Review: Dave Adkins & Republick Steele – That’s Just the Way I Roll

Dave Adkins (guitar and vocals), Kenny O’Quinn (mandolin), and Danny Ray Stiltner (bass) hail from Elkhorn City Kentucky, coal country. If you expect gritty bluegrass from a band with most of the members coming down through generations of coal miners you’re on the right track.

They’re joined by Wesley Wolfe (lead guitar, Mount Carmel TN), Matt Cruby (banjo, Fort Blackmore VA), and they’ve put together a great bluegrass team. The band was nominated for the SPBGMA Entertaining Group of the year, and Dave Adkins came home with a nomination for SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the year.

Speaking of gritty, much of the sound of the band revolves around Dave Adkins driving vocals, If you think of the powerful sound of the Steeldrivers you’re on the right track, but while the bands sound somewhat similar the Steeldrivers delve deeper into murder and mayhem while Republick Steele works more of the love lost and love found side of bluegrass.

While the band looks young, they’ve all grown up with bluegrass (with some rock and country thrown in) and have been playing long enough on their own to hone their sound well beyond their years. It’s only when reading their bios that you find that Wesley Wolfe on the lead guitar is all of sixteen years old – and he shows you that fine playing is certainly ageless!

“Chasin’ A Dream”

Their debut album opens with the romping title song “That’s Just the Way I Roll,” followed by the classic country song “Rose Colored Glasses.” “Heartstring”‘ is the first song composed by Dave Adkins on the CD, sounding familiar but still leaving you asking “Why hasn’t this song been written before?!” You wouldn’t expect Kenny Loggins’ “Please Come to Boston” to sound gritty and soulful at the same time, but it does. I’ll bet you also find yourself singing along with it! “Get ‘Em Up” brings a bit of Motown harmonies to a bluegrass gospel song. “Laura Mae” feels as big and wide as “Ol’ Montana” where the character is moving west to settle with his bride. “Don’t They Know He’s Watching” is a dark and eerie tune about not getting away with your wrongs. “Rio” is an upbeat rolling, rollicking bluegrass break-up song.”Chasin’ A Dream” takes you on the hard road of a musician making his life and living on tour. “The Storm” closes the album on a quiet, contemplative note, better described as a heartfelt prayer than a gospel song.

Unfortunately, the latest news is that the members of this band have already moved on to new things. If you want to hear how things might have been you need to give this one a listen!

Rural Rhythm Records

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a long time local HVBA member and music lover who, unfortunately, had to move away. He misses the local scene but will look for you at Greyfox!

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