The first time Jeffrey Steele heard country music in person was at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. His father would take Steele, then about 9 years old, to the weekly Palomino Talent Show, where he saw legends like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens play to crowds of a few hundred people. Years later, Steele, who today is a Nashville Songwriting Hall of Famer, got his start playing country music in the Palomino’s house band.
“I was playing the Roxy and the Viper Room in these rock bands, and I started moonlighting as a country guy because I could make $50 a night playing bass in a country band,” says Steele. In spite of his father’s influence, he’d been weaned mostly on rock & roll by his older siblings. “When I first started hearing those songs, I was so overwhelmed by the lyrics and simplicity, the twist of the phrase. Country’s got a certain form that really separated it from the rest.”
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