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Steve Mayone - Bedroom Rocks

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 15 / 1 / 2005

Steve Mayone - Bedroom Rocks
Label: Umver
Format: CD


Versatile collection of pop, rock and blues on debut solo album from jobbing guitarist Steve Mayone, who has worked with Kris Delmhorst and the Band's Levon Helm

But not for long… To say Mayone has had a long and varied musical career would be a major understatement. Pages could be filled on his past achievements. For this writer his name was familiar because he lent his guitar talent to ‘Songs For A Hurricane’ the excellent album from 2003 by Kris Delmhorst. Since Mayone started playing guitar and writing music since the age of 13 it’s a surprise that this collection is the 30 something’s first official solo album. All 12 songs are originals, some co-written with some famous friends like Michael Koppelman, Prince’s engineer; (the pair actually formed a band, Raintribe, who released one album, ‘Ancient Spaceman’) and, as expected from a singer/songwriter who has about 20 years worth of songs and ideas to choose from, every single track is a winner. But the beauty of Mayone’s work is that he has dipped his toes into many genres, not just one, which make this album such a joy to listen to. And also impossible to categorise. There are echoes of everything from the Beatles to blues to alt. country/Americana. Mayone is highly talented. Of that there is no doubt; touring with the likes of Levon Helm from the Band should be recommendation enough. Not only has he produced, recorded and mixed the album he plays almost every instrument although he is helped out on some songs with additional bass, guitar and drums. It seems that there isn’t any type of music he can’t turn his hand to. If well crafted guitar based music holds any appeal for you then make this album one of the first you buy this year; it will stay with you for the next 12 months or until Mayone sees fit to unleash his next opus. The album opens with ‘Losing’ one of those songs where people who don’t usually pay much attention to music suddenly start showing interest. It’s a gentle song to start the proceedings; Mayone handles all the instruments bar drums on the song and it shows off Mayone’s talent for writing outstanding melodies as well as his ability for lyrics which are always attention-grabbing. Hearing Mayone taking all the harmonies on the chorus for the first time is an eye opener and his guitar playing, as it is throughout the whole album, is nothing short of stunning. Covering so many musical styles the album could have been all over the place. The first three songs are all well crafted slices of pop/rock full of harmonies, stunning melodies and with just the right amount of 60’s influences creeping in. The last song of the opening trio, ‘Other Side’, could well have been a George Harrison song on a mid period Beatles album (yes it’s that good). Mayone then throws us off track with the fourth song, ‘Going Down’, It’s a 70’s influenced country/rock song but with the added twist of the banjo being the main instrument. It works extremely well. Then just as Mayone has the listener wondering if he is going to make a return to the familiar pop sound of the first three songs, after taking that diversion, he presents us with a song which sounds like an old traditional ballad from a Gillian Welch album. It’s not of course; it’s another Mayone original he’s just doing what he is so good at; genre hopping. With Clare Burson adding some stunning vocals and violin it’s a genre one wishes Mayone would visit more often. The title track has a bluesy feel to it and again those harmonies are in place throughout the song. The guitar based ballad ‘Not That Strong’ on which Mayone plays all instruments and handles all the vocals is simply stunning; written for a lost love, the song ends with the line “I’ll guess I’ll be all right but you walked out with a part of me” then Mayone’s guitar does the rest of the talking. Heartbreaking and then some. But the undoubted highlight has to be ‘Wanted Man’. With Clare Burson again adding effecting, ghostly vocals and violin it’s another acoustic ballad this time about a father being forced to leave his daughter after something he planned went wrong. Hear Burson sing the line “when I grew into these sad eyes where were you” and try not to be affected. That one song alone is worth the price of this album. A few weeks into January and already Mayone has set the bar high for any other albums released this year. At the moment there is nothing I’d rather listen to, it’s all here, rock, pop, folk, blues Mayone can turn his hand to any genre and make a fair fist of it. Describing the album as outstanding doesn’t come close and this must surely be one of the biggest surprises of the New Year. Steve Mayone; definitely a name to watch out for.

Track Listing:-
1 Losing
2 The Sweetest Thing
3 Other Side
4 Going Down
5 Deeper in the Well
6 Bedroom Rockstar
7 Stranded
8 Not That Strong
9 Good Day to Die
10 Wanted Man
11 She Runs Deep

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