STEVE SMITH and his Meteors
Here you will find news about Steve's gigs, tours, and recordings. Some entries will be straight from Steve - these will be in the first person. Steve may share a story or two, even from the old days. You will also find some general news about blues and reviews of some of Steve's favorite recordings by other artists. Steve may even give a shout out to you - who knows? Check back often for updates!
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7/6/11 - Greetings from Memphis. The tour is going great and it was appropriately named: "This is Really the Life Tour". I will attempt to answer a couple questions now. 1. What are you listening to on the tour?  In no particular order: Roy Gaines "Tuxedo Blues"; Freddie King (on King Records) "Taking Care of Business"; Lightning Hopkins "Jake Head Boogie" (hey Kyle!); lots of 50's/early 60's BB King; Muddy Waters early 50's sides; Buddy Guy's Chess and Vanguard recordings, specifically "A MAn and the Blues" on Vanguard and "50th Anniversary Collection" on Chess; Fleetwood Mac "Mr. Wonderful"; and others I'll save for another update. 2. What's the story on "Mo' Greasy Houseparty"? It will come out. I still have not finalized the cover art, and it may get a new title. Let me know what YOU think: stay with the Greasy Houseparty theme, or something completely different. I DO take feedback into account - remember when you all chose this recording to release before the acoustic one? 6/28/11 - School is finally out! Yes, I had minor news, but I got tied up. Here is some big news: The  "This is Really the Life Tour" begins this week and it will be a big one. The kick-off party is at JV's on 6/30, which is my first show there for four years. Four years of my life - hmmm, sounds familar . . . I will be doing solo acoustic shows, duo shows (guitar and drums), and full band shows as I play down the road to Memphis and up the road back home. I will be doing some new places as well as old favorites. Many of you have asked, and the answer is there is no plan to record on this trip - but who knows? Often I just go with the flow. Check it out on the schedule page and hometown folks should be aware of a short stand of local dates befor I head out again. 6/20/11 - This past weekend I played at the Doubletree in Pentagon City for the first time in months. It was great to play "dinner blues" (jazzy blues) again at this uptown place. This used to be a regular gig for me, and it was (and still is) a great chance to stretch out and develop musical ideas. I have a chance to turn my songs inside out and explore them instrumentally. It looks like this may begin to be regular again. I certainly hope so! Stay tuned. 6/9/11 - Lookout, Northern Virginia! I am looking forward to doing some "home" shows this month. Check the schedule. I have been (and will be) on the road a lot, and i look forward to reconnecting with my friends. There are several dates, something/some time for everyone. 6/5/11 - Another acoustic tour Wow! I just a great time doing one band gig and three acoustic gigs this week. The acoustic gigs are just more and more fun for me and I will be booking more.   I got to see part of Appomattox, Va, which is amazing for a history buff (and teacher!). While I did not get to the McLean House, I did find the spot where Lee's army discovered it was cut off from Lynchburg - forcing the surrender. 5/30/11 - Private Events Maybe this is not truly news, but I do perform at a number of private events and am always interested in performing at yours! Some events I have played include: backyard, pool, retirement parties; store openings; charity and political fund raisers; and more. This can be anything from solo up to a full band depending on the situation. Contact me at stevesmithsmeteors @ (leave out the spaces - I do that to prevent spam) if you have something you would like me to play. 5/22/11 - Solo Acoustic (and sometimes electric) I just back from a mini-tour: three solo acoustic shows. The solo performances are a LOT of fun and I have come to really enjoy them. Funny, but I did not jump on the "unplugged" bandwagon when it was the rage and it just never crossed my (feeble?) mind to do these until fairly recently. I had done a number of duo gigs with Pete DelVitto on harmonica, and a few as Steve Smith and the Delta Duo (with harmonica and drums, no bass). Many folks came to the series of dates I did TOTALLY unplugged - all acoustic, no microphones, no PA system - no electricity used at all (I guess I shoulda marketed it as "The Green Concert Series" . . . live and learn; I'll file that away for the future!). I am really glad I gave it a go with the solo gigs, as they are very rewarding.   There really is something wonderful about the sound and feel of an acoustic guitar. I'll revisit this topic in the future. 5/17/11 - Recording "Mo' Greasy Houseparty" Part Two Unlike a lot (most) recording sessions, I go for a live feel. We do almost no overdubing/correcting at all - and I have held to that while recording the last five cd's (see another "News" item below for an explanation of why they are not all available). This is why I record in two days (and they aren't even eight hours); there is no endless worrying about getting the "perfect" solos; in fact we usually run through the song and hit record. The only overdubs on this one are: vocals; keyboards, since BB plays bass; and baritone sax if there are three horns since Ritchie plays tenor as well.   The songs on the disc are going to be sequenced in the order they were recorded. This was an unintended benefit of the live approach - you can spend a lot of time on the running order of an album. This one plays like a set at a club, a real Greasy Houseparty!   5/3/11 - Recording "Mo' Greasy Houseparty", Part One In December 2009, right after Christmas, I began a short tour. Memphis, of course, was the focus, and I decided to record my third album of '09 (there is an unreleased one, "Greasy Houseparty" and soon "Mo'") while there. What I did not count on was being horribly sick, which jeopardized the entire trip. I had to get to a gig in the Nashville area on day one, and then hit Memphis on day two. I remember at the first Memphis gig feeling like I could not finish it, but I certainly did not give up. So on to further gigs and the sessions. My budget is not such that I can devote days to the studio; in fact we record during the day and gig at night - a lot of wear and tear on someone sick and a thousand miles from home. I had assembled the same cast as "Greasy Houseparty", with the exception of Pete Del Vitto who did not play on this session. Roland Janes, the engineer, was also very sick. I started feeling better; he started feeling worse. Really looked like this one was going to crash and burn. On top of that, BB Cunningham, the bass and keyboard man, would have to leave for a tour in Scandinavia so day two of the session was it.   I usually take two days to record, and I am happy to say that it all worked out. Roland was able to engineer, BB was able to get his flight, and we had made another album. More next time!!! 4/30/11 - What I listened to on the last tour People often ask what I listen to on the long trips, so I tried to make note of some items on the "Let Me Catch My Breath Tour". Here are a few selections: Mark Hummel: Unplugged, Back Porch Music - Well, it's not entirely "unplugged", there are certainly some electric instruments. Mark puts out great recordings and this one may be may favorite! Piano, upright bass, a couple guitars, vocals and harmonica on some real blues. A recent release that is easily found.   Chuck Berry: Complete 50's, and Complete 1960 - 66 - Just a joy! Being complete, there are songs that I skip (Hey Pedro), but this stuff always sounds good and gets the blood boiling. BB King: My Kind of Blues - This is a stripped down recording, horns are only on the bonus tracks. Great material, and BB has said this is his favorite. The current edition has unbelievable sound (plus the bonus material) and I can't leave home without it. 4/7/11 - What I've been listening to lately. Believe it or not, I get asked this question a lot, and I am always happy to discuss this! I will keep doing these periodically. Here's a list of what's gotten a lot of play the last couple weeks, in no order:   Freddy King - Taking Care of Business. This is a seven cd box set, and frankly, it's not all good. I am a HUGE fan of the early Federal/King recordings and they are all here including some outtakes. Freddy has been a major influence on my playing and composition. I do not care as much for the later sides on Atlantic and Shelter, but the good early ones still, after 30+ years, get my blood going and inspire me.   Pinetop Perkins - Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie. This is the one on the Antones label. Pinetop died recently, and I had really overlooked this one. It is a solid disc with great playing from the Texas crew.   Bob Dylan - the Original Mono Recordings. The 2003 stereo remasters sound great - some these sound better. Honestly, is there a way to make Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde  sound bad? This is a collection of the first eight Dylan albums in the original mono, but I have been listening to the above two almost exclusively. 4/1/11: Winter's over! April is going to be great! The first quarter is over, and April is here at last. I have been busy planning the heavy touring season, and am looking forward to some great trips. The "Let Me Catch My Breath Tour", 10 shows in 10 days (check the schedule), is what I live for. For you newcomers, Memphis is my favorite place in the world - life is good!   DC Area folks - April will see two local performances: one, a cool club; and the other a swing dance (check the schedule). I am happy to be performing on April 9 at the Cowboy Cafe in Arlington, Va. Sometime soon I'll post something about the old Cowboy Cafe in South Arlington - there were good times there! I will also be performing at a swing dance for the Gotta Swing folks. Gotta Swing founder Tom Koerner and I go back to the 80's. I will feature a slightly different lineup this time, adding piano to the band. Come by, check it out, and let me know what you think. 3/31/11: RIP Pulaski Motel I stumbled across this motel years ago; long enough that I estimate that I have spent at least 60 nights there! This has been a major base of operations for me in SW Virginia, and I have always felt like I was home when there. The staff were great, and it was a great place for Brett - my Standard Poodle and travelling companion. When I first stayed there it was a Days Inn, but the Connecticut-based owners refused to put any money into the place and Days Inn dropped it. In November 2011, the motel closed. It is sad for me to go by it, all locked up, but I somehow can't keep from paying respects. I still walk and play with Brett on the grounds for old times' sake. Earlier this month I ran into one of my friends (aka the staff) at the local grocery store and caught up. Things are tough there; jobs are scarce. Sadly I see this a lot on the road. I miss the Pulaski Motel and wish my friends well! Steve