About the cobras

Cedar County Cobras play American roots and blues music from the last century. The music takes on an “old time” blues feel that would most likely be found in a juke-joint down a gravel road in rural Iowa. Tom Spielbauer is behind the boot-stompin blues sound produced by the duo and has over twenty years of playing blues and rock across Iowa and the Midwest. The authentic sound of his music comes from a career of pouring concrete and working construction. In 2005, Tom was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration at a young age and declared legally blind. Following in the footsteps of blind blues musicians such as Blind Willie McTell & Alan Wilson, he eventually traded his concrete tools for a guitar and a foot drum to play the blues full time.

Also an Iowa native, his music partner April Dirks started playing mandolin with the Cedar County Cobras in 2014. Before working with Tom, she often performed as a bluegrass musician with a unique “gypsy” sound that she brought to any performance or music jam. Early in the project, April discovered she had a talent for playing the upright bass and the duo naturally gravitated to playing American Roots and Delta Blues Music. April now plays the doghouse bass that gives the duo the boot-stompin boogie sound that makes the music really move. The Cobras have performed as a duo or a trio with guitarists George Spielbauer or Dustin Duwa as featured musicians.

Over time, the Cobras have played hundreds of shows across Iowa and parts of the Midwest. They bring a contagious energy to any live performance and cover different genres of music so that every member of the audience is sure to be satisfied. Audience members will find themselves tapping to the beat of the foot drum and upright bass or getting up to dance with the crowd. The band performs at breweries and wineries across the Midwest and have played many other venues from the small-town dive bar to the large classic theatre or festival stage. For example, Cobras have played the main stage at the Iowa Arts Festival and recently played the Englert Theatre with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. The band has also shared the stage and festival line-ups with notable acts such as Joe & Vicki Price, Split Lip Rayfield, Legendary Shack Shakers, Ben Miller Band, Fruition, Old Salt Union, Blackberry Bushes, Mountain Sprout, Grassfed, Sam Bush, and even the amazing Travelin’ McCourys.