The Herb Story, so far that is...

Born in Los Angeles in 1947... began making music in the early 60's bluegrass scene in Southern California, studied with Clarence and Roland White, Billy Ray Latham, many others... mentored by Red Rhodes in 1968... started playing steel guitar with Linda Ronstadt's Stone Poneys band, first taste of national touring.

After a short year with Ronstadt, 3 years of California honkytonks... In 1970, joined a band with Boomer Castleman, and Michael Martin Murphey ... played every dance hall and skull orchard around Hollywood and Las Vegas... hustling recording dates in the daytime, being a musician about town in Hollywood.

Escaped from LA in 1972 to move to Austin TX and rejoin Michael Martin Murphey's Cosmic Cowboy Orchestra (2 albums), also picking and recording with BW Stevenson (the original "My Maria"), and Jerry Jeff Walker ("Viva Terlingua" and more)...among many others.

Beginning 1975 came 5 years in Alvin Crow's western band, the Pleasant Valley Boys... Toured all over the country playing skull orchards, concert dates, Lone Star Cafes in many towns, Carnegie Hall and all points in between... Alvin cut my song Nyquil Blues and had a regional bar-band hit with it... 1979 - brief sojourns with Dottsy (remember her?) Clay Blaker,and Asleep at the Wheel.

In 1980 joined Texas Fever... played every dance hall and skull orchard around Austin TX, 5 nights a week... started own band in 1988, working the dance hall circuit again.

In January of 1992, Texas country music legend Johnny Bush asked if I'd become a Bandolero, had the job since that time... It's a total pleasure to make and record classic country music with one of the legends of the art form.

During the late 90's/early 2000's I also worked for some of the best younger "alternative" country acts coming up: Derailers, Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson...

I also must admit to shared guilt in creating the insanity in the Cornell Hurd Band, basically musical mayhem with the "David Letterman of Country Music." Cornell has without a doubt one of the most brilliant and twisted minds in country music, and as such is my "soul brother."

1995-1996 was a good year... I recorded my own first album, Texas Bandstand Favorites and was voted Steel Guitarist of the Year-1996 by the Texas Steel Guitar Association.

In March of 2000 I released Texas Dance Time!, my second album, featuring some of the best western swing musicians in Austin, among them Dave Biller, Howard Kalish, Lisa Pankratz, and Floyd Domino. Designed more as a Western Swing band album rather than a steel guitar recording, it features twin steels, harmony guitars, and three fiddles on a selection of well-known chestnuts and standards.

In March of 2002, I released Rancho Rhythm Roundup, my third album as a recording "artist." This one features Howard, Lisa, and Floyd from my previous recording, with the addition of Rick McRae on guitar and Terry Hale on upright bass. Both of these wonderful musicians have been my friends for many years, and can be heard all over the country as members of George Strait's Ace in the Hole band.

In 2003, I left my friends in the Cornell Hurd Band and joined a group with Pete Mitchell on lead guitar and B.B. Morse on upright bass behind hardcore country songwriter James Hand. James hand is an amazing singer and performer in the Hank Williams/Lefty Frizzell mode and more will be heard from him in the future, I'm sure.

Also in October of 2003, I was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame, in Sacramento, California. I am truly humbled to be in the same group of musicians as many of my heroes.

In March of 2005 I was honored by my induction into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. This is a high point in my career since membership is decided by a vote of the members of the Hall of Fame. To be selected as a colleague by some of the greatest steel guitarists in history is both humbling and exhilarating.

2005 was spent in varied activities; first, as a musician and actor in the Zachary Scott Theatre production of "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" , a fictionalized account of the tragic singer's rise and fall. After a short tour of Europe with the Pat James Band, I concentrated on writing steel guitar courses.

In January of 2006, I joined Gary P. Nunn and the Sons of the Bunkhouse Band. Gary was one of the first musicians I met and played with in Texas, back in 1972, and we've worked together a lot over the decades, but never on a steady basis since the early 70's. Gary P's got a hot little Texas Music band and we're working steadily every weekend and more all over the state.

Of course, I'm still busy producing steel guitar instructional material. That's probably the future for me, after this touring silliness gets old!!!

At the end of 2007 I rejoined my old compadre Michael Martin Murphey for his Cowboy Christmas Tour 2007, with several of my bandmates from the 70's groups. A wonderful and spirit-filled western approach to the celebration of the Christmas season.

Two-thousand-eight finds me with several projects: back to traditional country with a great band from the San Antonio area, the River City Ramblers; another theatrical effort with a return to the great musical "Always... Patsy Cline," featuring up-and-coming actress/vocalist Selena Rosanbalm in the title role; and again going out on the road with Murphey for the Cowboy Christmas Tour 2008.

In 2009 I joined a great swing band, Tony Harrison and Hot Texas, and I continue to play with them regularly. The band features a great horn section as well as monster guitarists Rick McRae and Redd Volkaert. In 2011 the band was nominated by the Academy of Western Artists in the categories "Best Group,""Best Album," and "Best Song."

In addition to the Tony Harrison Band, I'm once again playing gigs with Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys, and once again touring with Michael Martin Murphey in what seems to be another "deja vu all over again" situation. What goes around generally comes around, as they say.

2014 finds me once again traveling with Gary P. Nunn and the Sons of the Bunkhouse, touring all over Texas and beyond. Gary Nunn is the man who first advised me, as a young steel player in Los Angeles, that I should consider moving to Austin because it would be a good fit. How right he was.

Some Recordings I've Done

Johnny Bush  Talk to My Heart (1998)
Johnny Bush  Lost Highway Saloon (2000)
Johnny Bush  Devil's Disciple (2005)
Alvin Crow Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys..(1975)
Alvin Crow High Riding (1977)
The Donettes  Pitchin' Woo (2002)
Wayne Hancock Thunderstorms and Neon Signs (1995)
James Hand  Live at the Saxon Pub (2004)
Tony Harrison & Hot Texas Swing Big 2010
Cornell Hurd Band  Texas Fruit Shack (1998)
Cornell Hurd Band  At Large (1999)
Cornell Hurd  Stagecoach Named Desire (2001)
Cornell Hurd  Song of South Austin (2002)
Cornell Hurd  Live at Jovita's: Don't Quit Your Night Job (2003)
Peter Keane  Another Kind of Blues (2000)
Little Jewford  Live from Uranus (2003)
Don McCalister, Jr.  Brand New Ways (1993)
Michael Murphey  Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir (1973)
Michael Murphey  Michael Murphey (1973)
Michael Martin Murphey Texas Music Legends Live from the Majestic 2007
Gary P. Nunn Home with the Armadillo: Live at Austin City Limits (1984)
Gary P. Nunn Texas Music Legends Live from the Majestic 2007
Linda Ronstadt  Hand Sown Home Grown (1969)
Mike Runnels One More Time (2005)
Mike Runnels Don't Tell Candy (2006)
Mike Runnels Jukebox Boulevard (2008)
Mike Runnels The Tender Years (2010)
B.W. Stevenson  My Maria (1973)
B.W. Stevenson  Pass This Way (1973)
The Studebakers  Now and Then (2004)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Jerry Jeff Walker (1972)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Viva Terlingua (1973)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Man Must Carry On (1977)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Best of Jerry Jeff Walker (1980)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Viva Luckenbach! (1994)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Man Must Carry On, Vol. 1 (1997)
Jerry Jeff Walker  Man Must Carry On, Vol. 2 (1997)
Dale Watson  I Hate These Songs (1997)
Dale Watson  Best of the HighTone Years (2002)
Various Artists  Texas Music, Vol. 2: Western Swing (1994)
Various Artists  Austin Country Nights:  Rising Stars From the Heart of Texas(1995)
Various Artists  Uprooted: The Best of Roots Country Singer Songwriters (1998)
Various Artists  Kerrville Folk Festival: Early Years 1972-1981 (1998)
Various Artists  Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides (2002)


Herb Steiner Music • PO Box 36, Spicewood, TX 78669
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