New Year, Stuff Done, Stuff to Do

A very happy 2020 to you all! 2019 was an incredible year, and I’m really looking forward to this new year ahead. In 1943 Woody Guthrie famously put together a list of things he wanted to accomplish in the year ahead. I’m gonna do something of the same here below (though a slightly shorter list). 

Live Performances

I played 40 shows in 2019 – mostly at open mics.  While most of those appearances were in Newton and Brighton here in Massachusetts, I also played live in Edmonton, Red Deer, Indianapolis, and Toronto. I also played four longer shows where I was the featured act. All steps in the right direction!2019-11-06 20.29.24

With the new year, one of my resolutions is to do more live performances in 2020 than I did in 2019. My work travel schedule may make this a little challenging, or it may make it that I am performing in more parts of the world. 

First live performance of 2020 will be an open mic – look for me at Article 24 on Sunday, January 5 (and then another one on January 19) a little after 9pm.  Details here.

New Songs

Did get a few new songs out there in 2019, notably “In a Minor Key” and “All’s Well That Ends.”

Still, there were a lot of false starts. One of the challenges I have is that I have a lot on my plate, making it rather tough to have a clear mind to write and then to record. 

For 2020, I have a few ideas:

  • I have a lot of musical ideas stored up on video and sound clips (but without lyrics). I have about 100 lyrical ideas stored up either as a line or two or as complete songs (but no music).  Dig into the bag of ideas and bring together some of these things into full songs.
  • Take the entire Wayfinding album and release it – not as a full CD, but as singles. The first of these (and there will be two, as singles always have and forever shall have an A side and a B side) will be “In The End” and “Not That Bright.”  The plan is to release these in early January – CD Baby is having a little indigestion with the audio files, but we’ll fix it.
  • And of course I’ll keep bringing new tunes to open mics, to Soundcloud, and to Spotify as they ripen.

Anyone Wanna Play?

Man, I really want to be part of a band again.  Have had the pleasure of jamming with a few friends again over the past few months and – while they’re not in a position to be part of a band right now – I love that energy, and so many new ideas come out of playing with other people.  It just raises everything to a new level.

So….

Do you play guitar, bass, or drums?  Maybe even sing a little bit?

Wanna get together and play some of my tunes, some covers, and try out some things you’ve got on your mind?

Want to get in front of people and see what this sounds like when other people hear it, start dancing and maybe even sing along?

Please oh please let me know.  Let’s make some music together!

Cold Winter, Bright Future

(Free download of The Things We Wish We Were. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride)

Newton, MA

Boy, what a weird couple weeks it’s been. Everything from losing Bowie and Glenn Frey, to the real doldrums of the winter. In short, not the brightest of times.

Of course on the plus side, it’s only 30 days or so until pitchers and catchers show up for spring training, and that means warmer weather is not that far off.

Until that time, we stay warm, and in our case we try and make a little music.

On that note, it occurs to me we really never talked about how this band came to be. And, first, it’s probably good to clarify what I mean by “we” and “this band.”

Steeling Time is by and large me (Chris Steele) working by myself. However that doesn’t mean that this is a complete solo project.  I’ve had the great privilege of playing with a lot of great musicians over the years, including but not limited to the band that I was part of her many years – Tunnel 18.  Some of the same people that were part of that band – as well as Wellcurbs, and a couple of other bands have all contributed ideas, or at least been really incredible sounding boards on the work I’ve been doing.

A few very good friends have been along for the ride, too.  Pushing for each new song, telling me what works, what really says something, and what’s perhaps a little too clever for it’s own good….

It’s also not to say that it will always be a solo project. I’m desperately interested in getting a full band together. Music on a disk and blasting from the speakers is great, but music in front of an audience is something special. And I think it doesn’t get completely real until that crowd is there.

In the meantime though, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all of you who have been listening so far, and I wanted to give you a little present. Up on Soundcloud right now is a free download of one of the songs off of the first album (Time & Motion). The Things We Wish We Were is a great song about dreams and making them come true. It’s also a little bit about the fear and excitement that comes when you’re just about to make something special happen. It’s my wish that it does. And I hope that maybe it inspires you to find your dream too.

Thanks so much, and we look forward to talking to you again soon.

A Little Early Present…

HolidayNewton, MA

Happy holidays everyone! 2015 has been a great year for Steeling Time, and we hope it has been for you too.

When Time and Motion came out, it was incredible for us – more than we’d hoped.  And yet, it left us a little lost…

2015 started with that little to-do: “Record and release an album…”  Then we did that, and it provided the spark for something special.

We looked around a little bit and try to figure out what was going to happen next. And there’s a lot of happen next to happen yet (we still have about half a band missing, for example.)

We’ve made some progress on that front, and for 2016 the biggest goal is to get out of there and start playing live. That’s gonna be some combination of some of us performing for open mic, and then – with a little luck – having a full band together so that we can do some pub and bar shows later on in the year. Ideally, this then turns into a little on the road time soon after that.

So, speaking of on the road.…

We have a little present for you. As has been mentioned in this blog a few times, we’ve been working on new material which will eventually become an album called Robbing the Cradle – in honor of and reference to the legendary Cats Cradle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where our own musical tastes got broadened (considerably!)

We’ve already recorded a couple of different tracks. Some of them are more together than others, but two of them are ready now, we wanted to share them with you as a little bit of a holiday present.

First is a song about being away from home and wanting to come back. Ironically, “Take Me Home” was also the title of an old Tunnel 18 song from a long while back. Chris reused some of the bridge and the main riff in the solo section, but the feel and message of the song is different.  Without getting too much into it, it’s here for you to listen to and enjoy as you go ahead and enjoy your holiday with friends and family.

The next – the B side, if you know what that means – is “Pleased to Meet You,” may be the song you start to hum when it’s time to go home after being with friends and family a little too long… It’s actually a song written during a too-long business trip, and pretty much speaks for itself.

So, Happy Holidays from Steeling Time! We have much getting ready to share with you in 2016, and really, really hope to see you in person sometime very soon!

Satori in Geneva

File Nov 19, 5 09 37 PM

Geneva, NY

If you ever find yourself in Geneva, NY (a great little city in the Finger Lakes), you must go to Area Records & Music. Ask for Jeff. He gets it. I just walked in there a little while ago and talked about guitars, small guitar stores competing with the big guys, how Gibson and Fender are completely alienating their customer base, and why you make music in the first place.

He told me about how so many of the kids come in and they want to make money and impress girls. Invariably, these are the kids who come back in a couple of weeks wanting to return the guitar because it’s too hard to learn how to play. Anything that’s worthwhile doing is hard at first.

On top of that, the reason you learn how to play music is not to make money and to impress girls. That might be a useful side effect later, but the reason that you learn to play music is because there’s music inside you that you need to be able to play. There’s something inside you that needs to get out, and the instrument is the way it gets there.

The instrument is the tool that gives voice to your soul.

Shifting gears entirely…

The guys from Rush once said that they never had any outtakes from any albums, because why would you ever work on a song that you weren’t going to put on an album?

Kinda wish I had that discipline.

Instead, the first album had at least four songs that didn’t make it onto the album. Some of them made it onto the Soundcloud site, but will never actually make it to disk.   (They’ll be those “deep tracks” we pull out for extra special audiences live…)

And, already, Robbing the Cradle has been cut from 13 songs down to 11. Largely because the other two just don’t fit. It’s one of the struggles about writing an album rather than writing a song. The songs need to work together. They need to be of a theme, and of a feel. There are each like scenes from a movie, and need to hang together in order to tell the overall story.

So, what I’m getting around to saying in a fairly long way is that the album is taking longer to write, but is getting much better as it goes along.

The good news is that production has started on a couple of songs, and with a little bit of good luck, maybe we’ll have some new music coming your way before the end of the year. And buy new music I’m not just talking about one song, but maybe a few so you can get a flavor of where we’re going.

And don’t forget in the meantime, time and motion is available at CDbaby and you can listen on Spotify.

What do you call this thing, anyway?

Maine

Bangor, ME

A few pieces of news over the past couple of weeks, all of them good. First of all, just found out that our album is up on Spotify. Yay! Didn’t actually realize that was going to happen but I guess that’s all part and parcel of the CD Baby thing. Really very cool!

Also, looking to add a few open mic gigs in the Newton, Mass area (west of Boston) sometime over the next couple of months. We will post these as that all becomes a little bit clearer.

Finally, I found out quite to my surprise earlier today that some of our CDs have been making their way around Portland, ME a little bit. I sent a couple up to some friends, and they’ve been showing them around. Walked into a room earlier today and somebody said: “oh you’re the guy with the band, and that album!  It’s really cool stuff! Classic rock?”

So, this next thing is going to probably be a stupid question:  What do you call this stuff, anyway?

With been trying not to be too pedantic trying to classified as anyone thing. To me it’s always sounded like 90s alternative rock. Maybe y’all think it something else?

Please let us know. Just kinda curious.