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Steve Conn

STEVE CONN (Not Really Records)  •  Steve Conn

In a world of pretenders, virtuosity is a pleasure. When it will bear its very soul, that's a treasure.

The artist is one of Nashville's jewels, and favorite pianist and organist of many a famous act. But he's also a great songwriter and entertaining front man, and has many fans here and beyond. Conn is a fluid motherfunker in the New Orleans style and related swampy grooves, but has it all at his fingertips, especially if it has anything remotely to do with the blues.

Hold the artifice and pass the tone, please. Steve has always run in fast, deep musical company, and the gang's all here. Sonny Landreth and Kenny Vaughan are burnin the frickin house down on guitars, first of all. Dave Francis on bass and occasional acoustic and Bryan Owings on drums are the rock solid rhythm dogs. Owings is everywhere these days--when he's not out with Buddy and Julie Miller, he's playing on a lot of records (including Pieta Brown's new EP, clips from that also in this issue).

As a person, Conn is a major dude. Self effacing, extremely present, intelligent, and passionate about what he does. When someone with his chops brings all that to the table in addition, it's small wonder that he's asked by so many greats to share the stage or studio: Bonnie Raitt, Sonny Landreth, Kenny Loggins, Nanci Griffith, Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, Billy Joe Shaver, Mark Knopfler, Dixie Chicks, Albert King...the list goes on and on.

My favorite songs combine funky groove and personal politics, like Mose Allison. (God help me, I love to hear Kenny Vaughan and Sonny Landreth play the blues.) "If I Were King" and "Don't Ask Me" are right up my alley, and "I Got Your Dog" is really messed up, too.

A heartbreaking separation from a great woman tore the guy in half, and he doesn't hide or shrink from that in these songs. His ability to open up about it is one of the elements that makes this record great. I'm proud to know him. Check him out on the Listen page. (Official release date is August 5th, but for pre-release copies, drop a line to mail@steveconn.com and tell them you heard about it at Puremusic.com.) • FG

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