How Jeffrey Steele Put Together the Sleeper Country Album of the Year

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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