Blues Gets Organic


They have appeared next to names such as Buddy Guy, ZZ Top, and Bon Jovi. And this Friday they will take the stage in Iowa City.

The Steepwater Band will perform at 9 p.m. at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn. Admission is $10.

The band was begun in 1998 by Jeff Massey, Joe Winters, and Tod Bowers, all of whom are thrilled to be playing a decade and a half later.

“Our band just kind of fell into place,” said Massey, the group’s lead guitarist and vocalist.

The three founding members started playing together when they were part of another band that eventually split up. But the trio remained together, forming the Steepwater Band and were joined by Eric Saylors in 2012.

Despite being labeled as a rock ‘n’ roll band, the group grew from a love of the blues.

“Our blues roots will always be there,” Massey said, describing the group’s music as “organic and down-to-earth.”

The band members pride themselves on staying true when writing their music by creating songs that they enjoy playing and audiences enjoy listening to.

“Getting away from blues doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon,” said drummer Winters. “We wear the blues on our sleeves.”

Over the past 10 years, the group has maintained an average of 125 shows per year. Some of the shows reach over the ocean to European stages.

“Playing in Spain for the first time, opening for Wilco, was huge,” said bass player Bowers. “And the crazy part was we already had a bunch of fans there. We thought we’d have to go out and prove ourselves in front of Chicago’s biggest band, and the Spanish fans knew our songs. They were right in front, singing along.”

Even with this daunting schedule, the band members have maintained their enthusiasm and continue to love appearing for their fans.

“Playing is by far the best part of being on the road,” Bowers said. “But a close second is the traveling and meeting all the folks out there. Just being able to do it every day, playing music together, is a huge accomplishment, I think.”

While maintaining a touring schedule, the band is puts out new songs. Its newest album, Live & Humble, which will appear in November, will join the 11 other albums the group has released since its inception.

Though Massey handles large parts of the songwriting, he attributes many of the band’s best songs to group jam sessions. He noted that the band doesn’t have any single way of writing its music.

“We play what we’re feeling,” Winters said. “We just wanted to write songs and not put limitations on it.”


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