Steve McGill –Ghost of Valentine EP Launch at Pitcher & Piano 22/8/12

Steve has played locally long enough to build up a following but more importantly to cultivate his stage performance which shows as he confidently starts in this converted church to play a mix of covers and songs from his first album. You can’t deny the acoustics in this fantastic venue and Steve’s already impressive voice is amplified by the surroundings. Starting the set on his own he utilises a loop pedal and effects to create layers allowing him to solo over the rhythm parts to form a wall of sound that fills the rafters. On introducing a song as ‘one which was written for the Eurovision song contest’ it is clear that while adept at covers Steve has a knack for writing a catchy pop song, there is a clear understanding of structure and dynamics. At times beneath the huge stained glass windows he could seem lost if it wasn’t for his voice and warm guitar. His song where the lyrics are made up entirely of Bee Gees song titles is no small undertaking and closes the first set perfectly and was clearly written with a genuine love for the subject matter. But more importantly he is here to promote his new EP ‘Ghost of Valentine’ and so for the second half of the set is joined by Miles (Jake Bugg’s Bass player) on slide guitar which adds a whole new level creating an atmosphere of dusty road trips with an Americana feel. Although the songs from the EP have a country influence they are played with a British sensibility and so the homage never strays into stereotypes that traditional country can sometimes do. With such of wealth of country music out there it’s hard to tread familiar ground and yet still turn it around so it doesn’t sound like a hundred Nashville hits that have come before. ‘When A Dream Becomes A Nightmare’ contains lyrics that Merle Haggard would be proud of, introduced as a depressing song it sounds huge and moving aided by the venues old purpose. Finishing up with a clutch of crowd pleasers Steve can walk away from this launch as happy as the receptive audience who not only appreciated the familiar songs but embraced his own material like they had always know it.

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