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Since I Saw You Last

Steve Howell

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Album Review

There was a time when "acoustic guitar" brought to mind a duo or trio of musicians gently strumming away and creating sleepy folk music. This is the complete opposite approach of what acoustic guitar picker/singer Steve Howell specializes in — an uptempo, fun style that manages to incorporate elements of blues and the U.S. south, as evidenced throughout his 2010 offering, Since I Saw You Last. Having played alongside a variety of musicians since the '70s, it wasn't until the early 21st century that Howell finally set out on his own, resulting in what is his third solo effort overall (and third in a four-year span). Specializing in what is best described as a familiar yet charming style, Since I Saw You Last will appeal to fans of blues and rootsy folk — especially such tunes as "Red Cadillac & Black Moustache," "I Won't Cry," "Wild About My Lovin'," and a cover of "Farmer John." After hearing Since I Saw You Last, you get the sense that penning memorable folk-blues tunes comes quite easy for the talented Mr. Howell.

Customer Reviews

River Of Life

Sometimes the songs chosen are almost as important as the way the music is played. A sharp musician can scour the catalogues from the past and find such inspiring choices an album is halfway home right there. Steve Howell has a uncanny eye for finding selections that jump right off the disc. Whether it's something by Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Mance Lipscomb, Johnny Adams, Buddy Johnson or any of the other artists covered here, he has a way of putting his own soul into the music and bringing it to vivid new life. It would be easy, though, to interpret these as museum pieces, which would miss the point entirely. Early blues and country music were ways people connected before the advent of instant communication. Records and radio were almost like magic when they first appeared, and listeners were brought together in that shared experience like had never happened before. On Howell's third album, "Since I Saw You Last," it seems like we are being assembled again. The emotions in this music are what hold humans in common sway, and no matter how far we stray into technological wonderland, there will never be a replacement for a song like "Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache" or "Crawlin' King Snake." There is just something so elemental in what is expressed, it is like air itself. There is no way to live without it, so don't bother trying. Credit to Steve Howell, too, for how he makes these albums. Between using the finest players around along with vintage equipment that captures every nuance they play and sing, the musicians are working in the glow of a tradition we won't likely see again. Listen while we can, and know what is being passed along is like the river of life itself. - Sonic Boomers (Bentley's Bandstand)

Since I Saw You Last, Steve Howell
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