Baltimore, United States
Steve Yanek is back with a new release and we loved the acoustic vibes that the track oozes. From the opening guitar lick of “I Could Use A Little Rain” you can hear the influence of artists such as the Eagles and Jackson Browne in an updated sound which is unique to this artist. This is a piece that is full of the rawness of heartfelt passion and vulnerability. A confession of a battered heart is showcased in the body of its lyrics. The execution of this track pulls you into the story. This artist is an undeniable story teller who articulated his messages clearly. Check out this except from the lyrics - "It used to be easier back when / My heart was stronger than the shape it's been in / Now it's like a well worn shield / Heavy armor in this battlefield". If you're someone who needs meaningful lyrical content as much as or more than you need the beat of a song then this track is a must!
Having impressed us at Number 1 in our Top 10 Acoustic tracks this week, we reached out to Steve Yanek to find out more about his movements!
Thanks so much for letting us interview you, so tell us about you, where are you based?
I live in a small Pennsylvania town about 20 minutes west of Harrisburg. It’s really a great location that is close to a lot of major music centers - ninety minutes to Baltimore, two hours to Philadelphia and three hours to New York City! As an added bonus, we have the Appalachian Trail in our backyard – literally – which I’ve found over the years is really great for my creative process. I love hiking in the quiet of nature as much as I enjoy a slice of Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village – and I’ve done both in the same day!
That's so cool! So, when did you realise that you were an artist? Was there a specific time in your life when you thought, yeah music is my thing?
I bought my first guitar when I was 13, and I was writing songs and singing melodies into a cassette player for at least a year before that.
Where did you find your inspiration to create the track?
For me, the pandemic has been a period of deep reflection, and this was the first song I wrote after lockdown hit us. We had lost Adam Schlesinger and John Prine to COVID-19 within a week of each other, and that just completely hammered me. It was such a crazy, scary and uncertain period of time and David Crosby’s CPR song “Time Is The Final Currency” was just on repeat in my head every time I went out for a hike on the trail with my wife, there’s a line in the beginning of the song, “Time is the final currency, not money, not power / The time will come when you will give anything for one more hour,” that I’ve always loved, but it hit me in a way it never had before. I had been talking to Jeff Pevar (The “P” in CPR) about hooking up in the studio on his east coast leg of Crosby’s tour that coming June and finally finishing a project we started years earlier, and when the tour was canceled Jeff and I decided to work on it remotely. Which in turn, led to my upcoming full-length album, “Long Overdue,” which will be released in late June.
All these events happening the way they did inspired a whole new wave of creativity like I haven’t experienced in a long time. Plus, I discovered Spotify, and In addition to Long Overdue, there will be another full-length album called “September,” coming out in January of 2023 that will include I Could Use A Little Rain and the three other singles I’ve been releasing digitally. My intent with that project is to continue releasing it digitally as singles and then “waterfall” the songs into a ten-song album.
When creating the track, who were your biggest artistic influences?
I was deep into John Hiatt’s music when I wrote I Could Use A Little Rain. His album, “The Eclipse Sessions,” had been in steady rotation for me since it came out in 2018, and I was binging heavily on all things “Hiatt” at the time I wrote this track in 2019. When I started tracking the song in the studio, it reminded me of a lot of the songs I wrote in my twenties when I lived in LA and out came the Telecaster and a touch of the Eagles in the production.
What motivates you to create?
Life. Writing songs has been a constant in my life for so long that I couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s as essential to me as breathing.
When is your favorite time of day to create?
From 3 AM to 6 AM. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve never needed a lot of sleep, and when I’m in a creative zone I will be in my studio every morning at 3. I’ve always loved the quiet of the pre-morning morning. This goes back to when I was a gigging musician, and I would be getting home around 2 or 3 AM and I’d be up writing until the sun came up!
It doesn't sound crazy to me at all, I find my own creativity sparks at times when realistically we should be sleeping. How do you define success as an artist?
Monetizing art is subjective. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime and lived in poverty. Whereas Picasso was very successful and lived like a rock star for most of his adult life. Both were game-changers, and today their paintings are worth over $100M. To me they were equally successful.
How do you develop your artistic skills?
By doing it again and again and again! No different than exercising. For me songwriting, singing, playing an instrument are all like muscles that need to always be in use.
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
For sure. It’s my Zen. My songs are like a timeline journal of navigating life and creating new music is something that I always look forward to doing. I’m never without several song ideas bouncing around in my head and when I write what I think is a good song I’ll be in a good mood for several days lol!
What are your ultimate career goals?
Crazy as it may sound, I absolutely love the streaming platform! The potential for exposure for an independent artist is far greater than it ever was prior to streaming. And if you own your publishing there’s several different avenues for creating revenue streams. My goal is to continue recording, releasing, and promoting my music. Now that restrictions are easing up from the pandemic, I intend on getting out and performing live on a regular basis as I begin my transition back to music over the next few years.
How do you collaborate with other artists?
On my upcoming album, Long Overdue, and on 2005’s Across The Landscape, it’s total collaboration with other musicians, and this process can be very magical at times, especially when you’re working with musicians the caliber of Jeff Pevar, Billy Payne (Little Feat) and Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp). All masters at their craft! With each one bringing something special to my songs – taking them places I could not.
On the other hand, with I Could Use A Little Rain and the other nine tracks that will be rolled up into the “September” album I am singing all the parts and playing all the instruments – it’s my nod to artists like Emitt Rhodes and Paul McCartney. And my family and close friends are the sounding board, which can be a collaboration in itself at times!
What are your future plans? What can we look forward to for the rest of 2022?
Long Overdue will be out by the end of June, and I’m very excited about that project! There are ten songs on it. All of them produced by Jeff Pevar, with most of the recording done remotely in each of our personal studios. September will follow with digital single releases throughout the rest of 2022 of the remaining six songs. I’ve also begun work on what will be an ongoing archive project of several unreleased albums. Slowly going through the process of having old multi-track masters digitized and sifting through what usable tracks I have and re-recording the parts. My goal is to release these albums chronologically.
Seriously, I cannot wait to hear more from you, there's a real element of rawness in the feel of your music. We wish you all the best and hope to catch you again soon!