Review John Apice
Steve Yanek – Long Overdue
This artist gets out of the starting gate with a tight, striking title track “Long Overdue,” with a driving melody, incisive guitars & a group of musicians who are on target with sparkling performances. Steve Yanek has wonderful tonality in his rock-inflected vocals that like Neil Young can simmer into slower songs just as effectively. Fortunately, Yanek doesn’t have Neil Young’s whine & limited range – he is far more varied & cohesive.
“Tired of This Attitude,” is different. A mid-tempo rocker with an abundance of aplomb but no anger or edginess. It’s a well-balanced song that spreads its musical energy out evenly. Quite likable on repeated listens. The 10-cut LP is recorded excellently in studios in Oregon, California, Connecticut & Pennsylvania. Varied enough to keep the interest level high.
Produced by Jeff Pevar, the 43-minute CD Long Overdue (Drops July 19–Primitive Records) features songs that have a late-career Tom Petty flavor. Steve Yanek (acoustic guitar/piano/vocal/harmony) knows how to come right up to the pop-music boundary line but does not cross over. His songs suggest the best of that genre without getting repetitive, cliched, or pompous. “Everyone’s Crazy These Days,” hits the nail on the head without being preachy. Yanek’s music has the ability to attract country artists with a slight tweak of arrangement.
A completely dissimilar vocal tone comes with “About This Time,” a beautiful ballad with Jeff Pevar’s Italian steel guitar as it weaves throughout. If ever a modern song had the possibility of becoming a standard this would qualify. Wonderfully written & performed.
Joining Steve are A-list musicians – Dixie Dregs’ drummer Rod Morgenstein, the late Dregs’ T. Lavitz (piano/B3 organ), David Crosby, & CS&N touring band’s Jeff Pevar (electric guitar/lap steel/acoustic guitar/bass/drums/keyboards/harmony vocals/percussion/Resonator guitar/Italian steel guitar), Dave Livolsi (bass), Inger Nova Jorgensen, Larry Kennedy (harmony), renowned drummer Kenny Aronoff & Little Feat’s Billy Payne (piano).
Yanek is simply adept at what he does. Whether a fully arranged assault on the senses or a simple almost lullaby-like “Goodbye,” he effectively provides the listener with exciting, satisfying melodies that are showcased superbly.
Not a bad song in the bunch.
Photo courtesy of Steve’s website. Available @ https://steveyanek.com/intro