Jason ‘Rowdy’ Cope, Steel Woods Co-Founder, Dead at 42
Jason "Rowdy" Cope, co-founder of the country-rock band the Steel Woods, has died. His bandmates shared the sad news on social media on Saturday (Jan. 16).
Cope was 42 years old. His bandmates did not offer any further details about his death, simply marking the news "with a broken and heavy heart."
"We are writing this still in a state of shock and kindly ask for your prayers for the family, friends and band at this time," reads the statement, accompanied by a photo of Cope inside Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. "We take comfort in knowing he is in a better place now and his passion for music and art will live forever in the work he has left behind.
"RIP Rowdy," the band concludes, "you will be forever and greatly missed."
Born on March 15, 1978, Cope began playing guitar and writing songs as a pre-teen; he moved to Nashville in 2007, after nearly a decade working in Los Angeles, Calif. Before co-founding the Steel Woods with Wes Bayliss, Cope spent another almost-decade in Jamey Johnson's band.
Cope and Bayliss met while playing in a cover band, and recruited bassist Johnny Stanton and drummer Jay Tooke to round out the Steel Woods' lineup (Isaac Senty replaced Tooke in the band in 2020). The band released their debut album, Straw in the Wind, in 2017, and followed it up with Old News, their sophomore album, in 2019. Recent posts on both Cope and the Steel Woods' Instagram accounts tease a new album in the works.
In addition to his work with Johnson and the Steel Woods, Cope produced Lindi Ortega's 2017 EP 'Til the Goin' Gets Gone. He also played guitar on her 2013 album Tin Star, and on the Secret Sisters' 2010 self-titled album.
The Boot has reached out to a representative for the Steel Woods and will update this story if more information becomes available.
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