Steve Louw

Thunder And Rain, produced by Kevin Shirley, released on 11th November 2022.
Thunder And Rain, produced by Kevin Shirley, released on 11th November 2022.

Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician, Steve Louw, active since 1981, is recognised as one of the most respected and accomplished talents in the South African music industry.

Thunder And Rain, produced by Kevin Shirley, released on 11th November 2022.

Steve Louw – I’ll Be Back

I had old traditional Country songs, like “Long Black Veil” in mind when I wrote, “I’ll be Back”.

It’s essentially an acoustic song in its structure, story, and heart, but recorded in the context of drums and electric guitar, with a great Hammond solo by Kevin McKendree.

The acoustic guitar riff, doubled with Doug Lancio’s great mandolin playing, is the song’s beating heart and sets up the verse, the chorus, and the narrative.

I think of “I’ll be Back” as a modern folk song. Its story of the triangle of deceived husband, star-crossed lovers, and murder is one that keeps playing out through centuries.

The acoustic instrumentation sets the backdrop for the song, one of dusty plains, small-town intrigue, and broken love. 

Steve Louw
Steve Louw – Mother, Don’t Go featuring Joe Bonamassa.

Louw celebrates the restorative, nourishing love on “Mother, Don’t Go,” an insightful, insistent tune graced by guitar wizard Joe Bonamassa, who brings out the song’s incandescent spirit as he intertwines his playing with that of Doug Lancio, a guitarist who has just entered Louw’s orbit.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine

In 2020 I had been in my home on our farm for more than six months when I made the trip to Cape Town. I had been playing the only guitar that I had with me, an old acoustic. In town, I traded with my buddy, Willem Moller, for a beautiful 1964 Epiphone Casino.

When I got home, I took the Casino out of its case, and the first thing I played on it was the riff on “Mother, Don’t Go”. The riff took me to the lyric, to the beauty of a mother’s love. It’s a simple song, and its simplicity celebrates the joy and longing for unconditional, selfless love.

Steve Louw
Steve Louw | credit: Jacqui Van Staden
Steve Louw | credit: Jacqui Van Staden

Steve Louw: “If you can’t just say it, what’s the point?” – interview | Louder Than War

By Nils van der Linden

As Steve Louw releases Thunder And Rain, his second album in as many years, he speaks to Nils van der Linden about finding inspiration in nature, facing his mortality, the power of keeping things simple, a life lived through music, and that one time he shared a stage with Beyoncé.

Steve Louw’s been a fixture of the South African music scene since the mid 1970s, first travelling between folk clubs in his Volkswagen Kombi to perform originals and blues covers on his 12-string Ibanez.

By 1986 he’d recorded two albums with the band All Night Radio. The first was produced by The Kinks collaborator John Rollo, secured after impressing The E Street Band’s Little Steven with a cassette of live recordings. The second was produced by Kevin Shirley, whose CV now includes Joe Bonamassa, Iron Maiden, The Black Crowes, and Led Zeppelin.

Inevitably All Night Radio broke up. “It was just too much touring, too much in the Kombi, too much together, too much fast food,” he laughs in a Cape Town coffee shop just around the corner from the studio where they’d recorded that first LP.

Louw continued, debuting his new band Big Sky with 1990’s Shirley-produced Waiting For The Dawn. Its title track became an anthem of hope and reconciliation at a time of political transformation at the southern tip of Africa and paved the way for and an ongoing creative partnership with Shirley, several more albums, and multiple hit singles.

Read the full interview at Louder Than War

Interview: Steve Louw Weathers “Thunder And Rain” | Americana Highways

Steve Louw photo by Jacqui Van Staden
Steve Louw photo by Jacqui Van Staden

Hannah Means Shannon

Steve Louw Weathers Thunder and Rain

South African artist Steve Louw recently released his second solo album, Thunder and Rain, building on his 2021 collection, Headlight Dreams. For Louw these are both new ventures and a return to very familiar territory since he’s a lifelong songwriter and musician. He made two records with his band, All Night Radio, in the 1980s, and became more well known as the leader of the band Big Sky, releasing five albums and becoming a major fixture in South African Rock music. Louw released his final album of that era in 2008 and returned to music in 2021 taking a singer/songwriter approach and teaming up with friends old and new in the process.

On Thunder and Rain, Louw recorded in Nashville with Grammy-nominated keyboardist Kevin McKendree, guitarist Rob McNelley, bassist Alison Prestwood, and drummer Greg Morrow, with Doug Lancio serving multi-instrumentalist. Joe Bonamassa also joined in. It was producer and old friend Kevin Shirley who had convinced Louw to record again, and he brought his magic to this latest effort as well. While Headlight Dreams explored themes surrounding life’s journey, Thunder and Rain is comprised of songs written almost entirely during the pandemic period, so handle some more emotionally raw content. However, the core of the album is clearly about human beings and the storms that we weather in relationships and in society.

I spoke with Steve Louw, in what turned out to be his first interview about his solo work for American readers, about returning to recording, his approach to capturing songs, and the themes that caught his attention for Thunder and Rain.

Americana Highways: It hasn’t been that long since your first solo album came out. Were you already working on this collection by the time it was released?

Steve Louw: Yes, a lot of these songs were written during the lockdown period, when things were pretty severe. This album was then recorded in early 2022, this year. I wrote all the songs in that period between March 2020 and March 2022. I had plenty of time! It was great. My wife and I have quite a remote cabin in nature, and we were there for months at a time. It was a good place for songwriting.

AH: What sort of natural surroundings did you have?

SL: It’s on the sea. It looks very similar to Big Sur, with cliffs plunging to the sea and then a mountain range very close to the sea, so it has high rainfall and a lot of trees. There’s a lot of bird life and animals. I found myself talking to the animals. [Laughs]

AH: I heard that for Headlight Dreams, some of it was recorded in Nashville, just like this album.

SL: Yes, it was recorded in the same studio, and with pretty much the same band. With Headlight Dreams, there’s another guitar player. But there’s the same crew, producer, engineer, and the same room. We managed to do them both in three days each. As long as everyone knows what they are doing, it’s basically a performance.

Read the full interview on Americana Highways

Steve Louw Shares his Creative Process | 15 Questions

From 15 Questions

“Songwriting? It’s like being a sounding board for spirits.“

Name: Steve Louw
Nationality: South African
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, guitarist
Current release: Steve Louw’s Thunder and Rain is out via BFD / The Orchard.

If you enjoyed this interview with Steve Louw and would like to stay up to date with his music, visit his official website. He is also on Instagramtwitter, and Facebook.  

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration, like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc., play?    

It’s what I love to do; it’s the beauty of creating something out of nothing. It’s an unconscious process, channelling what you’ve seen, heard, and felt and reflecting it back to others differently.

It’s like being a sounding board for spirits.

For you to start, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a ‘visualization’ of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

I always try to let the song find me rather than looking for the song, so no, I am down on the chance side of the scale.

If something good comes in, a riff or a phrase, I will zone in on that and try to build it.

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way? For example, do you need to do research or create early versions?

I like to be around my own space, with a couple of instruments lying around, maybe different guitars with different tunings. Fretting and playing around in a new tuning or a different key using a capo can create strange chords which can get you to another place or lead you onto a new path. It can make a song take on a whole new feel.

On the song “Train Don’t Run”, off my last album, Headlight Dreams, that happened.

I was in Vancouver without a guitar, so I bought a small travel-size guitar with a unique voice. When I returned to my hotel room, I put a capo on it and played high up on the neck; it led me to the riff and chorus of that song.

Read full article at 15 Questions

Steve Louw is Back!

Thunder And Rain

Cape Town, 11 November 2022 Ramping up after the release of the singles “Thunder and Rain” and “Mother, Don’t Go” (Feat. Joe Bonamassa), today sees the announcement of Steve Louw’s latest album, Thunder and Rain and a third stellar single, “I’ll Be Back”, lifted from this powerful 10-track, Kevin Shirley-produced album.

The interplay on Thunder and Rain is often subtle, yet it’s undeniably soulful, the songs benefiting from the easy turns of phrases and chord changes. Steve conveys these emotions through strength on “I’ll Be Back”, a song where acoustic guitars give the track a steady, windblown propulsion, one that muscles through on the chorus – he’s a man on a mission, one dedicated to the task at hand.

As with 2021’s Headlight Dreams album, 2022’s Thunder and Rain, besides Steve and Joe, is flush with talent. From Greg Morrow on drums, Rob McNelley on guitar and Slide Dobro, Doug Lancio on guitar and mandolin, Kenny Greenburg on guitar, Alison Prestwood on bass guitar and Kevin McKendree on keyboards, amongst others, Thunder and Rain is as impressive in lyrics and compositions as it is in heavyweight genii, all adding multiple layers of arresting accompaniment.  

Recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, “I’ll Be Back” is a mantra and an equally powerful promise. While the next chapter preps and fine-tunes, enjoy embracing and sharing the brand-new album’s nine remaining bolts of lightning that brighten and charge a body of work world worthy.

Listen to “I’ll Be Back” from Thunder and Rain, here 

Out now via BFD/The Orchard.

Publisher – Slosongs/Sony Music Pub.

Composer – Steve Louw

Steve Louw – Thunder And Rain

Thunder and Rain, the album, is out now. 

Watch the official video for “I’ll Be Back”

Steve Louw – I’ll Be Back

Follow and share Steve Louw’s journey via:

Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram | Spotify | iTunes

For more information, artwork and interview opportunities, contact:

Jason Curtis – jason@matters.co.za

Steve Louw | Interview | New Album, ‘Thunder and Rain’ | It’s Psychedelic Baby

South African rocker Steve Louw will release sophomore album, ‘Thunder and Rain,’ November 11th, 2022 via BFD / The Orchard.

The album was produced by Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Robert Cray Band, the Black Crowes) and features contributions from guitar wizards Joe Bonamassa, and Doug Lancio. Bonamassa is featured on the second single ‘Mother Don’t Go.’

‘Thunder and Rain’ follows hot on the heels of ‘Headlight Dreams’ the 2021 album that found Steve Louw returning to active duty after a thirteen-year absence. After this prolonged period away from the spotlight, Louw discovered an audience who was eager to hear new music from the singer/songwriter.

Steve Louw | Photo by Jacqui Van Staden
Steve Louw | Photo by Jacqui Van Staden

Read the full article at It’s Psychedelic Baby

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