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Steve Strongman

Steve Strongman isn’t a household name in blues circles…yet. But Hamilton’s scorching guitar ace raises the bar in his highly anticipated release “Honey” (Fallen Sky/Fontana). Long gone are the days he would sneak up the fire escape at Kitchener’s renowned blues club “Pop the Gator”, but in a return to his roots Strongman has sewn a seamless blend of old school and contemporary sensibilities that ultimately heralds the arrival of one of the blues world’s most exciting newcomers.

Having started a professional career at the age of 16, playing clubs all around southern Ontario, it wasn’t long until Strongman caught the eye of Mississippi Blues legend Mel Brown. Under his tutelage, Steve met, played with and was inspired by legends like Kim Wilson, James Harmon, Luther Tucker, Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl. In fact, it was after one blistering opening set that Chicago soulster Otis Clay exclaimed, “I’m gonna do what you do…” Not wanting to commit stylistically to any one genre, Steve began touring extensively with country, rock and blues bands playing venues like Opryland, Renfro Valley in Kentucky and opening for Roy Clark at his theatre in Branson Missouri . After a taste of L.A. , playing with Columbia recording artist Tal Bachman, Steve chose to concentrate on his own rock band, Plasticine. With irresistible stage presence and gritty hard-driving rock & roll, Plasticine developed a devoted legion of fans and quickly garnered a record deal with the Allen Gregg venture Song Corporation. After the demise of the ill-fated Song Corp., Steve was opted as lead guitar player for Epic/Sony recording artist Kazzer leading to more touring of the United States, Canada as well as extensive tours in Europe.

But the blues were calling him home, and Strongman answered with this impressive debut that undeniably proves his mettle as a force to be reckoned with on the international scene. “Honey” caters to blues/rock fans with varied tastes, and the moment Steve lets his licks loose with the blues/rock anthem “Hard Headed Lover”, you are grabbed by the throat and it doesn’t let you go. From the more traditional stylings of “Let’s Sleep on This”, featuring stellar horn performances by Terry Townson and Steve Hilliam of The Little Big Band, to the atmospheric ballad “Soul Searching”, Strongman glides through the grooves with cool guitar parts and evocative soulful vocals. He shows his Freddie King influence in “Big Legged Woman” but shines the brightest when demonstrating the breadth of his guitar prowess as notes flow from his heart to his fret board on tunes like “Honey” and “That’s Me”. Mentor and legend Mel Brown sits in on guitar on the classic “How Blue Can You Get”. Bringing it close to the bone with slide work on songs like “River” and “Birthday Song”, Strongman wields his Dobro as deftly as his electric guitar. Things then wind down with the jazz tinged “Keep it to Yourself”. With nine originals on the 11 song play list, Strongman guides the feel and flow with ease and revitalizes blues clichés with astutely modern treatments to reveal a recording that is as deep as it is varied. This ultra-cool musical gem is a high caliber work that paves new ground with its pace changes, dynamics, atmosphere, melody, tricky riffs and mind blowing gritty greasy blues ultimately marking this effort as a new classic and a must have for blues lovers old and new. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.