RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

The Steepwater Band – Live And Humble
Official Site

http://www.steepwater.com/

Rating: B+

The Steepwater Band, Chicago’s premium dealers of down ‘n dirty, boozy, rock ‘n roll, are back with a slamming new live disc entitled Live And Humble. Formed way back in 1998, this band has been one of America’s best kept secrets for far too long. Founding members Jeff Massey (guitars, vocals), Tod Bowers (bass) and drummer Joe Winters, have been paying their dues out on the road, and steadily building momentum along the way and converting new fans to their infectious rock ‘n blues sound. The power trio has since expanded to a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Eric Saylors, who has really helped contribute some added depth to their live sound.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing these guys live in the flesh (me included) then picking up a copy of this disc is definitely going to go a long way towards being the next best thing. Over the course of eleven songs, spanning seventy five minutes, these seasoned veterans lay down a substantial serving of bluesy soaked goodness that is as authentic as it gets. The band creates a deft balance by offering up  a handful of tracks from their most recent studio effort Clava (2011) and combining that with a few choice nuggets, from their extensive back catalogue.

 Anchored by the utra-solid and at times, funky rhythm section of Bowers and Winters, their unshakeable base allows Massey and Saylors the freedom to take their dynamic guitar interplay to new heights. Perhaps what has always stood out for me though about the band is that they’ve always managed to strike a firm balance between writing straight ahead compositions and yet they can also jam their asses off and this is never been more evident than in their live sets. Tracks like “Dance Me A Number”, “My Back Pocket” and dare I say the almost commercial appeal of “Meet Me In The Aftermath”, all rip with a straight forward sense of directness, however when coupled up with the searing, stretched out jams of set closer “World Keeps Moving On”, “Come On Down” and “Remember The Taker”, this is when you get a truer glimpse of what these guys are all about. The contrast is transparent and just a natural extension of their sound; never for one minute sounding either forced or pre-planned. I would be remiss and downright crazy if I didn’t mention their blazing blues medley of “Boom Boom/ How Many More Times” which has all the firepower to flat out knock out a heard of stampeding rhinos at twenty paces! The extended guitar soloing throughout this seventeen minute gem is enough to make any guitar player green with envy. Trust me there is not one note wasted here! You get the feeling that both Massey and Saylors left a piece of themselves on the stage by the songs blazing conclusion.

If you’re a fan of good old fashioned, kick ass classic rock and blues then you’re seriously going to dig what The Steepwater Band brings to the table. Do yourself a favor, head on over to their website and get yourself a copy of Live And Humble. While you’re at it, also take a good, hard look at their back catalogue as well ‘cause I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by what you hear.            

By Ryan Sparks

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