Following the untimely death of the band’s co-founder, songwriter, and guitarist Jason “Rowdy” Cope on Jan. 16 at the age of 42, The Steel Woods‘ surviving members, singer Wes Bayliss, bassist Johnny Stanton, and drummer Isaac Senty, have made the difficult decision to move ahead with the release of their third album All of Your Stones (Thirty Tigers) on May 14.
Originally scheduled for release Jan. 18, All of Your Stones features a more heartfelt, uplifting title track, co-written by Cope, lead singer Wes Bayliss, and Jamey Johnson.
Unabashedly likening their sound to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band add a soulful nod to their musical hero’s 1974 track “I Need You” on All of Your Stones and open on a heavier “Out Of the Blue,” a song written by Cope and Aaron Raitiere on perseverance and cutting ties to the past. Along with the bluesier “You Never Came Home,” the sentimental “Ole Pal,” written prior to Cope’s passing, takes on new meaning for the band following his death.
Cope, who also played with The Oak Ridge Boys, Linda Ortega—producing her 2017 EP Til The Goin’ Gets Gone—The Secret Sisters and Jamey Johnson (who also played with Cope for nearly 10 years), started The Steel Woods after hitting it off with Bayliss at a one-off gig in Nashville, despite their 13-year age difference.
Soon after, The Steel Woods, released their debut, Straw in the Wind in 2017 and follow up 2019’s Old News, which pushed the band further up the country charts with supporting slots on tour with Dwight Yoakam, Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson and even Skynyrd.
Still shaken by the loss of Cope, the band decided to move forward with the release of All of Your Stones as a tribute to the “heart, soul, love and vision Cope put into The Steel Woods,” according the a release, sharing his final chapter with the band.