JUN 20, 2019


Staff Writer

The Band Steele began as an internet sensation and has built a national following performing at fairs and festivals and for U.S. military at bases and hospitals. The singer-songwriter pair will perform at 8 p.m. July 13 at the Central Iowa Fair. In an interview with the Times-Republican, its members, Bo Steele and Ben Rubino, reflect upon their music.

“Me and Ben always say there wasn’t an ‘aha moment’ we knew we could do this. We just always knew it was what we were going to do,” Steele said. “I like to sing with anybody, but my buddy is the only one that gets me when it comes to music. We’ve been doing it so long together, we can read each other’s minds most of the time.”

The two men come from the tiny Alabama town of Double Springs. Their career took off after Steele’s a capella performance of “Victory in Jesus” went viral, which led to a recording contract. The duo signed with Fire River Records in 2014. Their debut album “Moon in a Mason Jar” (2017) produced three singles: “Tan Lines,” “195” and “Sit Awhile.”

The guys got to join a movie crew in Vancouver for the filming of the 2015 movie “Life on the Line” starring John Travolta and Sharon Stone. Steele made a cameo appearance performing the song “Good Times.”

“Coming from our little ‘two red light town’ to hanging out with John Travolta was a pretty big deal for us,” Rubino said.

The Band Steele takes inspiration from a variety of musical sources. Rubino said he has been influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, Clint Black, John Denver and James Taylor. His mother also plays the guitar. Steele listens to more hard rock styles, and likes Kiss, Pearl Jam and Audioslave. His uncles were once in a band.

“I used to watch old VHS recordings my grandma had of them playing at the courthouse during the little town jam, so that influenced me a whole lot,”Steele said. “I was introduced to the world of Kiss and rock and roll and fell in love with it.”

Steele is the duo’s lead vocalist, while Rubino sings backup and plays the guitar. They write most of their own songs. Steele likes to work on lyrics, while Rubino handles the melody.

The concert they will perform in Marshalltown will include their hits, plus covers of classic and 90s rock tunes and classic and modern country. They will be accompanied by a Nashville-based backing band.

The fair will be held July 10-13 at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds, 1308 E. Olive St. This will be the duo’s first concert in Marshalltown, but they have visited KIX 101.1 Iowa’s Best Country studios in the past.

The Band Steele just got done recording some new music, with a single to debut late summer. They spend much of their time in Nashville, but visit home often. 

“We are very excited they will round out the final day of the fair and will follow the Extreme Bull Riding we have scheduled,” Fair Planning Chair Shannon Espenscheid said.

To learn more about the CIF, visit centraliowafairgrounds.net.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 

or sjordan@timesrepublican.com