November 9, 2017 by 1888media
Rooted firmly in the modern heartland, veteran singer-songwriter Steve McCormick is gearing up for the November 17 release of We Speak In Tongues, the third and final installment of his transportive Stars and Chandeliers trilogy (The Tripping Years and The Laws of Love preceded).
Kicking off the latest expedition, his eighth release overall, is the perpetual beauty of “Since I Fell,” a lilting romp through the throes of love that features some scintillating slide guitar reminiscent of the best of Ry Cooder. From there, McCormick lassos some melancholy hope on “High Horses,” which contains the lyric, “Wild appaloosas with thoroughbred blood, dragging our names through the dust and the mud.”
Picking up the reigns is the horn-driven, boot-scootin’ bustle of “Lucky Tonight,” which features trumpeter Jordan Katz (Fitz & the Tantrums, Lucinda Williams, Future Islands) trombonist/saxophonist Dave Ralicke (Blues Traveler, Ben Harper, Beck), pianist Pete Wasner (Vince Gill, John Prine, Garth Brooks) and the mind-bending rhythm section of Neville Brothers’ bassist Daryl Johnson, and the late Richie Hayward, from Little Feat, on drums.
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 tone on We Speak In Tongues is pure grade Americana sautéed 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 Di Stanislao (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 Stars and Chandeliers trilogy, which takes the three EPs and bundles them into a 15-song album, McCormick will play a show at Santa Monica Playhouse (1211 4th St, Santa Monica) on Friday, December 8. His all-star band will include Michael Jerome (Better Than Ezra, Blind Boys of Alabama) on drums, Kevin McCormick (Crosby, Stills & Nash) on bass, Dan Ubick (De La Soul, Macy Gray) on guitar, Eric Lynn (Shangri-La Studios) on keyboards and Heather Donavon (Melody Gardot, Keb’ Mo’) on vocals.
We Speak In Tongues