Steam Machine sits somewhere between the full, round, sounds of American old-time stringband music and the raw drive of early bluegrass. With clean, powerful fiddling and rolling three finger banjo they highlight unique and beautiful Midwestern repertoire alongside tunes and songs from Appalachia. A rock-solid rhythm section and honest, unprocessed singing round out their sound. All four band members are actively involved in perpetuating roots music and dance traditions as players, teachers, and community scholars in their home communities and wherever they go. Having performed across the country and world individually, as a band they are having a lot of fun forming a style that has been called “wonderfully tasteful!” “so fine!” “a treat!” and “powerful!” by fans of the genre.
AJ grew up in a musical household and became obsessed with the fiddle at age 10. Eighteen years later, he is a tireless collector of old recordings and a versatile player and teacher. AJ has played concerts/dances and taught fiddle workshops at Augusta Heritage Center (WV), Berkeley Old-Time Music Gathering (CA), Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival (CO), many Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association festivals, the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association and many other events. AJ also plays in several other groups, including the Blake Miller and the Old Fashioned Aces (Cajun), New Riverside Ramblers (Cajun) and Hello Heartache (country).
Tacke first learned to play clawhammer style banjo, but he was inspired to learn three-finger style after hearing Kyle Creed and the Blue Ridge Square Dance. He has quickly become a much desired player for his driving three-finger sound. Tacke has played concerts/dances and taught banjo workshops at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Gathering, Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival, Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association festivals, and more. When not playing old-time, Tacke likes to play and sing country songs in the Minneapolis-based Hello Heartache, and build guitars and banjos at the Red River Banjo Co.
Rina danced with the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers for 8 years and calls dances regularly at the Monday Night Square Dance in Minneapolis. She has played dances/concerts, taught flatfooting, fiddle, bass, and guitar workshops, and called square dances from West Virginia to California to Germany. She has fiddled and danced on stages across Europe with the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. But rhythm is in her family on both sides, and playing guitar is something she loves to do.
Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Nokosee Fields began studying classical violin at a young age. After years of learning and performing Classical and Early music, Nokosee has recently turned his attention to various forms of traditional American music, performing, teaching, and touring professionally. As a bassist, he tours with the country band Western Centuries. As a teacher, he has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center and has been involved with Dancing with the Spirit—an Alaska-based youth and community music program that aims to re-inspire fiddle and dance traditions in indigenous communities throughout the region.