The Steepwater Band

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The Steepwater Band
Steepwater Band promo shot 2008.JPG
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Rock n Roll, Blues rock,
Years active 1998–present
Labels Diamond Day
Members Jeff Massey
Joe Winters
Tod Bowers
Eric Saylors
Past members Michael Connelly

The Steepwater Band is an American rock band formed in Chicago in 1998 by the trio of Jeff Massey (guitars and vocals), Joe Winters (drums), and Tod Bowers (bass). The band took their name from a cargo vessel that Massey sighted in a port on Lake Michigan.


1998 to 2004[edit]

Initially the band concentrated on playing their own versions of classic blues songs, particularly electric Chicago-style blues, and performed their first concert at Phyllis' Musical Inn in Chicago on October 29, 1998.

The band quickly progressed from covering blues tunes to writing their own music. Their influences include the Allman Brothers Band, Free, Cream, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and Humble Pie, in addition to blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and John Lee Hooker.

In 1999 the band met singer-songwriter Michael Connelly, who collaborated with them on their inaugural effort, the five-song EP Goin' Back Home. The Steepwater Band returned the favor by performing on Connelly's project, Bottles of Wine. Connelly officially joined The Steepwater Band in 2000.

The years of 1999 and 2000 saw the band performing relentlessly in Chicago and the surrounding region. During this time they continued to write new material and hone their gritty guitar-based blues-rock sound. The buzz in the local music community increased and on June 8, 2000, The Steepwater Band performed at their first Chicago Blues Festival, kicking off that year's event at high noon.

The band released its first full-length CD in 2001. Titled Brother to the Snake, the CD was released with the support of radio station WXRT and Jim Beam to a packed house at Chicago's Double Door. During the year the band also released a live-in-the-studio album, Live...Half in the Bag.

The band continued to play in the Midwest in 2002 and 2003, often being selected for opening act slots for international acts including Bad Company, 38 Special, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Sonny Landreth, Buddy Guy, and Taj Mahal. The band also signed a recording, management, and publishing deal with Funzalo Records/Mike’s Artist Management during this period. This relationship resulted in the production of one album, Dharmakaya, which was recorded with producers Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Warren Zevon, the Pixies, Uncle Tupelo) in Boston and released on May 18, 2004. Connelly departed in October 2004, and the band and Funzalo/MAM ended their relationship in early 2005.

2005 - 2010[edit]

In April 2005 the band performed on television in Nashville, Tennessee, with Little Milton, who died a few months later. In June, for their fifth time playing the Chicago Blues Festival, they received a headlining slot on the Best Buy Showcase Stage.

In September, The Steepwater Band performed their first European concert at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

The Steepwater Band performing at the Azkena Rock Festival, September 1, 2005.

In addition to their own 70-minute set (a set that was widely acclaimed in the European press following the festival), they hosted a late-night jam session with members of the Drive-by Truckers and the Basque band The Soulbreaker Company. Approximately twenty other bands were invited to participate in the three-day event including Gov't Mule, Deep Purple, Queens of the Stone Age, and Wilco.

In November 2005, the band was invited by Chicago rock radio station WLUP to open for Bon Jovi at the sold-out United Center.

In 2006, in addition to their own heavy touring schedule, the band performed at various festivals and concerts with Umphrey's McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, the Doobie Brothers, Ian Gillan (Deep Purple's vocalist), and Cheap Trick.

The band’s third full-length CD, Revelation Sunday, was released on August 15, 2006. The album is being distributed by Evangeline Records in Europe and on the band’s own Diamond Day imprint in the United States. The CD release concert for Revelation Sunday was held on August 11, 2006, at Chicago's historic Metro music venue.

In September, the band headlined three concerts (with The Soulbreaker Company as the opening act) in Madrid, Bilbao, and Barcelona, Spain. Rick Richards, guitarist of The Georgia Satellites, joined the band on stage for three songs in Barcelona.

The band performed on the Gimme Three Days cruise with Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, American Minor, Tishamingo, Blackberry Smoke, and other blues-rock, southern rock and country artists aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines Fascination in January 2007. The event was produced by Sixthman LLC of Atlanta, Georgia.

In its March issue, Vintage Guitar magazine published a full-page article/interview with band members.

In July, the band returned to Europe for a tour of Spain and the Canary Islands. The tour began with a concert in Barcelona, Spain, on July 5 with Gov't Mule and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, and also included a date with long-time Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford.

In conjunction with the tour the band also released the "Songs From the Eighth Day" CD, featuring covers of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer", Bob Dylan's "Phantom Engineer", Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway", Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues", a live version of "Collision", and two new Steepwater Band songs.

In May 2008, the band hits the Compound Studios in Long Beach, CA with producer Marc Ford (ex-Black Crowes guitarist), to record Grace And Melody. The record was released by Diamond day Records in November 2008.

The Steepwater Band signed with the Teenage Head Music booking agency from Belgium. Diamond Day Records released Grace And Melody in December 2008. In December 2009, the band announced a five-week tour of Europe, including a run with Marc Ford in Spain on the first ten dates.

In early February 2010, the band embarks on a 2 week tour with Gov't Mule. and shortly after begins their 5 week European tour.

In September 2010, The Steepwater Band's brand new single, The Stars Look Good Tonight, debuts on the FMQB AAA Top 200 Radio Chart at No. 165*, with the help of Jeff McClusky & Associates, The JB Brenner Company and Heavy Lenny Promotions.

In October 2010 Diamond Day Records releases Live at the Double Door. Recorded at a single show in May 2010, the album showcases the raw, powerful sound of the band's live set.


August 16, 2011 sees the release of Clava, to rave reviews.


January 7, 2012 - The song, Collision, off their 2006 Revelation Sunday album, will appear in the motion picture, One For The Money, featuring Katherine Heigl.

February 2012—Former Healing Sixes guitarist Eric Saylors joins The Steepwater Band as second guitar and backing vocalist.

Band members[edit]

  • Jeff Massey (guitar and vocals)
  • Tod Bowers (bass guitar)
  • Joe Winters (drums)
  • Eric Saylors (2nd guitar and vocals)


  • 2000 - Goin' Back Home EP (Independent)
  • 2001 - Brother to the Snake (USA: Funzalo Records; Europe: Evangeline Records)
  • 2001 - Live....Half in the Bag (Independent)
  • 2004 - Dharmakaya (USA: Funzalo Records; Europe: Evangeline Records; Canada: True North Records)
  • 2006 - Revelation Sunday (USA: Diamond Day Records; Europe: Evangeline Records)
  • 2007 - Songs From the Eighth Day (USA: Diamond Day Records)
  • 2008 - Grace And Melody (Diamond Day Records)
  • 2008 - The Steepwater Band Live Concert DVD
  • 2010 - Live at the Double Door (Diamond Day Records)
  • 2010 - The Stars Look Good Tonight - Single (Diamond Day Records)
  • 2011 - Clava (Diamond Day Records)
  • 2013 - Live & Humble
  • 2014 - Diamond Days

Film and television[edit]

  • Major Motion Picture - One For The Money, featuring Katherine Heigl: used the song “Collision” ~ 2012
  • Chicago Cubs Baseball (WGN Superstation): “The Stars Look Good Tonight” ~ 2010
  • The television series Deadliest Catch used the song "Another Cold Letdown" 2010
  • The television series Friday Night Lights used the song "Revelation Sunday" during a football game sequence in a 2007 episode (online and DVD versions).
  • The Disney movie Invincible starring Mark Wahlberg contained the song "Autumn" off the band's 2004 release Dharmakaya.
  • Nissan Motors has been using the song "Black Cat's Path", also from Dharmakaya, for a long-running national television advertising campaign (2004 - current) for their full-size Titan pick-up truck.
  • The television sitcom My Name Is Earl has used the songs "Dead Horse" (Dharmakaya) and "Dirty Ol' Blues" (Brother to the Snake) in episodes.

External links[edit]