As a young college grad he was once cast in a NYC Broadway show as a guitar playing gypsy. And so began a lifetime of music for the Jersey City-native/NYC resident, audio-book producer, Cantor, Rabbi, husband, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and rock-opera composer, Steven Blane, who—interestingly enough—has even had one of his songs performed on the original Star Search.
In fact, it was just this past July that we discovered and reviewed the simplistic brilliance of The Steven Blane Band’s, The Shed Sessions, calling it, “…wonderfully minimal, a naked and honest representation of what music once was, and what it could be again.”
Now, just a half year later, the music-smith and his boys (Frankie “Sticks” Levatino on drums, and Kevin Hailey on bass) have teamed-up with Nashville recording artist Rachel Horter (vocals), and Ross Holmes (fiddle), in order to create the lively, spirited, and country-hearted, Motel Blue (to be released in April 2018).
This is Blane’s 6th official release, and follows a worthy library of material which includes: 2014’s Gonna Light the Lights Tonight (single), 2015’s Taboo, and 2016’s The Best of Steven Blane (So Far), and I Confess, and of course 2017’s The Shed Sessions.
Here’s what we dug most…
With a melody which immediately brings to mind Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky, the album opens with the pleasantly rambunctious, Old Heart. Holmes’ fiddle and Horter’s vocals are immediately assets to the project…
And now we drive along together
On the road to who can say
An old heart, young dream
And a song along the way…”
Blane graciously turns over the vocal reigns to Miss Rachel on the album’s title track, Motel Blue. Seriously, tell me you don’t hear Patsy Cline in there…
Our Favorite Track…
The cathartic, Saved, seeks redemption and sounds like Cash jamming with Neil Young. It’s a very cool song.
As Far As I’m Concerned is a classic ballad of “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone” . The melody and chord progression say radio-rock. But, Rachel, Steven, and Ross turn the track into something altogether unique, and dare I say… haunting.
“Well it’s the jet-lag baby
Or a hand cold maybe
Or the dollars always needing to be earned
It’s the season turning
It’s the spirit yearning
It’s the the bridge that’s burning, as far as I’m concerned…”
The rock-a-bye, Tiny Little Moment, takes music back to another time. And don’t be fooled by its easy-going demeanor—that’s some pretty handy musicianship happening in order to create that frenetically fun and jazzy tempo and melody.
With no more accompaniment than a bit of finger-picked Ukulele chords and gentle fiddle strokes, the finest vocal performance of the album is saved for last. Make sure to leave time for Moth To Flame, a timeless devotional that sounds like something off of Broadway.
Once again, accessible and intriguing storytelling mixes with uncomplicated yet masterful musicianship (never more than vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar, fiddle, and bass) in order to create a collection of music that any lover of substantive sound can thoroughly enjoy. Blane’s veteran vocal presence melds delightfully with Rachel Horter’s bright and shiny timbre—which reminds often of the late Patsy Cline. The tasteful and grounded fiddle work of Ross Holmes—which is arguably the tonal backbone of the album—and the solid production and mixing all result in The Steven Blane Band’s latest album, Motel Blue, earning the right to take its place as the most current installment of his ever-growing anthology. We certainly look forward to more.
Patsy Cline with dashings of Cash, Neil Young, and Dylan…
BELOW: Watch/listen to music from The Steven Blane Band’s album, Motel Blue, connect with their website and social media platforms, watch their music video, check out their live show/tour schedule, and find their booking & contact information. Please support The Steven Blane Band by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Listen to music from The Steven Blane Band’s album, Motel Blue:
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Booking & contact information for The Steven Blane Band:
Email: steven (at) stevenblane.com
Press Contact & Booking: 917-407-0477
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