The Hard Luck Society Plays at the “Free Fridays” Concert Series Aug. 5


The Hard Luck Society plays at the “Free Fridays” Friday, Aug. 5 from 8-10 p.m. The Hard Luck Society features Dan Stepp on guitar and vocals, Matt Shaffer on upright bass, Andrew Cook on violin and David Cook on pedal steel, dobro, piano and accordion. In 2014, they released their first album, titled “Please Break My Heart One More Time,” that features all original material and draws inspiration from classic country, early jazz, western swing, rockabilly, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and others.

Stepp and Shaffer are both art teachers; Stepp teaches drawing and painting, and Shaffer teaches ceramics and sculpture. Cook, who teaches music, is a master of many instruments and has backed up such well-known country artists, such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Jerry Jeff Walker. It was Cook’s dobro and pedal steel playing that inspired Stepp to form The Hard Luck Society in 2008, and invite Cook and Shaffer to play. At first, they mostly covered classic country songs, before expanding their repertoire to include numerous musical genres. More recently, Andrew Cook, David Cook’s son, joined The Hard Luck Society’s as its full-time fiddler, after previously filling in on occasion.

The 2016 “Free Fridays” concert series is produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and funded in part by grants from Visit Gainesville and Culture Builds Florida. The concerts play each Friday night this year from Friday, May 6 through Friday, Oct. 21 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza, at 111 E. University Ave. in downtown Gainesville. To view the complete “Free Fridays” 2016 schedule, please visit the Cultural Affairs Division website at For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact David Ballard at 352-393-8746.