on lead guitar, Wes Bayliss on lead vocals, Jay Tooke on drums and Johnny Stanton on bass the group strives to electrify every concert venue they play it, no matter the size.
While on tour for their new album released January 18th, they are making a stop in Wilkes Barre for the show at the Kirby Center. If you are a fan of country music and looking for something to do this weekend you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity! If for some reason you can’t make it be sure to check out all of the Steel Woods’ music on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube or any other streaming method you may use. I recently caught up with lead guitarist Jason Cope to talk about the band, the groups biggest influences, and much more.
DM: “Where did the band name come from? Is there some sort of meaning behind it?”
JC: “There’s just about ten different answers to those questions. It really started when Wes and I wrote our first song out in the woods. Being out in nature, writing songs, and if you really think about it steel and wood are like the fabric of America. We’re just a blue-collar band with a blue- collar background.”
DM: “How did you guys all meet each other?”
JC: “Wes and I met playing a gig in Dickson, Tennessee. After that I ended up booking another gig in Dickson and asked Wes to join. Something clicked, and from then on we’ve been together. I knew of Johnny and Jay from the area, and we were good friends. We finally, all got together and haven’t stopped since.”
DM: “Who are your biggest musical influences? How can that influence be seen through your songs?”
JC: “That’s a really tough one, because it’s hard to know where to start. I’d have to say personally I love Jimmy Paige, Jimi Hendrix, Ralph Mooney, Willie Nelson, Delma Curry, James Brown and just a whole lot more. I really loved their approaches to writing songs, specifically guys like Willie Nelson. I feel like there should be a good mix of songs that are verse, chorus, verse, chorus, as well as songs that are like a musical journey.”
DM: “What’s your songwriting process?”
JC: “The main lyrical writers are Wes and I, but the sound comes entirely from the band. We try to make it so what you hear on the albums is almost exactly what you’ll hear live. When we record, we try to cut it as raw as possible. Our process is a little different every time, but it usually starts with Wes and I having two sort of different ideas about where we want the song to go, and if they gel it’s magic. Wes has a great ear for melody, so then once we have lyrics he adds some much to the songs melodically. Then we bring it to the band.”
DM: “What song is your favorite to perform live? Which was your favorite to write?
JC: “It’s honestly a little hard to say. I love every single one of them. Whichever song the audience sings loudest is always my favorite live. Interacting with the audience is a special thing. We talk to them, hear their stories, some even cry, it’s different every night. We built this band by going out and
playing anywhere that would have us. So, our fans are incredibly special to us. As for which was my favorite to write that’s equally hard. I’ve enjoyed writing every song. But the first song we wrote was special. We kind of had that moment when we looked at each other and said ‘man we could be a band, we could really do this.’”
DM: “How are you guys going about preparing for your upcoming show at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts?”
JC: “We come into every venue with the same mentality: make this the greatest show we’ve ever played