Tired of Talkin’
Stony Plain Records/Ontario Creates
Steve Strongman didn’t start playing guitar until he was sixteen when he was mentored by the Mississippi born Mel Brown. Brown both a sideman, and bandleader with thirteen albums of his own, was asked to play a gig in Kitchener, Ontario; fell in love with the city, stayed for twenty years, and co-founded The Kitchener Blues Festival.
Strongman hails from Kitchener. In 1999, he was in the rock band “Plasticine” with co-founder Rob Szabo. He released his solo debut blues album “Honey” in 2007, with Brown guesting on one track. In 2009 Strongman played the Kitchener Festival winning The Mel Brown Blues Award. Strongman released his fourth album, “A Natural Fact” in 2012, and won three Maple Blues Awards including Recording of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year. Strongman won Best Guitarist in the Solo/Duo category at the 2019 International Blues Challenge. Strongman has played the Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Blues Festival and Tremblant International Blues Festival.
This is Strongman’s seventh album. The album originally released in 2019 is now a global re-issue on Stony Plain Records. Holger Peterson, founder of Stony Plain, and another Mel Brown Award winner, has planned the worldwide promotion Strongman deserves. The album produced by Dave King was recorded in Hamilton, Ontario; and Nashville, Tennessee. The twelve tracks include eleven originals, nine co-written with King, and one cover.
The Hamilton sessions feature Strongman, guitars, Dobro, harmonica, and vocals; King, drums; Colin Lapsley, bass; and Jesse O’Brien, piano. On “Paid My Dues” Strongman plays both guitar and harmonica while King and Lapsley lay down the strong foundation that enables his solos. Strongman is a solid vocalist as he sings “nothing comes for free”. Other highlights include “Still Crazy Bout’ You”; “Can’t Have It All” with background singers Ella and Scarlett Strongman; “Tell Me Like It Is”; “Hard Place And A Rock” with the lyric “the only way to get through it, is to put your head down and get to it”, and “Highway Man” featuring Strongman playing solo on a Resonator guitar. These are well written songs.
In Nashville, Strongman and King are joined by keyboardist Pat Sansone; guitarist Audley Freed, and bassist James Haggarty. Included are the title track with O’Brien added on piano; and “Living The Dream” with another great guitar solo. Vocal highlights include the poignant “That Kind of Fight”; “Bring You Down”, and Al Green’s beautifully sung “Let’s Stay Together” that closes out this fine album.
Thanks to Stony Plain, Strongman is a bluesman who should rise to the top.