March 10 2017 – Award-winning Canadian bluesman Steve Strongman returns with an intoxicating shot of electrified blues with his latest album No Time Like Now available today March 10, 2017 (Sonic Unyon Records/Sony Music Canada). The 10-track collection is a shout-out to a lifelong love of blues from roughhewn electric, blue-collar hollers, swampy stompers, soulful groovers, and hushed heartfelt ballads.
We have an autographed version of No Time Like Now to give away to one of our lucky readers. To enter simply email contests (at) tmakworld (dot) com and include your name and mailing address in the body of the email – also put STRONGMAN on the subject line so we know which contest you are entering. Good luck – winner selected March 17 2017.
Strongman’s break-through 2012 release ‘A Natural Fact’ was hailed as a standout, earning Maple Blues Awards for Recording, Song-writer and Guitarist Of The Year, in addition to a 2013 JUNO Award for Blues Recording of the Year. In 2014 he was thrice-nominated for Maple Blues Awards (Guitar Player, Electric Act and Entertainer of the Year), and in 2015 received a second JUNO nomination for Blues Album of the Year (for Let Me Prove It To You).
We had the privilege of asking Steve a few questions to celebrate the release:
1) Thanks for taking the time for us. No Time Like Now is the name of the new record dropping March 10th. Why is there no time like now?
Thanks for having me! No Time Like Now refers to the excitement that I’ve been feeling with regards to this record. I feel it’s an artist’s job to continue to push boundaries within any given genre, and I think I’ve done that. I’m thrilled to release this record and get it out into the world.
2) Who else is playing with you on the album?
I have fantastic musicians on this record. It was produced by Rob Szabo, who has produced my last three recordings. Rob also plays some bass on it, as well as Alec Fraser. Drums were split between Dave King and Adam Warner, and I played all guitars and did all vocals. Jesse O’Brien plays piano. I’m lucky to have Randy Bachman guest on my version of his classic tune “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”. When I got in touch with Randy to send him the song, he loved it right away. I was really pleased that he was able to play on the track.
3) What is the state of the Blues as a musical genre these days?
I think that the blues genre is being re-invented. To me, everything I hear has blues influences, no matter what the genre. The definition of what is considered “blues” is being broadened. In the traditional sense, blues hasn’t had much help in the way of commercial success, but I think a lot of bands that have had commercial success draw from classic blues artists for inspiration, and that continues to create more awareness.
4) As much of the best rock of the 70’s was deeply steeped in the blues, do you see any new bands carrying on that tradition?
Absolutely. I think many current rock bands could be classified as blues bands. That’s how classic bands like Zeppelin and the Stones, Cream all started. It’s the same with bands like the Black Keys, or The Heavy, or the Black Crowes, or many others – the blues influence is a thread through so many different styles.
5) What are some of the guitars you play with and do you have a particular favourite?
I love Gibson guitars — I believe they are the best guitars ever made. My favorite is the ES- 335. It has the widest range of tones that I need to express myself. You can get any sound you’ll ever need out of that instrument. I also love Les Pauls, and in the studio I used my ’59 Les Paul re-issue a lot.
6) You will be on the road soon, how do you feel about live shows in general? I find that a nice blues record is a great listen at home but the live experience elevates that even more.
I totally agree. In this digital world it’s paramount to remember there is nothing like being there live. Live performance is the corner stone of everything I do. Every time I step onstage I try and connect on an emotional level with the audience. I hope people feel that honesty and intensity when I play.
7) I was just in Austin Texas where it is rather easy to walk downtown and pop into a small dive and hear some killer blues, which led me to think its actually quite remarkable that Canada is producing high quality music of that genre as well. I say that because for me the image of the Blues is deep down south in the States. How did you get into the Blues yourself?
I fell in love with blues via some classic rock bands. I grew up in Kitchener, Ontario, and there was a blues club where classic blues touring acts would come and play. I used to sneak in there and catch some killer guitar players. Mel Brown, Ronnie Earl, and Duke Robillard. I met Mel Brown (Bobby Bland) and spent a great deal of time with him — he was a mentor to me. I agree that the image of blues in people’s minds is that of the South, and it’s true that it’s an American art form, but we all wear our influences on our sleeve, and anything I do is steeped in that tradition. I believe that as long as your honest and passionate with your music, it doesn’t matter where you come from.