The hard-driving, Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band The SteelDrivers have a new permanent lead singer and guitar player. Kelvin Damrell, who is native of Berea, Kentucky, and grew up in a family of bluegrass Gospel singers, has been named as the replacement in a spot previously held by some very big names, including Chris Stapleton, Adam Wakefield of The Voice fame, and Gary Nichols, who exited the band in August of 2017 for undisclosed reasons.
“I was a big fan of The SteelDrivers before I got the call. Coming on board with such amazing musicians is an honor and a dream come true,” says Damrell about the distinction.
The SteelDrivers made the announcement on Monday (1-22) about the new addition.
“It took us a while to heal up and get it together. To be honest, we didn’t know for sure if we’d ever be able to replace such a massive talent. But we eventually found this young fella from the hills of Kentucky who can absolutely rock the grass! Much like G-Ray, Kelvin grew up singing and playing electric guitar in local rock bands. He’s a great musician. His singing is soulful and from the heart with a big dose of bluesy grit. On a personal level Kelvin is a hard working family man with a lovely wife and two young boys. We’re thrilled to have Kelvin join us”
Gary Nichols took over for now country music superstar Chris Stapleton when Stapleton left The SteelDrivers in 2010 to pursue a songwriting and solo career. Nichols was uniquely equipped to handle the soaring vocals of the band first started by Stapleton, as is Kelvin Damrell, who can be found covering both Stapleton and SteelDrivers tunes on YouTube. Though still solidly bluegrass, the SteelDrivers are known for their more hard-driving, almost Southern rock style, with exceptional and outstepping vocals talents not always indicative of bluegrass. They’ve received great attention over the last couple of years due to the rise in popularity of Chris Stapleton.
We’ve done a handful of shows with KD so far and those who’ve seen him have loved him,” say The SteelDrivers. “He got a rousing standing ovation on his very first show! We hope you will welcome KD into the SteelHead Nation.”
For those wondering if Kelvin Damrell could fill such big shoes in the SteelDrivers, a good sign is that Damrell won a Chris Stapleton cover contest held by Wide Open Country in 2017, walking away with $1,000. Now he will have a chance to do the real thing on a nightly basis.
The SteelDrivers also gave thanks to Adam Wakefield for his fill-in duties. “He was coming off a very successful run on the hit show ‘The Voice’ around the time when things started getting complicated for us. On very short notice Adam was able to squeeze us into his schedule, learn a bunch of songs and jump on stage. Adam was instrumental in keeping us afloat last year.”
The other members of the SteelDrivers are Mike Fleming, Tammy Rogers, Richard Bailey, and Brent Truitt. The band has a few upcoming dates where fans can see the new lineup.
February 2 Atlanta, GA
February 3 Birmingham, AL
February 23 Charlotte, NC
March 1 St. Louis, MO
March 2 Memphis, TN
March 3 Fayetteville, AR
March 8 Stoughton, WI
March 9 Minneapolis, MN
March 24 New Orleans, LA