I met Steve, The Balladeer on Twitter. Over the last couple of years I’ve had numerous conversations with him, and have, over time, built what I would consider to be a real friendship, even if it is in the virtual world. I have no doubt that if I was in a real bind I could count on my friend Steve, otherwise known as “inhuggermugger” to me, to do whatever he could do to help me.
It was not until some time later in our online friendship that I learned he is a musician who has released his own CD.
As a lover of music from many different genres, I was quite anxious to hear the music from the heart and soul of one of my dearest friends.
If you love music- and I mean real music– I definitely recommend you give my friend, Steve, The Balladeer a listen. He is what I would classify as a beautiful throwback to a time when music was truly music. You can clearly hear the individual musical instruments accompany his rich and melodic voice without overpowering him.
Unlike so much of the music of today- and this includes music that I actually like- you do not have to strain to hear and understand the lyrics of the songs that flow so freely from the heart and soul of Steve, The Balladeer.
His first CD, “Romance and Sorrow”, is composed mostly of songs which were written and originally recorded about 12 years ago- with a few exceptions. His song, “Copper Brown Eyes” was written in 2002 as a Valentine’s Gift to his wife. What a unique and beautiful gift that must have been for her!
“The Banks of the Colorado” was written in 2001 about a trip he and his wife made to my home state of Texas to visit his in-laws.
For “Your Down Is Up to You”, we have to travel all the way back to Steve, The Balladeer’s songwriting days of 1971- give or take a year or two!
The songs that make up “Romance and Sorrow” are quite different in mood from the songs of his next CD, which is called “Ballads in Praise of the Muse”. That recording is very near completion and will be released in the very near future.
“Romance and Sorrow” consists of songs with a more “worldly” aspect to them. As the Balladeer, himself explains them,
“They look ‘outward’ to try to say something ‘outside'”.
However, the songs of “Ballads in Praise of the Muse” are more poetic and ‘inward’. Though many of the songs are written in the same time-frame as “Romance and Sorrow” there is more of a meditative, spiritual quality to “Ballads in Praise of the Muse”. The Balladeer says this is why he grouped these songs apart from the ones on “Romance and Sorrow.”
You can see from some of the titles of the songs on “Ballads in Praise of the Muse” that this CD is quite different. Some of the songs on the upcoming CD include:
“Hamlet at the Graveside”
“Ballad of the Thorn and the Rose”
“I Will See You in Jerusalem”
“The Light of God”
“Tell Me That You Love Me”
“I Want the Fire”
“You Set My Spirit Free”
“My Slumbering Heart”
as well as several others.
With the song “Barbie Allen”, The Balladeer took about 30 different versions of the classic Celtic/American folk song, studied them all for about 2 or 3 hours, closed the originals, and then completely rewrote his own version.
When speaking of “Hamlet at the Graveside”, Steve says that it may be he most audacious piece of songwriting ever. Quoting from him on this song, he says:
If you know anything about the play “Hamlet,” you will know that the hero Hamlet is deeply in love with Ophelia, but because the play is a tragedy, he and she are unable to fulfill their love for various reasons that I cannot go into right now. At the end of the play, Ophelia dies BEFORE Hamlet has a chance to say “goodbye” to her! He comes back to Denmark from England (where he was supposed to be killed by agents of his arch-enemy, the present King of Denmark) only to find his beloved Ophelia is dead! But Shakespeare has already, at this point, written the longest play he has ever written, and HE MUST HURRY TO THE END OF THE PLAY!! There is no time for Shakespeare to dwell on Hamlet’s feelings for Ophelia before the end of the play!!
The plot must move on!!
So, you guessed it: I’ve written the song, that is “Hamlet at the Graveside,” [which is] Hamlet’s farewell to Ophelia, the song that Shakespeare WOULD HAVE given to Hamlet to sing if there had been time enough in the play … but there wasn’t!!
Steve says that “Tell Me That You Love Me” is the only song that he has ever written for a young lady to sing, and adds:
I am hoping that Mary Sarah will sing it, because she is the perfect age and her voice is just DYNAMITE!!!
I would have to agree with The Balladeer, regarding Mary Sarah! Her voice is indeed DYNAMITE! To hear her sing a song composed by the talented Balladeer would indeed be a treat for us all, I have no doubt! Steve says he is waiting on the copyrighting process to be completed, and the moment that is finalized he will send it to her for her review and consideration.
The song is about a young lady who believes that she is in love, but does not want to be fooled. The song is about lessons on boys and men taught to her by her mamma and daddy.
This is one song I will wait with baited breath for, hoping that Mary Sarah will agree to sing it!
Steve, The Balladeer says that his dream is not primarily to be a singer, as he feels he is too old for that. (I would have to respectfully disagree with him on that point!) He says that he instead would like to be a songwriter, with his songs being taken by singers who do not have their own songs and record them with their interpretation.
It seems as though Steve does not sit still! He is also working on a third CD, which will come out as soon as the songs are copyrighted and recorded. When I read the title of the third CD I knew immediately it is a CD I want to hear!
“I Sing for America”. There is beauty in the title alone that reaches to the very heart that beats in this author. Steve says that there a a few Public Domain songs, but otherwise, all songs are written by him.
Here is a listing of the songs on “I Sing for America”:
“I’ll Be There” (was written right after the 9-11 massacre)
“We Roll On” (was written in response to our invasion of Iraq)
“Everyday for Me Is the 4th of July” (was written after reading “John Adams” by the historian David McCullough, as well as just his general response TO JUST BEING AN AMERICAN!)
“No Greater Love: The Fields of Pennsylvania” (this one took him 7 years to write! This is yet another one in response to the 9/11 attack on America, and the heroism from Valley Forge, to Gettysburg to Flight 93)
“On the Liberty Bell” (still a work in progress, at the time of the writing of this article, but is almost completed. He started writing this one on Easter Sunday. The song centers around the text written on the Liberty Bell, which is taken from Leviticus, and is the perfect symbol of America–it fuses Passover and Easter into ONE image, as Steve explains it.)
Battle Hymn of the Republic”
“Stars & Stripes Forever”
The most interesting of details came out about the third CD, “I Sing for America”. Steve, The Balladeer says:
The only reason that I include “Stars & Stripes Forever” on the CD is because I am going to WHISTLE it!
This should be a most interesting CD, indeed! I look forward to hearing it in the very near future, as well as “Ballads in Praise of the Muse”. Fortunately for us, we can listen to Romance and Sorrow and purchase it at Steve, The Balladeer’s website.