I grew up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., a small town about 50 miles north of New York City. I started playing guitar when I was 14, and started writing songs soon after. My early tunes were songs about cars and girls. After awhile, I branched out into other subjects, and I've been writing ever since. Probably my first music influence that I remember was Bob Dylan. My mom had his lp, "Highway 61 Revisited", and I listened to that record repeatedly when I was about ten years old. The record is very bluesy and full of great harmonica playing. It captivated me. I also began listening to other blues greats such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt and others. I also loved Jelly Roll Morton, an early jazz great. It seems I was drawn towards music of the early 20th century, for some reason. Then, as a young teen, I was into the rock bands of the 70's-Led Zeppelin, The Who, ect. I was a big fan of Ted Nugent! I continue to stand by his first solo album. So, I love blues, jazz recorded before 1950, rock, fingerstyle acoustic guitar-ie. Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges-, and folk and acoustic songwriters.
I began my performing career at my college student union back in 1987. In the 1990's, I belonged to the Hudson Valley Folk Guild, an organization that promotes music in the Hudson Valley of New York State, mostly acoustic folk and blues music. I performed regularly at the guild for many years, and continued to hone my songwriting skills.
In 2000, I moved to knoxville, and began performing at such venues as Barley's Taproom, The Timewarp Tearoom, Cup-a-Joe's Coffee House, and other venues. In 2002, I released my first CD, "Stephen Rhodes", featuring 12 original songs. Recorded and mastered at Songwriters Studio in Knoxville, the CD features songs I had written since 1990, running the gamet from solo acoustic folk and blues tunes, to full band rock and roll numbers. I followed this release with "Going Home", released in 2005, also featuring ten original songs, and also containing two covers by Mississippi John Hurt and Jelly Roll Morton-two jazz and blues greats.
Nowadays, I continue to write and perform regularly. I have a close musical partnership with my friend Rose Hawley, whom I've been performing with for many years. I recently played guitar with her and members of The Missing Pieces at the Blue Plate Special, a daily live music show on WDVX radio station in Knoxville.