Steve Cash, CO-FOUNDER
Steve was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri where he lives today. His artistic journey began in the mid-1960s with a road trip to the San Francisco Bay area, specifically, Berkeley, California. He went there for the sole purpose of hanging out with like-minded friends and soaking up the vibe that permeated that magical time and place. Steve developed a serious interest in creative writing by the virtue of his exposure to the many renowned, cutting-edge writers who lived and worked in that area. He still considers his first encounters with writers and poets Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and especially the poet Lew Welch, as the catalyst that formed his understanding of the power of language. It was during this time in Berkeley that Steve began to find his own voice and composed his first poems.
After returning to Springfield in the late 1960s he met a new friend and future partner, John Dillon. Dillon, a musician from south Arkansas, advised Steve on how to learn harp, a technique prescribed by Dillon’s mother, a harp player in her own right. Steve embraced the lesson and quickly developed his skills. Influenced by the great harp players Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Terry, Steve soon created his own playing style and began using the harp as a tool for songwriting, a natural extension of his poetry. By 1970, Cash was playing along with Dillon at gigs around Springfield, including his Thursday night gigs at the New Bijou Theatre as John Dillon and Friends. This loose conglomeration of musicians would soon become known as the band Family Tree, and Dillon invited Steve to join. After a few personnel changes, Family Tree became The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Steve’s first tries at songwriting resulted in the extremely popular “Chicken Train,” followed by “Black Sky,” and then “If You Wanna Get to Heaven,” co-written with Dillon that would become the Daredevils’ first radio hit. Since that time Steve has performed on every album the Daredevils' have ever recorded, and has traveled endless miles with them across the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has written, or co-written, hundreds of Daredevils’ songs including the number one hit, "Jackie Blue" (co-written with cofounder Larry Lee). His melodies, distinctive voice, and especially his lyrics appear throughout the Daredevils' discography, and contribute to the overall identity of the band.
Steve continues to write songs as well as poems, short stories, and novels. The trilogy The Meq, Time Dancers, and The Remembering, published by Del Rey Books (Random House), has earned him much deserved praise. Steve is also an accomplished painter, and his work "Entering Canis Major" is the basis for the cover art of the 2017 album, Off The Beaten Path.
Active since 1971