The Steepwater Band from Chicago return to UK for the first time since 2010 along with special guest blues rocker Rob Tognoni from Australia.
Their last record Shake Your Faith released in 2016 was produced by the band along with seasoned rock studio veteran Jim Wirt, who has also worked with the likes of Fiona Apple, Incubus and the Buffalo Killers. As with most TSB albums, the sound and songwriting on Shake Your Faith has grown and expanded, yet retained the true nature of the band. It’s the first TSB studio record in over 4 years and the first to include “new” guitarist Eric Saylors.
Shake Your Faith has a wide range of sounds from straight ahead rock n roll to a psychedelic samba, and lyrical direction that extends from love to murder. This album is the true meaning of just that. An album – a collective piece of music that’s meant to be heard front to back. Saylors adds “The way the whole record flows, it’s like one long song… takes you on a little journey.”
With the additional band member, the songwriting approach for this record was different than it was on past TSB albums, when they were a 3-piece. Singer/Guitarist Jeff Massey comments on the TSB songwriting process…“Each song was different. I had a few totally finished songs, or Tod would bring a complete piece of music that would need melody & lyrics. And there were also a bunch of other musical ideas coming from both Eric & Joe, which we would all hash out together.” Drummer Joe winters states “Everyone really brought ideas to the table, collaboratively, more so with Shake Your Faith, than with any other of our records. That really created a special vibe around the songs.”
The arctic Lake Erie air made for a secluded and quick session, as it was all recorded and mixed within 12 days. “What better circumstances to record in?” says Eric Saylors, “There weren’t any outside distractions!” The band entered the studio with a group of songs, but with very loose arrangements. Bassist Tod Bowers elaborates, “It really allowed everyone in the band to be inspired by the moment. Sonically inspired by what sounds you were hearing coming out of the speakers… what was happening in the room, musically between the 4 of us. And you can hear that in the recording.”
Formed in Chicago back in 1998, The Steepwater Band’s signature sound is a nod to early British blues, combined with a modern, raw and gutsy musical approach. Founding members Massey, Bowers and Winters have a synergy that comes from years of playing together. Then in early 2012, the long-time trio was joined by Saylors, from Indianapolis, IN, who brought an added depth to the TSB LIVE sound. Although the band got their start as devotees of delta blues, they have since been expanding on their influences, absorbing everything from Psychedelia to Americana, from Jazz to 50’s Rock n’ Roll Music.
The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last 18 years, averaging about 140 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart. In 2005, the band made its European debut, performing at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. In the following years, the band has returned to the United Kingdom and Europe for multiple club and festival tours, increasing their loyal overseas fan-base.
Rob Tognoni and his guitar have been treading the stages worldwide for the past 35 years. He has opened for the greats – Roy Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s mentor Lonnie Mack, Joe Walsh from the Eagles, shared stages with Peter Green, Sting, ZZ Top, Bo Diddley.
Rob Tognoni has represented Australia at the Royal Wedding celebrations of Prince Frederik & Princess Mary of Denmark, performed for FIFA World Cup Football in Kaiserslautern, played from maximum security prisons in Australia to Mozart’s House in Vienna plus countless other experiences that have honed his skills.
Rob is originally from Tasmania, Australia and goes under the pseudonym of “The Tasmanian Devil”. His style is fiery, energetic, inventive and explosive. His roots are from blues, blues rock & classic rock but also adding many other colours to the palate to give him his sound & uniqueness.
Rob is also energetic & physical on stage, a performer & not just a musician. Echos of Cream, Hendrix, BB King, AC/DC can be heard woven through his musical fabric 20 albums over the past 22 years are to his credit through labels such as Provogue, Dixiefrog, Blues Boulevard coupled with countless, tireless tours.
“You have to admire Rob Tognoni’s stamina. He is able to sustain a ferocious pace, few could manage it…Perhaps his stamina is the consequence of 30 years conditioning. Perhaps it’s natural selection…”
Blues In Britian Magazine