For whatever reason – easier downloading, streaming, marketability, short attention spans, indie artists these days are too often encouraged to limit themselves to recording five track EPs. Over the past few years, veteran Americana artist, songwriter and first call session player Steve McCormick bided his time, releasing three EPs (The Tripping Years, The Laws of Love and We Speak In Tongues) that were as impactful as short collections can be. Now gathered as the epic 15 track masterwork Stars and Chandeliers (his sixth full length set overall), it’s like the multi-talented singer and guitarist has fully unleashed a full range of tenderness and fury on us, laying everything on the line and daring us to absorb every drop of emotion he’s got as he genre hops under the broad “Americana” umbrella.
He runs a wide gamut, putting his own twist on country, bluegrass, New Orleans funk and jazz and gritty blues while alternating his acoustic and electric guitar from stark finger-picking to fiery rock/soul. Besides his ability to shift his vocals from guttural and gritty to soulful and ethereal depending on the mood of the tune, McCormick alters moods quickly and naturally (contrast the Chicago style blues of “Early in the Morning” with his gentle caress of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor”). He has some incredible veteran collaborators like drummer Richie Hayward, pedal steel player Eric Haywood and harmonica master Stanley Behrens), but takes care of business himself on Hammond B3, Rhodes, piano, mandolin and banjo, drums and percussion. After too long experiencing pieces and parts of McCormick’s powerful musical vision, it’s exciting to see him shine his fullest and brightest on the aptly titled Stars and Chandeliers.