Steve Almaas’ Everywhere You’ve Been

By Brian Rock

If you are “of a certain age” and can trace your musical evolution from Punk to New Wave to Alternative to Roots Rock to Americana, then Steve Almaas has been Everywhere You’ve Been; which, coincidentally, is the name of his new solo album. This, his sixth solo release, finds Steve abandoning his earlier punk and new wave influences and finds him focusing on his roots rock and Americana experience – with just a touch of country.

The title song is reminiscent of Nick Lowe’s later work. With vocal harmonies and pop melodies offset by weepy steel guitar, Almaas sings, “Long dark hair, lily white hands, blue eyed original sin; you’re everything you ever were and everywhere you’ve been.” Indicating that who we are on the inside is more important than how we appear on the outside, Almaas reminds us that who we are is the culmination of our experiences; and everywhere we go and everyone we interact with leaves a trace in us.

With his Bob Dylan meets Phil Everly voice, Almaas proceeds to share stories of some of the people and places who have left their mark on him. He begins at the beginning with “1955.” Capturing the early rockabilly sound of Sun Studios, he traces the milestone events of his own life by decade. “Cigarettes, Coffee Or You,” continues the rockabilly style, but adds Melissa Carper style vocal harmonies and humor to celebrate his favorite vices. “Someway, Somehow, Somewhere,” adds a touch of Marshall Crenshaw to his rockabilly in an optimistic ode to better days ahead.

“You’re The One For Me,” taps into Almaas’ alternative days to create a beautiful, jangle-pop anthem of love. “Bred In The Bone,” captures the sounds of the mid 80’s “Paisley Revival” with its swirling Hammond organ and driving beat. “She Don’t Love You,” adds gritty steel guitar to his alternative rhythms to create a multi-layered cautionary tale of a woman with a heart of stone.

Almaas explores country themes in the touching ballad, “Goodbye Nicolina.” Perfectly capturing the tone of every great, broken hearted country song, he sings against a backdrop of haunting pedal steel, “I must say farewell. To have once had your love is both Heaven and Hell.” “The Way I Treated You,” adds flourishes of Flamenco guitar to his country stylings. Almaas even manages to combine Mersey Beat with country in the convoluted tale of unrequited love, “Three Women.”

With years (and miles) of experience, Steve Almaas has taken the best musical parts from “Everywhere You’ve Been,” and combined them in a way that’s simultaneously comforting and exciting. Rather than muddling everything in a single sauce, Almaas has found a way to mix rockabilly, alternative and country in a way that lets each one shine in its own right. The result is a vibrant expression of modern Americana music.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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