Steve Gellman – All You Need
The pleasantries of the late singer-songwriters Harry Chapin, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Clifford T. Ward & David McWilliams lives on in songs by an artist like Steven Gellman (guitar/vocals). His smooth brandy resonating voice mixed with poetic lyrics is a perfect collaboration. I’m a sucker for storytelling singers who aren’t always bellyaching about the world, complaining about Covid or any wars that may be developing. Steve focuses on singing the praises of just being alive, reminiscing, being good faithful friends & sharing life’s experiences. Gellman does this.
Produced by Jim Robeson (vocals/upright bass) the 50-minute, 12 pieces that are All You Need (Drops October 6–Hidden Poet) were constructed with nods to poignancy with no hokum just homegrown. It’s beautifully written & performed.
Recorded in Maryland Steven’s sensitive songwriting technique is a welcome showcase. He’s appeared on several previous solo LPs. With songs possessing their own relevancy & sensibility & Steve’s vocals — stylistically astute, perfectly suited for the kind of songs he performs. No showboating, no challenging range just straightforward tales that are diverse & tight. Very little cliché application & his vocal clarity on both “California,” (a song dedicated to Kate — I believe the late folk singer Kate Wolf) & “The Bear Prince,” are both gentle melodies.
The addition of flute & the Chinese dulcimer on some tunes creates a diverse original sound. It sets him generously apart from other artists.
Highlights – “Wintering (A Life Well Lived),” “Just Like You, Just Like Me,” “Little Victories,” “Twenty-Nine,” “California (For Kate),” “The Briarcliff Motel (A New England Town II),” “The Bear Prince” & “All You Need.”
Musicians – Cathy Fink (banjo/vocals), Miles Lieder (drums/percussion), Ron Stewart (fiddle), Marcy Marxer (mandolin/vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (upright bass), Fred Travers (dobro), Kiya Heartwood (duet vocals/vocals), Seth Kibel (flute), Bonnie Rideout (viola), Chao Tian (Chinese dulcimer), Margaret Wolfe (harmonica/vocals), Gayle Anderson Gram (duet vocals/vocals), Bob Gram (vocals) & Nina Gerber (guitar/slide guitar).
Color image courtesy of Bandcamp. The CD sleeve has a fold-out with lyrics. CD @ Bandcamp + https://hiddenpoet.com/steven-gellman