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Steel Skarecrow performs at Threshing Days

Staff writer

Almost every time Kurt Shobe and his band take the stage, he asks the crowd, “Who knows what a steel scarecrow is?”

“When I was growing up — you know, farm boy — we referred to windmills as steel scarecrows,” Shobe said. “I didn’t know that people outside of southeast Kansas didn’t know about that. In my part of the woods, everybody knew a windmill was a steel scarecrow.”

When looking for a band name in 2017, Shobe suggested “Steel Skarecrow.”

“The idea was to find something that was country but still had a little bit of an edge to it, so Steel Skarecrow actually fit that band really well if you knew what it was,” he said.

The band’s members are Kurt Shobe (lead singer and lead guitar), Rollin Schmidt (steel guitar and various instruments), Kristopher Howl (bass guitar and vocal harmony), and Mark Clemmons (drummer). Clemmons joined the band November, creating the “second” and current version of Steel Skarecrow.

Shobe got to know his band mates through studio work and past performances with other groups.

“We’ve all been around the area for many, many years,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to work with these guys; they’re all very good musicians and very dedicated to what they do. I just have a blast working with them.”

Shobe has been playing music since he was 13 and joined a band at 17.

“They really took me under their wing,” he said. “I don’t know why they did it to this day, but I’m glad they did.”

His first tour at 24 years old was with John Anderson a few years after Anderson released “Swingin’.”

Shobe has pitched and played songs in Nashville; gone backstage at the Grand Ole Opry; and opened for or played with Patty Loveless, Tom T. Hall, the Righteous Brothers, Girls Next Door, Dan Fields, Marie Osmond, and Ricky Skaggs.

Steel Skarecrow finished an album July 1. While primarily a cover band for classic rock and country songs, the group has been branching into original music.

“Rollin was messing around with the guitar so we could get the sound set for the guitar,” Shobe said. “I said, “Rollin, that’s really cool; what are you doing there?” I picked it up and had some words rolling around in my brain that I added. We wrote the song in sound check and played it that night at the gig.”

They recorded the new album within two days at a studio, surprising the manager.

“In the 12 years and the 6,000 songs he’s recorded, he’s never had to do an album that fast that turned out that well,” Shobe said. “I’m really blessed to have these guys around me. That never happens, that’s unheard.”

Steel Skarecrow played Friday at Goessel Threshing Days. Schmidt lives just south of Goessel, and one of the band’s original members, Duane McCarty, works with Marion police.

“We would rehearse at his house,” Shobe said. “He used to tell us stories about all the happenings in Marion, some of which he probably shouldn’t have told us, but the thing about Duane was that he actually cared. He had to get it off his chest.”

Shobe was eager to return to Marion and hopes to play for the county fair in the future.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2021

 

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