Featuring some bright classic country guitar riffs, the boy of Steel Penny caught my ear when I came across the band on social media. Their snazzy band logo drew me to hop onto Spotify for a closer look. My first candidate for examination was their song “Kearney” off their 2017 EP, “Life This Way” which soon had me tapping right along.
My first observation was the bright guitar that runs through most of their music. As a fan of much of Brad Paisley’s early work, this music really hooked me. It’s something that has changed a lot in country music in the past decade. There are fewer artists that shine the light on the guitar nowadays and have replaced that with fake drum beats and computer effects. I understand that there are times where technology can help enhance music, but you just don’t remove classic country guitar. Steel Penny does a great job of keeping it country and really showcases the ability of lead guitar-man, Michael Reeh. In “Kearney” you’ll hear the band really slow it down in the middle. They get right back into it soon after, letting Reeh have some fun to close down the track. This up-tempo song has become a fan favorite at their shows - I don’t find that hard to believe at all.
Texas and oil go hand in hand and the boys of Steel Penny enlighten us listeners on the lifestyle and corruption with, “Oil Field Cash.” Lead singer, Matt Begley really brings the grit in this song, with his frustration coming through loud and clear on the politicians that pad their pockets in the oil industry. The regular working men and women are working insanely long hours in tough conditions and yet they only see a fraction of what the crooked political figures get. The oil fields can be an incredibly lucrative opportunity for those willing to bust their ass….and more-so for those that play with the chessboard. I have seen first hand some of the sweet welding rigs and trailers even up here in New England. That high life can soon come crashing down if the drilling subsides as sobering the lyric goes:
What are you gonna do when the money’s all gone, got four more payments on a fifth wheel home?
I’m sure the big wig businessmen are shedding a tear when another truck gets repo’d, all while sippin’ the finest whiskey.
When a career brings someone on the road and keeps them away from home, it can take it’s toll on the relationship. Though we often think of this affecting the rich and famous, it affects everyday people who have any sort of “on-the-road” career. From truckers to military, they have to live with not being around their family. Sometimes this can strain the relationship when the partner at home feels neglected. In “Switchin’ Roles” Steel Penny flips the tides and sings about how it is hard on the road. Staying in a van or hotels away from their loved ones isn’t any easier and they feel the frustration. What the success of any relationship boils down to is a supportive and understanding partner. That is true for any profession and it makes the time apart more bearable instead of being filled with bitterness.
I’ve been giving the boys of Steel Penny some serious plays and felt compelled to share them with ya’ll. They have a sound that is just different enough: full of guitar and high energy twang. I listen to a lot of music obviously, and this EP really stood out to me. I could tell that these guys were not new musicians and they confirmed that once I learned they all played together in Matt Begley and Bitter Whiskey. Current drummer, Abe Combest once had band called Steel Penny and the boys decided it was time to revive that name in 2016 and hit the road together to share their craft. As avid classic country fans, they take satisfaction in knowing they work to keep the classic music hustle alive. It can undoubtedly be a tough life, but if successful, the rewards can be great. I have faith in these guys and look forward to continued music from them!
Matt Begley - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Abe Combest - Drums, Vocals
Logun Timberlake - Bass, Vocals
Michael Reeh - Lead Guitar
Chance Avery - FOH, Manager/TM
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!