Steppin' in It are a roots-based quartet from Lansing, Michigan, featuring singer/songwriter Joshua Davis on guitar, Dominic John Suchyta on standup bass, and Andy Wilson on harmonica with twin brother Joe Wilson on steel guitar. The original lineup, which included all but Joe Wilson, formed in early 1998 with Joe Khalifah on drums and banjo. Khalifah was replaced in 2000 with drummer Bob Bryan, and fiddler Jonathan Price and Joe Wilson were also added. That same year saw the band release its debut album, Children Take Your Shoes Off, on Hippo Coop Records, a label that was created by the band for the release. The following year, the band slimmed down to its current four-person lineup in order to focus more on an acoustic sound. The Wilson brothers have both worked at Elderly Instruments, Lansing's legendary instrument store, and the bandmembers credit the music store with playing a key role in their formation and with helping to define their sound through its vast arsenal of stringed instruments.
In 2002, Steppin' in It released their second album, Last Winter in the Copper Country, and in 2004 they released Hidden in the Lowlands, which ended with a pair of Woody Guthrie songs, "Pastures of Plenty" and "Bound for Glory." Again, both albums appeared on the band's Hippo Coop Records label. Joshua Davis released a solo album in 2005, and in 2006 the band joined forces with singer Rachael Davis -- no relation to Joshua, but married to Dominic John Suchyta (who has since taken her last name) as of October 2009 -- to form Shout Sister Shout and record a '40s jazz-themed album that was released in 2007. Steppin' in It re-emerged in 2008, releasing Simple Tunes for Troubled Times, an album heavily influenced by the Band. Unlike their first three albums, Simple Tunes for Troubled Times was released by Earthwork Music, a collective label for roots-oriented musicians located in Northern Michigan.
To confuse matters slightly, throughout their acoustic existence, Steppin' in It have also plugged in once a week with two additional members. Since 1999, the band has had a steady Monday night electric gig at the Green Door in Lansing, with drummer John Cassidy and Mike Lynch (aka Larry McCray/The Lash) on Hammond organ. And in 2009, Steppin' in It actually began touring as both a quartet and sextet. The band has also developed a reputation as a superb backing band and has played in such a capacity with the likes of Greg Brown, Ellis Paul, Peter Mulvey, and Jeff Daniels. Joe Wilson even occasionally tours with jazz legend Wayne Hancock, while Dominic John has played with Daniel Johnston and recorded with childhood pal Jack White. Lead singer and guitarist Josh Davis left the band as 2014 dawned and was replaced by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Elden Kelly. ~ Chris Berggren