John Steed, Christian Country Artist
I was born into a family with roots that run deep in the deep south of Florida on all sides of the family tree. I was raised on a small farm in Citrus County where we raised mostly beef cattle, gardens, and lots of young’ns.
My dads family were not only farmers but were musicians also and so there were always lots of music being played at the family gatherings and while the other kids were off playing I would sit around and listen to the old country and bluegrass songs they would sing and pick.
My mama was more of a Christian woman and was responsible for hauling us kids to church and teaching us the bible. She also played the piano and we would gather around and sing the old gospel songs and mama would teach me how to sing harmony. It seemed I was born to music and singing and our little church would often have me come up and lead them in a few songs.
By the time I was eight years old I discovered another God given talent and that was the ability to write my feelings down on paper. I remember writing my first poem in the third grade and my teacher thought I had copied it from a book. She sent it off to some competition and it won and my love for writing began.
At the age of thirteen my desire to play the guitar could not be denied and I spent my summer vacation learning to play. My dad showed me my first three chords and it wasn’t but a short time and I was able to play any simple three chord song I wanted to just by listening to them. My dad and I spent many nights playing and singing the old country songs he loved so much.
By the time I was fourteen I combined my talents and started writing my own songs and though I was shy I began opening up to family and letting them hear my songs and they encouraged me to pursue a musical career. I wrote many songs during my teenaged years and found myself performing at different parties for friends with just my voice and an old Kay guitar that was bought for fifteen dollars at a pawn shop.
The more people liked my music the more I thought about becoming a country music singer. Unfortunately like many kids that are raised in church, I got caught up in pursuing my own will instead of Gods and through the influence of the wrong type of music and people I backslid into the world.
On July 8th, 1986 my brother Gerald was killed in an automobile accident that shook me to the core and opened my eyes to the facts of life. That is to say that we are not promised a tomorrow to begin living for the Lord, we only have today. Then all that matters is what eternity will be like for you.
I rededicated my life and my music back to God and started a long walk back into his will for me. Through the marriage of a God fearing woman and a good church I made it and developed a hunger for His word. I joined the local church southern gospel group and played lead guitar with them for eight years. Then one day someone gave me a tape of a Christian country group called Jubilation and my eyes were open again to a whole new sound of gospel music that I loved.
I realized I didn’t have to quit singing and writing country music I just had to change the message. I started writing Christian country songs and singing some in church. I was constantly asked to make my own tape so people could bring my music home with them. I began to ask God if this was his will and if it was then he would have to provide the money.
One Sunday after praying about it at the altar a friend of mine that I had lead to the Lord gave me the full amount to go and make a record. I recorded my first record with Randy Shelnut titled Not For The Mansions in 1994. After the recording, I began to be invited to come and perform at churches where I found myself giving my testimony and talking about the messages of my songs. I saw a lot of people get saved and I knew this was what God wanted of my life all along.
I released a song to radio that same year through Randy Shelnut called Jesus Is The Man Who Can and it did real well for me on the radio. Being a musician I missed the feeling of playing with a group during my performances so I began to pray that God would send me like minded Christian musicians and singers that wanted to strictly play for the Glory of God and not for money or self recognition. One by one they came and before too long the band “Cross Road” was formed that later became the “Red River Band”.
Though there were some changes in members, the core of the group stayed the same for ten years. Through those years we stopped counting at 2000 hands raised for salvation and just that many for rededication of lives. God confirmed our ministry by the huge impact we had in and around Florida. Many drug and alcohol addicts were not just saved but permanently changed. There were cowboys and people who were suicidal and folks that wouldn’t come to church to hear a preacher but they came out to hear a Christian country band and a small town farm boy share the gospel in word and song.
In 1997 I discovered the Christian Country Music Association (CCMA) in Nashville Tennessee who promoted Christian country music and artist through nation wide radio and also puts out a magazine called the “Power Source”. I immediately started releasing singles through the CCMA and gained national recognition as every song climbed into the top five on the charts and a #1 song in 2001 called Praise The Lord. The CCMA also put on a nation wide award show aired from the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Tennessee every year where I won New Artist of the year in 1999 and Male Vocalist of the year in 2000 and 2001.
In October of 2000 my wife Michelle and I had a child after doctors told us we would never be able to and we knew immediately that she would never go back to work. She became a stay-at-home mom and home schooled our son Titus. At that time I dropped out of the national scene and the Red River Band and I concentrated on just performing in Florida. I wrote and recorded five different records altogether during that time, all supported through record sales.
On December 31st of 2006 and after much prayer I sold my home on the family farm and moved my family to Edmonton, Kentucky just about two hours from Nashville where it was easier for me work on my music. In October of 2007 we gave birth to another child, a baby girl we named Sarah.
I currently continue the family business of barbering in my own shop on the square in Edmonton and bought a 118 acre farm outside of town. I have established contact with a Grammy Award winning producer friend of mine, Bobby Terry, in Nashville and plans are being made to do some more song writing and recording. I have had many gospel songs recorded by other Christian artists but I am hoping to get some recorded by a main stream country artist.
I am also working with a supporting radio station that has been playing me for years and plans are being made to start performing in Kentucky. I have never strayed from the path God has called me to, nor have I ever charged for a performance. The ministry supports itself and my goals are to put out quality Christian country music that compares to the main stream country sound in hopes of spreading the gospel and seeing lives changed.