Jack Steelman began playing trumpet, at his father’s guidance, somewhere between the age of 6 and 7. Upon reaching the ripe old age of 10, he was playing solos with the elementary school concert band. By the end of high school, he was in North Carolina All State concert and symphonic bands, had become deeply engrossed in big band music, and was travelling on weekends and summers with his own ten piece band, backing up the Platters up and down the east coast.
Then it happened. After college, new friends introduced him to bluegrass music and he’s never been the same. Horns were replaced with an upright bass, Tom Gray took the place of Bach, and a new musical journey began. After a decade of playing bluegrass in the eastern part of North Carolina, where his quartet String Fever stole second place in the East Coast Country and Bluegrass Music competition at King’s Dominion in Richmond, Va, Jack finally came back home to Winston-Salem, ran into an old high school pal, Allen Conrad, and the two of them began today what is known as Rain Check.
Musically, Jack’s number one love is for bluegrass gospel music, though he’s never lost the appreciation for hard driving rhythms, soul searching ballads, and anything in between that leaves an audience happier than they were when they got there. “The Seldom Scene really got me in to this stuff,” he said, “and I hope I never find a way out. To me, it’s all about the acoustic ensemble sound or, as Earl Scruggs put it, the music between the notes.”