Take yourself back to the days of dusty country roads, carefree summers, and your radio tuned to music that was soulful and authentic. Enter Plywood Cowboy in 2018, crafting songs ripe with these nostalgic comforts, yet perfectly suited for the soundtrack of modern life. With their second album release, “Blue Skies”, the band continues to produce refreshing music that has been called “steeped in tradition, with lyrics full of longing, truth and heart” by Sound Waves Magazine.
In keeping with their debut EP “Channel 33”, the band’s first full-length album, “Blue Skies”, was recorded at Riverway Studio with producer and Grammy-nominated composer Ira Sakolsky. Influenced by the original sounds of country-western and rock n’ roll, the album presents a roots Americana palate with modern harmonic sensibility. Released in August 2018, “Blue Skies” is crafted and written by lead singer-songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist Steve Dedman. Completing the Plywood Cowboy sound are Kat Wallace (violin, vocals), Shane Tanner (bass), Emmet Hale (percussion), Austin Gray (guitar, vocals), and guest Ed Iarusso (pedal steel).
Born in the Connecticut River Valley in 2015, Plywood Cowboy continues to expand nationally. The band has been honored to open for the Grammy-nominated act Yarn, as well as for United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and has performed with members of Keith Urban’s band. In 2018, Plywood Cowboy won the Connecticut Folk Festival band competition, giving them the opportunity to share the CT Folk Festival stage with Jesse Terry and Martin Sexton.
Following a wildly successful launch at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “Channel 33” earned accolades as “a gorgeously assured collection of songs” (The Shoreline Times) and “a seriously hooky debut EP” (The Day). “Blue Skies”, lined up for Grammy consideration, is another strong musical collection. Underneath the soothing vocals, stellar musicianship and harmonies, lies a story in each song. Mama Could Dance is an ironically humorous tale of a desperate man unable to win over a bombshell on the dance floor. Take Me On Back returns the listener to childhood, with a reminder that it will always remain within us. While Stray tells the story of a love that was led astray and the guilt and forgiveness that ensues. When describing the album’s sound, Dedman says: “Country music, Americana music, rock music, folk music. It’s all music to me. It’s almost indescribable with words. I think most art is. It’s rooted in our DNA. Certainly in mine.” With the new album, Dedman expresses gratitude for the gift of music, his fellow musicians, and everyone who takes the time to listen.
Dedman’s father, David, and family friend John Hanus, taught Steve his first guitar chords at a young age. Kristofferson, Prine and Cash songs were the launching pad. Soon, Dedman was chasing down Floyd Cramer licks on the piano. The three would play their favorite country songs over the CB radio airwaves, and take the time on Sundays to practice the country-western picking style. Few knew John by his real name, but many knew him by his CB handle, “Plywood Cowboy”, a reference to his day job hauling lumber for Housatonic Lumber Co. Though both Capt. Sunshine (David’s handle) and John have left the airwaves, their influences will forever be engrained in Plywood Cowboy’s music.
“We either rock the hell out of the songs live or we dim the lights and cry together with the crowd.”, says Dedman. Listen for yourself and see why New York Blues Hall of Fame Inductee Chris Bergson called Plywood Cowboy “one of the best new bands on the Americana scene”. “Blue Skies” are here.