Bluegrass and country sounds

The SteelDrivers band will perform today at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. Members are, from left, Richard Bailey, Brent Truitt, Tammy Rogers, Mike Fleming and Gary Nichols. Courtesy photo

The SteelDrivers, The Gibson Brothers, and LeAnn Rimes, with Walker County, are on the bill at this weekend’s Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs.

This is the first year The SteelDrivers, a bluegrass band from Nashville, will perform at the local festival, said Tammy Rogers, who plays fiddle and provides vocals for the band.

“It’s always fun to play for a really large festival crowd,” she said. “It’s great to see people standing up and dancing, getting into the music and singing along.”

She has played in Virginia before and said she has a strong fan base in Northern Virginia.

Rogers said they are expecting to play a one-hour set with about 15 to 18 of their tunes.

By using songs from their four albums, she said they try to provide a good mixture from each album when performing.

Rogers said they will include songs from their newest album that won a Grammy in February, “but we haven’t forgotten all those songs from the first album that put us on the map.”

The band has been performing since August 2005 and recorded its first record in 2008.

When describing her music, she said she doesn’t consider the band to be a traditional bluegrass group.

“When you say bluegrass, most people have a preconceived idea of what that is. High tenor vocals, fast, furious, and that’s not really our sound,” she said. “The best way I can describe it is we use traditional bluegrass instrumentation but we don’t approach the music like a traditional bluegrass band.”

The SteelDrivers’ music uses influences from blues, R&B, soul and southern rock, she said. She likened their music to American music played on traditional bluegrass instruments, but rooted in southern blues and soul music.

“We definitely are committed to writing our own material, so even though the material may have a lot of things that are present in bluegrass music,” she said, such as the mountain murder ballads and songs about drinking, “we don’t necessarily approach them like a bluegrass band would when we go to arrange them.”

When writing their songs, she said there’s a story that they want to tell and they put that story into song. Sometimes the idea is spontaneous and comes from a single phrase or song title, she said, and then the story evolves from that single thought. They also write songs with inspirations coming from the Civil War era.

Members of the SteelDrivers include Rogers on the fiddle and vocals, Gary Nichols on the guitar and vocals, Brent Truitt on the mandolin, Mike Fleming on the bass and vocals, and Richard Bailey on the banjo.

The SteelDrivers will perform at 8 p.m. today.

Gibson Brothers, LeAnn Rimes, Walker County

Also performing today will be The Gibson Brothers, and LeAnn Rimes with special guest Walker County will perform on Saturday

The Gibson Brothers, an American brother duet, is a two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year group. Eric and Leigh Gibson have been performing bluegrass music since the 1980s.

Also making an appearance at the music festival is LeAnn Rimes.

With a career spanning two decades, Rimes has sold 44 million albums, won two Grammys, three Academy of Country Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards. Beginning her career at the age of 11, she is the youngest person to win a Grammy and the first country music artist to win Best New Artist.

Also appearing on Saturday evening will be Walker County.

From Indiana, Walker County is a family trio composed of sisters Ivy and Sophie, along with their father Billy Walker. Ivy is the lead vocalist, Sophie plays drums and provides back up vocals, while Billy plays lead guitar. Their musical stylings include soul, southern rock and traditional country.


When: 8 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs

• Tickets: To purchase tickets, visit the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival at http://tiny.cc/ih12cy.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com