The London based duo Steepways aka Blair Chadwick and Charlie Bateson will release their debut album physically on May 7th via Mansion House Records. To support the release they've lined up a string of shows including an album launch event on April 29th at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden, London. A stream / more about the album and additional tour dates follows:
In the summer of 2014, before they met one evening at the famous, now sadly defunct Gladstone Arms in London, Blair Chadwick and Charlie Bateson were looking for instrumentalists and a vocalist respectively, but what they got was something entirely different and unexpected. They both gained a songwriting partner. It soon became clear that they were writing songs way in advance of what they had both done separately and the three intervening years were spent writing songs that would become Steepways’ debut album Holy Smoke.
The turning point came when they spent a week rehearsing the songs in a cottage overlooking a magical valley in the Cotswolds with award-winning Americana producer and player Chris Clarke (studio owner, producer, Danny and the Champ, and all round top bloke) in attendance, soon afterwards booking a solid month at Clarke's Reservoir Studios to record the album, with Chris in the producer’s chair.
Aiming for the feel of classic 70's singer-songwriter albums, the core duo of Chadwick and Bateson on guitars and vocals, were joined by drummer Jamie Shaw (ex-Dan Raza and the Shrouds, current Hallelujah Trails) pedal steel and dobro legend Darren Buddell, (Atlantic Sons), Andy Fairclough on Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano and keyboards (ex-Secret Affair and current Danny and the Champions of the World) and Siobhan Parr (former Alabama 3 and current Siobhan Parr Trio) on vocals along with the aforementioned Chris Clarke on bass.
Drawing on influences from both sides of the Atlantic - Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams, Waylon Jennings and Gillian Welch from the US and The Kinks, Cat Stevens & Nick Lowe closer to home - Blair and Charlie often talked of a mythical mid Atlantic island with a deep well containing all the amassed wealth of folk, blues, rock n' roll, country, soul, jazz and general roots and Americana musics.
Sonically covering a wide spectrum, from the moody ‘Radio Silence’, with finger-picking and solo nylon string guitar with a ‘south of the border feel’ and layered harmonies, via the swagger and Waylon Jennings ‘groove beat’ on ‘Everything Won’t Do’, through to the almost breakneck rockabilly country of ‘Chaperone’.
Lyrically the songs cover the varied topics of loves lost and gained, compassion for a stranger, dissatisfaction in the midst of plenty, addiction, bucolic beauty and in the case of ‘Radio Silence’, the question mark over the future of their beloved radio, a metaphor for all things that may be lost in the flood of technology.
Steepways - American country, British roots, played with conviction and always with the song at the heart. Vocal harmonies, intertwined instruments with themes of love, lust, addiction and black humour.
Fri 21 Bristol The Thunderbolt
Sat 29 London Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden Album Launch show, featuring AMA-UK Instrumentalist of the Year CJ Hillman on pedal steel
Fri 26 Kingston upon Thames Woody’s Bar & Kitchen
Thu 8 London The Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell
Wed 5 Kingston upon Thames Folking Around, Woody’s Bar & Kitchen
Thu 6 Southsea Little Johnny Russell's, The Victorious Sessions
Further dates to be announced soon