The bluegrass band Steelwind hasn’t been “blue” since their third album dropped late June — in fact, they are down right giddy.
Founding members Michael Henneberry and Blake Parks, a native Duncanite, were probably never expecting three albums, several tours, T-shirts, additional band members and more when they first started talking in 2009.
Blake was in college at OSU and Michael had come back from his college, but was looking for someone to jam with for fun during the summer when mutual friends gave him Blake’s name and said he played the fiddle. So Michael messaged Blake on Facebook and they haven’t looked back.
“When we did (finally have time) we ended up jamming on my front porch and it was just an instant connection — we really just worked well, our harmonies, — You know that good feeling you get when something just works,” Blake said. “So we started writing songs together and then we created our first album in 2010 (The Sound of a Train). This fall will actually mark 10 years of being a band and writing songs together.”
Michael and Blake added more band members to the group which helped their second album in 2016.
“We added my dad Kenny Parks on bass and then we added Adam Davis on dobro — on the banjo is Joel my brother — he started in about 2016,” Blake said. “He was a rock player and played in these progressive rock bands, one was Ripple Green. He’s always had bluegrass roots but then learned to play the banjo and we were just so happy.”
Collecting new members hasn’t stopped as “Blue” added another.
“Recently we added our female mandolin player and vocalist Becca Herrod. She has kind of reignited and got everyone excited to add her harmonies into every song and have a mandolin player,” Blake said. “It’s just been a really fun experience.”
The duo who writes all the music said they wanted to make this album as polished as possible.
“Everybody wants to grow and progress — once you do something one way you kinda wanna say ‘how can we do this better?’” Michael said. “Our last album ‘F5’ we produced ourselves — we arranged it and when we were in the studio we say ‘this is how we are going to do it.’”
However, getting some professional help was in store for Ol’ Blue.
“This album we decided to work with a producer, his name is Tyler Garcia, he’s out of 33rd Street Studio in Edmond. He produced the album for us — we took the songs as far as we could take them as far as composing them,” Michael said. “He helped us take them to a whole other level — something really cool about this is he doesn’t do much bluegrass. He was able to give us a different prospective on these songs — he also spiced it up.”
Everyone worked on places they felt could improve from vocals, to certain instruments.
The album is out now wherever music is sold: iTunes, Google Play, and can be streamed also on Spotify.
Blake said something special the band had done at show merch were vinyl records, and there are only 100 pressed of the album.
Steelwind will be performing in Stephens County soon. They are going to kick-off the Chisholm Trail Arts Council series on Sept. 26 at the Simmons Center.