Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Steele the Show

In his early days of writing music, Davy Steele was drawn to the soul sounds of Aretha Franklin. As time went on, he got into writing country ballads, and in the circle of time, found his way to exploring traditional forms of music from his native Scotland. For subject matter, he drew on his well of experiences as a social worker, as a man who traveled often, a family man, and as a musician who’d played with the Battlefield Band and Ceolbeg, and founded several bands as well.

All of these things are present in the album Steele the Show For it, a roster of Steele’s musical friends and family gathered to record sixteen of their favorite choices from his song catalogue, and to remember their friend and his legacy in music ten years after health concerns caused his death as he was just getting into his fifties.Ian McCalman, Mairearad Greene, Dick Gaughan, Siobhan Miller, and and Andy M. Stewart are among the musicians who join in.

davy steele album coverEven if you’ve never heard of Davy Steele before -- perhaps especially if you’ve never heard of him -- this is a good place to make acquaintance with his work, and fine and varied collection all on its own. Karine Polwart starts things off with Scotland Yet. This is frequently sung as an anthem, and it’s a good one, but Polwart’s understated take adds layers of depth to what is already a powerful song. Lost in the Long Grass, with Sally Barker handling vocals an guitar, is a lively bit of music with a melody and rhythm which invite singing and dancing along. Sliding, Davy’s wife Patsy Seddon points out in the notes , a song Davy always hoped Aretha would sing. Farewell to the Haven is of a traditional bent in melody and subject, as his Heave Ho Yo, a rowing song. Just One More Chorus is a bring the evening to a close sort of song which has become a popular way to do just that in New Zealand and other places around the world. This collection has just one more song, though: a recording of Davy himself singing a song of love and hope, Long Hellos and Short Goodbyes.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Eddi Reader sings more of the songs of Robert Burns
Music Road: darwin song project
Music Road: now playing: Carrie Newcomer: The Geography of Light

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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