Artist: Steve Young
Venue: Ronnie Scott’s Upstairs (London)
Date: Nov 1
Review By: Flora Tremblay
Photo By: Sarah Houben
Last month, I was lucky enough to be given a ticket for Ronnie Scott’s Upstairs TV nights in order to write a review about singer-songwriter Steve Young. As you can tell, I have written said review shamefully late due to falling ill the night after the concert, but of course, this had nothing to do with the music. On the contrary, listening to Steve Young’s original songs was just what one could wish for before being sent to bed for an entire week.
They give you a cozy feeling, perfect for the upcoming winter season but probably for beach campfires, too. Only using an acoustic guitar and his voice, his music moved between Americana and pop, and the lyrics often touched on the usual subjects such as love, friendship and dreams. However, the songs never sounded naff, but rather honest, heartfelt and straightforward. It’s the kind of stuff that you’d want someone to write for you. Or, if you just frowned upon my last sentence, let’s say that you at least wouldn’t mind if someone did. He also played a Pink Floyd cover which was a refreshing addition to his set.
It was not an easy spot to play, being the opening act in a room where the stage is sort of tucked away between the tables and the bar, where many people can’t see it and thus continue their conversations over the music. I couldn’t understand everything but I wanted to keep listening, which wasn’t always the case later in the evening. Whilst I can’t speak about the whole program of the night due to having to leave after a few sets, I found that Steve might have had the simplest set-up but was the most outstanding artist for me. The other sets sounded a bit generic to me, whereas Steve’s had more of a raw edge, as far as there is a raw edge for mellow acoustic guitar songs. That being said, it was only the last song of his set that was from the upbeat-clap-your-hands-category and even though I secretly didn’t clap my hands, if I missed one thing in the set, then it was more songs like that one. But then it says “always leave them wanting more”, so maybe this part of a cunning plan which now makes me listen to Steve Young on Spotify.
All in all, I wonder why I haven’t heard of Steve Young before. I’m not an expert when it comes to singer songwriters, but I do listen to my fair share of all-time UK favourites such as Ben Howard and all these acoustic Spotify playlists that serve as a musical tapestry for my kitchen. Steve Young has had airplay on BBC radio 2, which is probably nicer than being included in the soundtrack to which I cut carrots, but still – what I’m trying to say is that he deserves more attention.
His album “Troubadour” is out since July 1st and was crowdfunded via the platform Pledge Music. His 3rd single, to be released in January 2017, will be a double A with the tracks “In My Dreams” and “Garden of Love.” If you’re looking for him online, be aware that there are two artists with his name. He is the younger one with the beard, the cap and the checked shirt. Not the older one with the beard, the hat and the patterned shirt. Reading his biography later, I’ve found out that in the last years he has indeed played with well-known people and at well-known events, and I hope that he can continue to make a name for himself as a solo artist.