Steve at Telluride #32: Thou Shalt Steel
Singer and guitarist Chris Stapleton comes off like a hell-raising Ronnie Hawkins-style good-ol’-boy, a fella schooled on equal parts rock and country, who wears his hair down to his nipples and the same jeans every day for three weeks. In fact, he and fiddlin’ lass Tammy Rogers, who stand facing each other around the band’s single-mic setup, look very much like Waylon & Jessi, circa 1979. And there’s more than a little of the Good Timin’ Man in Stapleton’s burly, badass vocals, unmistakably The Drivers’ calling card. Stapleton hangs out on the stage-left edge of the band’s arrangement, but there’s no question who the centerpiece is—dude’s got the Smoky Mountain drawl down but sings with the rare combination of throaty power and timber-rattling range last heard in ‘70s classic rockers like Paul Rodgers or Lou Gramm. A solid bluegrass set under a hot sun. If anyone here has to work tomorrow, you’d never know it by looking at the beer tent.
And, hey! Brush with Greatness! Just had a real thrill when legendary rock-and-roll hall-of-famer Benmont Tench walked by while I had my faithful photographer with me. Benmont stopped and posed for a picture with me. Moments later, my usually-very-reliable photographer accidently deleted it from his camera. But I swear it happened.