Here’s a collection of songs from the last 15 or so years. These are songs I am still mostly happy with and ones that seem to often get requested or mentioned. With Dolly Varden’s 20th anniversary in May and my 50th birthday in April, I have found it worthwhile to reflect a bit on the work I’ve done and to contemplate what to do next with songwriting and performance. This album is a result of sifting through my songs and recordings. It is only available as an album download, not as individual tracks. I hope you will enjoy the collection and that you will share it with others. – Steve, June 1, 2015
Gearing up for the 20th anniversary of Dolly Varden. The band actually started more like 22 years ago as Stump The Host broke up. After being told by everyone from guys on the street to A&R reps at PolyGram records that Stump was just too “twangy,” Diane and I thought we’d try making a rock band. Bad timing! 1992 and 93 were the years that “country” rock (Jayhawks, Uncle tupelo) was actually popular! Oh, well. We tried with the able assistance of Lisa Wertman on bass and Matt Thobe on drums. Mark Balletto joined sometime in 93, and we played in town, did a bit of touring and called ourselves Dolly Varden. I never really connected with the music we were making, though. We recorded an EP in 94 that was never released. Diane’s songs were the best of the bunch. I decided to go back to writing and singing the way I knew best: with some folk / country narrative, acoustic guitar accompaniment, and honesty instead of attitude. It felt right. Lisa left around this time. It was an amicable split and we’re still friends. We recruited Mike Bradburn from the Andersons to play bass and in 1995 we began recording “Mouthful of Lies” in our home studio. That’s when I reconnected with the music and the heart and soul of Dolly Varden was born, particularly marked by the song, “Not Ashamed,” which appears to be about a relationship but might just be about playing music from the heart.
Dolly Varden 20th Anniversary ConcertSaturday, May 2nd, 8pm
Old Town School Of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago