Straw In The Wind is the debut album from Nashville-based rock band The Steel Woods, a commanding musical force that blends an amalgam of influences with a Southern-infused foundation. The group's sound is a hybrid of rock, blues, folk, gospel, heavy metal, Americana, soul and bluegrass. Straw In The Wind features 13 tracks mostly written by lead singer Wes Bayliss and guitarist Jason ‘Rowdy" Cope, who played guitar in Jamey Johnson's band for a decade. The album includes songs by acclaimed writers such as Darrell Scott, Brent Cobb and even Black Sabbath, which receive inspired and distinctive interpretations. Bayliss and Cope, the gifted multi-instrumentalists and group co-founders, are joined by drummer Jay Tooke and bassist Johnny Stanton.
Straw In The Wind opens with the haunting Cope/Bayliss original "Axe," followed by the charging "Better In The Fall" with its expansive refrain that hints that this is not a mere Southern rock album. The galloping murder ballad "Della Jane's Heart" tells the tale of a vengeful, scorned lover, while the evocative title track features a cast of nasty characters who mysteriously disappear one by one. Bayliss' impressive vocal range is on full display with the sweetly addictive "I'm Gonna Love You." A clear stand out here is "The Secret" (featuring Lindi Ortega). With its lush strings and dark tones, the story of a despondent Adam takes a unique turn with his realization that the Devil can come in any form, including his beloved Eve.
The songs on Straw In The Wind are filled with narratives of cautionary tales, regret, revenge, philosophical questioning, lovers, dreamers, but most of all, its an introduction to fantastic, hard-edged, blue-collar band steeped in the culture and tradition of the South with an broader view. Their genre-blending sound is equally as old school as it is contemporary, while remaining unquestionably timeless.