Rooted firmly in the modern heartland, veteran singer-songwriter Steve McCormick is gearing up for the Sept 22 release of his new EP, The Laws of Love, the sequential follow-up and emotional counterpoint to his EP, The Tripping Years, which hit digital shelves this past spring.
Kicking off the latest expedition, his seventh release overall,is the moody beauty of “One Unbelievable Girl,” which features the lyric, “She is a woman who breaks the laws of love,” set against a bevy of scintillating guitar playing reminiscent of the best of Santana, Eric Clapton and David Gilmour.
From there, McCormick throws down some Chicago-style blues on “Early In The Morning,” which features bustling harmonica from Stan Behrens (of War and Willie Dixon’s band), rapturous bass from Daryl Johnson of Neville Brothers acclaim, and the late Richie Hayward, from Little Feat, on drums. A colorful rendition of the Lucinda Williams‘ classic “Fruits of My Labor,” seeps in elegance before McCormick uncorks a deeply satisfying Peter Gabriel/Paul Simon groove on “Lay Low.”
Rounding out Laws is the soul-stirring “No Love Lost,” which showcases a sultry horn section and soulful vocalizations by Heather Donavon,known for her work with Keb’ Mo’. Donavon also contributes vocals to “Early In The Morning.”
Carrying the influence of iconic American artistry from the likes of Townes van Zandt, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and Grateful Dead, McCormick’s soulful guitar texture and raspy voice on The Laws of Love is pure grade Americana mixed with contemporary blues. Throughout the excursion, McCormick’s deft slide guitar is in the driver seat, though he expertly augments it with a cornucopia of instrumentation including Hammond B3, Rhodes piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, alto flute, congas and pedal steel. It’s an immersive experience.
With two decades as an audio engineering guru, McCormick lent his vast array of production skills to the recording, and utilized his own custom McCormick Audio recording gear which includes tube microphones, tube pre-amplifiers, tube compressors and passive summing arrays to combine old-school analog sound with a pristine clean signal path. The meticulous results are bound to appeal to the casual listener and the audiophile.
Raised in the Midwest, Steve’s interest in roots music led to a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he wrote his senior thesis on American Music. In the years that followed, he honed his recording skills by working with tube microphone expert Steve McKinstry at Salmagundi Studios. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1992, he’s a studio owner, producer, performer, session player, composer/songwriter and microphone builder.
As a session player, McCormick’s playing has been heard in dozens of national TV commercials including McDonalds, Nike, Nissan, Chevron, Coors, SBC, Long John Silver and Cialis, for which he composed the infamous “bass line” that’s lodged itself in the collective consciousness of this great nation. He also played guitar on the theme song for the Warner Brothers hit Felicity, and has contributed to TV shows such as Walker, Texas Ranger, and NBC’s Homicide. A card-carrying member of the Hollywood Local 47 Musician’s Union, his on-screen debut occurred in the Michael Keaton movie Jack Frost, playing guitar in the Shiverfest scene.
Though his guitar mastery is highly sought after, his songwriting and recordings have also given him the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best in the business, including Stan Behrens (Canned Heat, War, Willie Dixon), Eric Lynn, Richie Hayward (Little Feat), Stevie DiStanislao (CSN, Joe Walsh, Loggins and Messina, David Gilmour), Daryl Johnson (Neville Brothers, Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris), Eric Heywood (Jayhawks, Calexico, Ray LaMontagne), Phil Cody, and Pete Wasner (Vince Gill, Lowell George). As a producer, he’s worked with Michael Sherwood, Tom Freund, Phil Cody, and, most recently, Amilia K. Spicer on her Wow and Flutter opus.
To celebrate the release of The Laws of Love, McCormick will play shows at the Corazón Performing Arts Center in Topanga on September 22 (with Phil Cody opening) and Abbott Kinney Days in Venice (on the Andalusia Stage) on Sunday, September 24 (3:00-3:45pm).