Berea native becomes lead vocalist for The Steeldrivers
Sometimes you never know where the talent of Kentucky will lead you. Just as the bluegrass band, The Steeldrivers, was working on their fifth album, “Bad For You,” their lead vocalist, Gary Nichols, decided to part ways. Prior to Nichols as Kentucky native, Chris Stapleton, who also gained notoriety with his vocal powers. This time around, The Steeldrivers hired on another Kentuckian by the name of Kelvin Damrell, Jr. from Berea.
Tammy Rogers noted that her daughter was the one to discover Kelvin Damrell, Jr. from Youtube by watching videos of the 25 year old.
“I was pretty fresh to bluegrass,” Kelvin says. “The only bluegrass I’d heard was couch pickin’ at my grandparents’ house, and I wasn’t into it, to be completely honest. I was a rocker. Cinderella was my favorite band before I met these guys.” But that kind of angular perspective was more in tune with The Steeldrivers than he could have known, and his initiation into bluegrass infused a convert’s zeal into his performances. “Everybody in the band were virtuosos,” he says. “And I’d never seen that side of bluegrass. I thought it was just that old foot stomping traditional stuff, so I was surprised to hear this. And I knew I had a lot of work to do to keep up.”
Right off the bat, Kelvin Damrell, Jr. has blown us away with his vocal powers throughout the song “Bad For You.” He stands on his own with his vocal style, but it is perfect with the harmony background vocals. The rustic sound in his voice is distinct to Kentucky music.
Fans can pre-order The Steeldrivers new album, “Bad For You,” on their website. It will ship on or before February 7, 2020. They will be having album release parties following the album release. On February 14th, they are set to perform at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington, followed by a performance at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland the next night.
Listen below to the album track, “Bad For You,” featuring Kelvin Damrell, Jr. of Berea singing lead vocals.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.