Steve Yanek Interview & Story

Steve Yanek Interview

By Big Al Weekley for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

“For as long as I can remember, songwriting has been a coping method for me,” says Americana artist Steve Yanek.  “It’s like I have an underground spring just under the surface that taps into the creative side of my subconscious.  Sometimes songs will flow freely and sometimes it’s dry, but there’s always water flowing in that aquifer.”

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

With his latest album, “September,” Yanek certainly seems to have tapped into a very special water vein. This album is the follow up to 2022’s nationally acclaimed album, “Long Overdue,” which topped both the Americana & Country Roots Music Report (RMR) Album and Singles Charts for two consecutive weeks last October.  It is a collection of ten new songs written over a period of eighteen months during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown that followed. These songs, according to Yanek, “Are both intimate and personal takes on life, love, and survival in these crazy times.”

Inspired by musical heroes like Emitt Rhodes, (whom the album is dedicated to), and Paul McCartney, Yanek plays all the instruments and sings all the vocals as well as producing and mixing the album. Traces of other singer-songwriters country rock influences of 70s like Jackson Browne, Eagles, James Taylor, Neil Young and Dan Fogelberg are woven together in a seamless way that brings a new freshness to an old familiar sound.

Yanek says the decision to make this album entirely by himself was not preordained.  “Under the circumstances in which these songs were written, and the somewhat personal weight that each song carried, I thought it was best that I make this record as intimate as possible, writing and recording the songs by myself as they each arrived.”  The result is a very fresh and inspired album of ten well-crafted songs with themes of summer used metaphorically as a lyrical backdrop capturing the fears, desires, and the gratitude everyone feels as they grow older.  Musically, the production showcases Yanek’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist as well as an engineer and producer with a knack for blending elements of rock, americana, and folk into his own distinct melodic sound.

“Each of these songs and the characters in them mean something personal to me on an emotional level,” Yanek states.  “The lockdown was a very introspective time for a lot of us, and most of these songs are standalone statements of where I was at when I wrote them.”

Whether dealing with survival skills and the ability to keep starting over like the protagonist in “Begin Again,” or the yin and yang of lines like “Another sad and sunny day” in the anthemic “I Could Use A Little Rain,” Yanek is lyrically and musically on point with each song as they weave in and out of each other.  These are characters we all know, from the aging beachcomber trying to reconcile lost love in “Summer Days” to the regrets and gratitude of the erstwhile lover in “Catch My Fall.”  Other gems like “Carousel” and the title track “September” deal with the living and dying part of life.

The album is rounded out with the very inspired “Come Back In,” the touching ballad, “You Know It’s Right,” and the goodtime rocker, “Losing You,” which Yanek says was the song that got this project started.  “I had recently purchased a set of drums for my studio and needed a song to record, so I just started playing this little Charlie Watts kinda groove and I could just hear Mick laying down an electric piano – and within a couple hours I had it all written and recorded.  I did recut the drums and most of the vocal, but all the other parts were all done in one take, and then all these songs started flowing in similar fashion.”  There is a certain kind of flow to this album, and if you close your eyes and listen you can almost feel summer coming to an end.

“September is the month I was born in, and summer is by far my favorite season.  You will never hear me complain about it being too hot out,”  Yanek explains.  “As a kid, I always hated that month because it meant the end of summer and the start of school – and I hated school!  As an adult, I still have remnants of those emotions as August begins to wind down.”

“Yanek is simply adept at what he does. Whether a fully arranged assault on the senses or a simple almost lullaby-like “Goodbye,” he effectively provides the listener with exciting, satisfying melodies that are showcased superbly. Not a bad song in the bunch.” – John Apice (Americana Highways – July 2022) 

“Credit Yanek with being so willing to express his inner feelings and making himself so vulnerable, all at the same time. Suffice it to say Long Overdue was well worth the wait.”

  • Lee Zimmerman (American Songwriter – August 2022)

 

“The production is strong, his vocals shine and from the opening track – the title track – he has a brand of country-rock that sees your foot tapping along from the off.  Melodically, this is a stand out collection as those choruses will get stuck in your head.”  –  Zoe Hodges (Maverick Magazine UK – September 2022)

Related Posts

Bill Taylor & The Appalachian Heatherns Interview

By Nigel Sharpe for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Rachel Gleddie Interview

By Nigel Sharpe for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Nick Hickmann Interview

By Nigel Sharpe for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Presley Tennant Interview

By Big Al Weekley for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *