The Steel Woods / Zach Top @ the Studio at the Factory, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Sometimes it’s hard to describe what makes music appealing. It may be the lyrics, it may be the song’s structure, it may be a vibe that transports you to another place and time. In the case of the Steel Woods, it may be all the above. But there’s something that pulls you in and makes you take note. And those that knew were in attendance when they made a stop in Dallas!

Making their mark on the music scene in 2017 with their debut album, Straw In the Wind, the band has persevered with non-wavering, intelligent songwriting. They have overcome personal tragedy, moving forward after the untimely loss of founding member, guitarist Jason “Rowdy” Cope. This year will see the release of their fourth studio album, On Your Time. From what I’ve heard so far this album follows the same no-nonsense formula presented on their previous three albums.

Touring in support of the forthcoming album, the Steel Woods brought along the up-and-coming traditional country artist, Zach Top. Top’s music is straight up nineties country revived. His band is tight and adept at following one another’s lead. A big cheer goes up as Top mentions he’s been in Texas quite a bit over the past couple weeks and he’s still not tired of it! As the singer/songwriter plays his Spotify hit, “There’s the Sun”, several couples are seen swaying to the song’s Keith Whitleyesque energy. A cover of Flatt & Scruggs, “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin” finds Top showing off his guitar playing dexterity. For more on Zach Top check out his website.

If you’re looking for a glitz and glam show, the Steel Woods probably won’t be your cup of tea. Now if you’re looking to see and hear the true power of music, this is your show. You get the feeling frontman Wes Bayliss may be trying to hide his emotion behind dark sunglasses, but his voice tells a different tale. Expounding on Bayliss’s passionate delivery is lead guitarist, Tyler Powers. At times you could almost hear his guitar oozing the soul of a song. Filling in any remaining bare spots were bassist Johnny Stanton, and drummer Isaac Senty.

Throughout the night you can find some unexpected covers in their set ranging from Patty Loveless’s “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” to Black Sabbath’s “Hole In the Sky.” The varying styles covered are solidified by the Woods signature sound. A lone voice in the small audience sums up the rooms thoughts as he bellows, “you guys’ rock, don’t stop!” followed up by a Ric Flair styled woohoo! I felt a bit sad as I had to leave early but certainly hopeful this will not be the only time; I see this outstanding band!

Thank you to the Steel Woods for allowing MTC MAG access to the show and to the Studio at the Factory for putting it all together!

Photos of the show are below:

Zach Top
The Steel Woods
Contributed by Duane Clawson

The Steel Woods / Zach Top @ the Studio at the Factory, Dallas, TX The Steel Woods / Zach Top @ the Studio at the Factory, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on September 18, 2023 Rating: 5
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