So a little over a year ago this time I snatched up the cheapest southwest roundtrip to LA I could find and met up with some of my best friends in the music buisness yup The Steepwater Band. I wish their name wasnt so long sometimes(maybe that is why I hate indie music, long names) anyway these chaps are four of my best mates in the whole wild fucking mess of a country we have. When Hollus ended a few years back. I embarked on a small journey with Steepwater from Nashville to the Mitten, from IL to CA, I followed these guys through a bit of our countryside with my second passion, filmmaking. Ive shot to date over 80 hours of footage and its still not enough.
I was in the studio with The Steepwater Band and Marc Ford for little over eight days. I learned alot and much of what I attribute the success of or new record ‘Joker and the Queen’ to is my experiences, there in The Compound Studios in Signal Hill CA. I not only created a short documentary(seen below) for the guys of Steepwater, but learned how to make a record! And, I know this is one of the reasons I went out to LA in the first place, I knew I would learn something. My record was already in the works and I needed fuel to finish it. Jeff, Tod, Joe, and Steve were kind enough to let me sleep on the floors of their hotel rooms and for that I am greatful. I think I may have even learned more than they did. I did so only because they werent my songs. I was not in charge of them nor did I really know how each song sounded. Tod had emailed me the demos for the tunes but, I really had little time to absorb them. Bands generally get very attached to their songs very early and this is hard to break them of. This was huge for me! Breaking what the song already was. Letting the song LIVE.
Marc began to take songs apart. He gave them some real shape that didnt exist before. The band responded. At the time when I was there I got a real sense of how to shape a tune. I listened to some of the greatest jams between Steepwater and Marc. I felt the need to make a record great. Marc thank you for that. Steepwater thank you for being you and being fucking solid in musicianship and in the lives you all lead. I love the songs on ‘Grace and Melody’ and believe they are some of the greatest songs you have ever written.
I am at heart though a ‘Revelation Sunday’ fan. I dont know if its the frontline feel of that record or just ‘Steel Sky’ that melts me, but somehow that record still makes sense to me. ‘Slow Train’ conjures up the Delta even though I have never seen it and ‘Mercy’ puts me in a mood to drink. Maybe Im just to deep in what The Steepwater Band is and when I first heard ‘Revelation Sunday’ I wasnt.
As I sit here and sort through the footage of the ‘Grace and Melody’ recordings I know that these guys are more than just songs to me now. They are kin. For that reason I enjoy Joe’s bash opinions about the Grace and Melody sessions, Tod’s carefree ability to make the band work, and Jeff’s ease at playing with another “real” guitar player. Bottomline is that ‘Grace and Melody’ is a reality and everything that Hollus has done in the last few years has been inspired by The Steepwater Band and we hope that we have inspired them to, because we all have a bit to learn from one another. Musicians use to be friends, it wasnt a competition to make a buck, because when we all work together we at least break even. Honestly, in this business you never know what is gonna break so be good to your peers and hope they aren’t fucking assholes.
Steepwater June 5th at the Metro 18+ 10 bucks but im sure if you myspaced them you could get it for five. Playing with The Last Vegas who just got off a tour with Motley Crue if you give a fuck.