Raised in rural Montgomery County, Virginia, Steve Thomas’s early years as a young boy were mostly isolated – spent living on a working farm with seven brothers and sisters. But like many growing up in a rural setting, music was the main source of entertainment. The Southern Appalachians were a great location for music, and Steve learned early on that music actually means something different when you live in it and grow up with it. It’s part of you, culturally and literally.
Eventually moving from the rural setting, he found himself playing music and making musical friendships that led to opportunities to play in local bluegrass bands. By the time he finished high school he had won the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention as well as the Virginia state mandolin championship. Steve would go on to help create The Lonesome River Band with friend Tim Austin.
While attending college, a chance call about a job opening in Del McCoury’s band was all it took to lure him away from college at 19 years old and hit the road as a traveling bluegrass musician. “Being young and impulsive, and thinking I knew better, I dropped out of college and went to work for Del playing fiddle in 1982,” Steve recalled. “It was a very exciting time for me. That was my college I guess,” he laughed.
In 1983 Steve was invited to play with the Grand Ole Opry’s Jim & Jesse. That led to a career of what he called “a utilitarian musician,” getting to play and travel with groups like the Whites, the Osborne Brothers, and eventually stints with country music icons like Aaron Tippin, Barbara Mandrell, Brooks and Dunn, LeAnn Womack, and John Michael Montgomery.
His love of bluegrass music was always there though, and in December 2018, Lonnie Lassiter of Pinecastle Records simply called to wish him a Merry Christmas. During their conversation Lonnie mentioned an interest in Steve making another record for the label. The result; Steve Thomas and The Time Machine, with new hits on the radio and more music on the way.
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