Steve Ripley relocated with his family from his birthplace of Boise, Idaho to a farm near Pawnee, Oklahoma. Originally working on the farm as well as around town, Ripley turned his attention to music in his spare time. After performing his first gig at Glencoe High School around 1964, Ripley began playing with a band calledtThe Cobras. He also attended Oklahoma State University to persue a degree in broadcast journalism.
While performing around the Southern honky-tonk circuit, the musician became adept at working the controls, becoming an engineer on albums by Leon Russell, Roy Clark and Gatemouth Brown among others. After marrying in April 1976, he continued playing and hooked up with Bob Dylan, going on tour with him and recording as well. Manual dexterity was another trait of the musician, designing guitars for John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Buffett and Eddie Van Halen.
the Tractors, whose 1994 debut album received multiple Grammy nominations and reached multi-platinum status in sales. Throughout the '90s, the band released three albums and toured often throughout the United States. In 2001, Ripley began recording his debut solo effort; the album was released in 2002 as Ripley. Ripley and his bandmates released a final Tractors album, Trade Union, in 2009, but following its release, he focused on songwriting and studio work as a producer and engineer. Steve Ripley died at his home in Pawnee, Oklahoma on January 3, 2019 following a battle with cancer.