Country-alternative artist Sammy Steele booked for multiple Plateau performances

Steele’s fame is growing, but his Plateau performances feels like coming home.

Music enthusiasts have several opportunities to soak up the vibes of homegrown country artist Sammy Steele this summer.

Steele, who grew up in Bonney Lake, looks forward to his upcoming Enumclaw Expo Center gigs including the King County Fair on July 11 from 6 – 9 p.m. and two shows on Aug. 23 at the Enumclaw Pro Rodeo.

“I play all over, but this is where I always come back to,” the Sumner High grad said. “In Enumclaw, it’s like coming back to where it all started. I have so many people rooting for me.”

Sporting a country band t-shirt, jeans, rugged boots, ball cap, and a thick sterling silver chain bracelet his wife gave him, Steele plays guitar and belts out originals as well as popular cover songs from artists such as Chris Stapleton and AC/DC.

“He has a raspy vocal that I just connect to,” Joell Quintus, Steele’s agent and manager, said. “He has a different sound than anything I’ve ever heard. That’s what I want people to hear.”

Steele describes his genre as “country alternative” with roots from the red dirt style of country music. He said Willie Nelson pioneered outlaw country followed by younger artists who weaved in their own sound resulting is what’s known as red dirt country.

“I got into music because my uncle was a country artist, but when I started to find my own path, that was through red dirt country which is Texas,” Steele said. “It’s very different than Nashville music or something you’d hear on the radio.”

Steele recalls being ten years old and watching his uncle, Tony Steele, preform on TV.

“I would not be a musician without him,” Steele said. “He’s 100% the reason I’m playing music.”

Steele decided early on he wanted to succeed one step further than Tony did. While Tony was an accomplished country vocalist, he did not play an instrument.

“I always sang, then I realized all the other musicians out there sing and play the guitar, so I was like, I at least have to play the acoustic,” Steele said. “He [Tony] was my big inspiration for that, and that’s why I learned. I learned on my own because I’m weird like that.”

Self-taught, Steele was in his 20s when he learned to play the guitar with one of his first songs being “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. He said it’s important for people interested learning to play the guitar to choose a song which speaks to their soul.

When it comes to vocals, Steele is a self-proclaimed “shower singer.” He did not participate in high school choir nor take any music lessons.

“It’s funny, my sisters recently came out to my shows in Vegas, and they were like, ‘I remember when you were singing in the shower, and I used to tell you to shut up’,” Steele said. “They were so annoyed with me. Now I’ve made a career out of that.”

The 150-200 performances he does each year range from intimate gigs with one or two other musicians to larger shows with a full band. His original music is written by himself and co-writers such as his best friend Chris Heers.

“Chris is a talented songwriter,” Steele said. “I get a lot of my songs from him, or we will do co-writes. We wrote my entire first album together.”

To date, Steele has released two extended play recordings, one full-length album, and he is set to release part one of a two-part, 17-song album in November 2024. Part two will be released in spring in 2025,.

Between COVID, family, getting married and having children, a lot has happened to inspire his music, and his song accumulation grew.

“I have 100 songs probably. I’m a little older now, and I’m trying to catalog everything. Mostly for my children. If something catches fire, then that’s amazing. You never know. We have some bangers that could take off,” Steele said.

When he’s not traveling, Steele’s home is in Wyoming with his wife, two daughters, and son. His children are learning to play piano, guitar and sing. On the wall of their home hangs a guitar previously played by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

“My wife’s father passed away, and he used to drive those guys to the airport, which is kind of crazy, like back in the 70s,” Steele said. “He also played in a famous band, and they were all hanging out at some point. My wife ended up with it. It’s really cool.”

Steele spends a lot of time on the road, which he said is challenging, but he is grateful for the opportunity to play music, something that Covid helped to shine a light on. During the pandemic, some of his friends stopped playing music and bands broke up, but he pushed through. Whether it’s an intimate gig or big show, Steele appreciates the opportunities to perform.

“Anytime I can play music, it’s a gift,” he said. “It’s a blessing. It’s a gift for people to be able to share that. Being able to persevere through [COVID] was a crazy time. So, I don’t take anything for granted now.

“When I do this thing for Chris Stapleton, that’s important to me because, who knows, he could be in his trailer listening,” he continued. “I’m always going to be thinking about that. I’ve owned a lot of businesses, so I’m very business-minded and oriented.”

While Quintus is managing the band’s logistics, Steele said his job is to focus on the music. A dreamer, Steele’s had many visions about music, including a reoccurring dream where he takes the stage with Dierks Bentley. Not long after having the dream, Steele learned that Quintus booked a gig for him to play in Montana, following a concert where Bentley and Keith Urban are headlining.

“It’s an after party, so probably won’t even see them. Still, I had the vision about Dierks, and it was cool there was some kind of connection.” Steele said. “I’m a big believer in vision and manifesting.”

Steele enjoys performing in a variety of venues including intimate wine bars where he can dig into his vocals for a more emotional feel, to the larger events such as the King County Fair.

“The way he connects with fans is amazing,” Quintus said. “If you like country music, you’re going to definitely love Sammy Steele.”

In addition to shows at the King County Fair and the Pro Rodeo, Steele has several local gigs booked, including one at at the Black Diamond’s Ten Trail’s neighborhood on July 20, 2 – 5 p.m.; a performance at Bonney Lake’s Tunes at Tapps performance series on Aug. 7 starting at 6 p.m. at Allen Yorke Park; and another Enumclaw performance on Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Steele will also play at the pre-party for Chris Stapleton on July 27 at Victory Hall, located across the street from T-Mobile Park.