New Video: Get Out Of My Heart by Steve Louw, released 30 July 2021

The official video for “Get Out My Heart”, created by Jacqui van Staden

From the album “Headlight Dreams” available to stream/download at:


Dead Men Don’t Tour, Rodriguez in South Africa 1998 (TV Documentary)

This documentary was shown on South African Television this week, 20 years ago.

Footage from this documentary features strongly in the Oscar winning film, Searching For Sugar Man.

Dead Men Don’t Tour

Directed by Tonia Selley and featuring Big Sky, “Dead Men Don’t Tour”, was first broadcast on SABC 3 at 9.30pm on the 5th July 2001 just after ‘Ripley’s Believe Or Not’.

This film features wonderful concert footage, backstage antics, interviews with Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, Rodriguez and his family, the promoters, the fans and the musicians.

All live footage was filmed at the concerts in Pretoria, Durban and the Blues Room in Johannesburg.

The soundtrack for the documentary is based on the Live Fact CD with video collages from the various performances. The concert footage is linked with interviews, backstage antics, rehearsals, etc.

  1. I Wonder
  2. Inner City Blues
  3. Jane S. Piddy
  4. Sugar Man
  5. A Most Disgusting Song
  6. Like Janis
  7. Establishment Blues
  8. Climb Up On My Music
  9. I Wonder by Generation EXT (filmed during the studio recording)
  10. Forget It

Produced by Incha Productions
Executive producers: Georgina Parkin and Charles Watson
Directed by Tonia Selley
Edited by Cathy Winter

March 1998 (left-to-right): Willem Moller, Sixto Rodriguez, Tonia Selley, Steve Louw, Graeme Currie, Reuben Samuels, kneeling front: Russel Taylor
March 1998 (left-to-right): Willem Moller, Sixto Rodriguez, Tonia Selley, Steve Louw, Graeme Currie, Reuben Samuels, kneeling front: Russel Taylor

Big Sky presents Heart & Soul [DVD]

This live performance includes three original Steve Louw songs that have never been released as studio recordings: “Mama”, “Bound And Chained” and “Ten Men”.

Heart & Soul was recorded live at The Little Theatre, Cape Town on 31 October and 1 November 2008. Released on DVD in 2009 by Sony Music Entertainment, catalogue number: DVBSP3211. Recorded by Johan Griessel. Mixed by Neil Snyman. Directed by Glen Thomas and Mark Siebert. Staged by David Kramer.

Heart & Soul DVD
Heart & Soul DVD


  1. Pony Blues
  2. Strange Room
  3. Diamond Heart
  4. Around Again
  5. The Wind Blows
  6. Hell’s Gates
  7. Mama
  8. Bound And Chained
  9. Ten Men
  10. Black Sun
  11. Diamonds And Dirt
  12. Raise Up Your Hand
  13. Kathleen
  14. Mr. Green
  15. The Road Ahead
  16. Bye Bye Johnny
  17. Fade Away
  18. Bring The Night On
  19. One Cut With A Knife
  20. Waiting For The Dawn
  21. Take My Heart
  22. John The Revelator

All songs composed by Steve Louw except “John The Revelator” (Traditional)


  • Steve Louw: vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Willem Moller: electric and slide guitars
  • Tim Rankin: drums, percussion
  • Jacques Steyn: double bass, electric bass, mandolin
  • Simon Orange: keyboards, tea-chest bass
  • Rob Nagel: harmonica

Recorded live in front of a sell-out crowd at Cape Town’s historic Little Theatre. The show captures iconic South African songwriter Steve Louw and his band performing classic material from their other albums as well as previously unreleased songs.


Steve Louw, sanger van die groep Big Sky, is al vir 25 jaar een van die mees gerekende liedjieskrywers in die land. Die groep se langverwagte DVD, Heart & Soul het musiekliefhebbers in hul noppies.

Die Burger deur Theunis Engelbrecht

Illuminating Headlight Dreams

by Brian Currin, June 2021, originally appeared on

Back in early April 2021, I read a press release announcing a new album coming from Steve Louw and it included the video of a song called “Crazy River”. I loved the big open spaces this song evoked (and enhanced by the video) and the subtle African guitar sounds reminded me of early Johnny Clegg.

I first heard of Steve Louw in 1990 when the cassette version of the “Pop Shop 48” album featured the song “Waiting For The Dawn” by Big Sky as a bonus track. There is actually no real band called Big Sky, it is the name Steve Louw has used when he surrounds himself with the cream of the crop of American and South African musicians.

I first met Steve in March 1998, backstage at the first Rodriguez concert at the Bellville Velodrome, outside Cape Town. Steve and that year’s incarnation of Big Sky were a worthy support act. The rest of Big Sky (led by Steve’s old buddy since the seventies, Willem Möller) also backed Rodriguez for his set. That sold-out tour of South Africa is featured in the Oscar-winning film, “Searching For Sugar Man“.

Steve recorded two albums in the 80’s with his band All Night Radio, and then five albums as Big Sky between 1990 and 2008, as well as a compilation album, “Best Of The Decade” (in 1999), and a live concert DVD recorded over two nights in 2008.

And now he comes blasting back with his first solo album (well, technically) in 13 years. As in his Big Sky days, he has surrounded himself with some top players in their fields. So let’s drop a few names; “Headlight Dreams” was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Kevin Shirley, mastered by Bob Ludwig, liner notes by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (from AllMusic), and a guitar solo on “Wind In Your Hair” by one of my favourite guys from the more recent crop of Blues guitar-slingers, Joe Bonamassa.

Louw also brought in some of the best musos in Nashville, namely Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Alison Prestwood (bass), Rob McNelly (guitars) and Greg Morrow (drums). Steve Louw wrote all the songs and sings and plays acoustic guitar.

This album is filled with great songs, from the bluesy, lyrically hard-hitting “Get Out Of My Heart” to the bouncy “Queen Bee Maybe” with its delightful Hammond organ solo from Kevin McKendree, however my favourite track on this album is the almost proggish “Train Don’t Run”. Clocking in at seven and half minutes this is an epic tune that you hope never finishes. There is a soaring guitar solo by Rob McNelly that David Gilmour fans will love. No surprise to discover that this track was mixed on the same console as the classic “Dark Side Of The Moon“.

If you immerse yourself in the Steve Louw back-catalogue you will find recurring themes and reappearing characters, in a similar vein to Rodriguez, Piet Botha and many others. It is one of the things I love about listening to music, that there are rewards for paying extra attention.

This album can be played in the background, but if you give it your full awareness and dive into its depths you will be rewarded with poetic lyrics melded with great tunes, recorded by superb musicians.

Steve’s enthusiasm for life and love is expressed in every note in this superb creation. “Headlight Dreams” deserves to be listened to over and over again, and if you do, you will get something new every time.

Steve Louw on Social

Review: Steve Louw – Headlight Dreams

By Kerneels Breytenbach

(read original review in Afrikaans)

Steve Louw – Headlight Dreams

Old rockers never really retire; in fact if there’s still a flame burning in them they get better and better as the years go by. Steve Louw is such a rocker, and his new album, Headlight Dreams, is note-for-note proof. 

In each of the guises we’ve come to know Louw over the years he’s shown a desire to grow and move on from his previous incarnations. The journey from All Night Radio to Big Sky to this album captures a lifetime of musical inspiration. And this album doesn’t have any fillers.

The collaboration with guitar legend Joe Bonamassa on the track Wind in Your Hair is exciting news. The entire album is a guitar-driven affair, as can be expected from Louw, but when Bonamassa lets rip the notes reverberate through your skull.

His appearance is thanks to Louw’s friendship with his long-time producer, sound maestro Kevin Shirley. Shirley had just finished recording Bonamassa’s Royal Tea album at London’s Abbey Road Studios when he and Louw met up at a Nashville studio to start work on Headlight Dreams. In between Shirley was putting the finishing touches on Royal Tea, so when Bonamassa popped into the studio Louw grabbed the moment and asked him to play on Wind in Your Hair. The result is a pure joy. 

The songs on Headlight Dreams had their roots in a 8 000-km motorcycle trip Louw had undertaken across the length and breadth of South Africa. There are also references to trips across the US, along with introspection on the cruel, wonderful, crazy turns life sometimes takes. Louw says the motorcycle trip put him in a strange frame of mind, as if he was experiencing the open road and vast plains in slow and hyper motion at the same time.

Recorded in just three days in an old Nashville church building that had been converted into a studio, with Kevin Shirley behind the controls of a vintage Neve console, each track on the album is imbued with a warm, intimate sound. The combination of the building’s ambience and vintage equipment bring the best out of these recordings – just listen to the hard-hitting The Lost and Found.

Track by track 

Crazy River: About a boat trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, featuring an impressive blend of rock and typically South African guitar patterns. The slide guitar is by studio ace Rob McNelley.

Wind in Your Hair: This track featuring Joe Bonamassa is about the contours of a long relationship. Glorious music with an amazing solo by Bonamassa, who’d only ever heard the song once before. 

Don’t Wait: About thoughts experienced during a long road trip. The layered guitars have a lovely Tom Petty-feel and Louw’s vocal performance is among the best on the album.

Train Don’t Run: Louw is an ecology activist, as is clearly evident in the lyrics of this song. Excellent solo by McNelley.

Seven Roses: Heavenly rock with a tinkling piano; a buttkicking rocker that slides back into high gear every time it sounds as if Louw’s about to calm down.

Get Out Of My Heart: Can one ever understand love? I love the opening phrase: ‘I’d rather walk than drive another mile with you’ – after which Louw avoids her embrace. The ringing notes make one wonder if he ever did get that woman out of his system . . . 

The Lost and Found: Inspired by his experiences on a Greyhound bus trip across the US. The energy and sheer oomph of the music makes it one of my favourites. #u*+ it, this song cooks! 

Headlight Dreams: The first track recorded for the album. In a less frantic vein then The Lost and Found, yet the song gradually builds as Louw’s lyrics take in the contrasts between people, habits and their dangers. The multi-layered production includes guitars, organ and that welcome old sound of excellently recorded drums with each hit punching you in the stomach. Turn the volume up to eleven!

Heavy Weather: This song could be about the water crisis that hit Cape Town a few years ago. The music builds into a groovy boogie and McNelley’s guitar takes it to another level.

Queen Bee Maybe: There’s something of a swamp rock thing going on here. Louw says it was inspired by his attempts to remove a swarm of bees that had moved into the roof of his house – without getting stung. And just when you think the guitars are about to gather for a final showdown, Kev McKendree interrupts with a sweating, crying Hammond B3 solo, before letting the guitars finish the deal.

I absolutely love this album. I just hope we don’t have to wait another seven years before the next one – Louw should continue to travel and bring us the sounds they inspire!

Steve Louw – Headlight Dreams

Ou rockers raak nooit werklik stil nie. As hulle die ou vlam nog binne in hulle voel brand, raak hulle net beter met die jare. Steve Louw is een van hulle. Sy nuwe album, Headlight Dreams, bewys dit, noot vir noot.

In al die gedaantes waarin ons hom deur die jare leer ken het, het Louw met elke sprong vorentoe gebeur, en verbeter op sy vorige inkarnasies. Van All Night Radio na Big Sky na hierdie album het hy ’n lewe van musikale besieling vasgevang. En hierdie keer is daar geen snitte waarop hy die pas markeer nie.

Uiteraard sal die samewerking met die legendariese kitaarspeler Joe Bonamassa meeste mense laat regop sit. Die snit is “Wind in Your Hair”. Die hele album is kitaar-gedrewe, soos mens van Louw verwag – maar wanneer Bonamassa inklim, galm die note dwarsdeur mens se skedel.

Bonamassa se deelname geskied danksy Louw se vriendskap met die klank-maestro Kevin Shirley. Shirley het pas in Londen se Abbey Road-ateljees die opnames van Bonamassa se Royal Tea-album hanteer, en is toe na Nashville saam met Steve Louw, om Headlight Dreams op te neem. Shirley moes terselfdertyd laaste retouching doen vir Royal Tea, en Bonamassa moes laaste toevoegings bylas. Net daar slaan Louw toe, en praat Bonamassa om om op “Wind in Your Hair” te speel. Die resultaat is suiwer plesier.

Headlight Dreams se wortels lê in ’n baie lang road trip wat Louw op ’n motorfiets kruis en dwars deur Suid-Afrika onderneem het; daar is ook verwysings na reise in die VSA, asook die soort retrospeksie wat mens doen as jy nadink oor die wrede, wonderlike, waansinnige draaie wat jou lewenspad gemaak het. Louw sê sy motorfietsrit het hom in ’n vreemde skedelspasie geplaas, waar hy op die langpad deur die vlaktes dinge tegelyk in slow motion en hyperspeed beleef het.

Opgeneem in die bestek van drie dae in ’n ou kerkgebou in Nashville, met Kevin Shirley agter die kontroles van ’n ou Neve-klankbank, word elke snit op die album omgeef deur ’n warmte van klank, ’n ander soort intimiteit as wat met digitale opnames geskep sou gewees het. Baie van die klank-kombinasies baat baie meer by die analoog-opnames. Luister maar hou daar gat geskop word op “The Lost and Found”

’n Kort kyk na al die snitte:

“Crazy River” – Oor ’n kanoe-rit op die Coloradorivier, met ’n indrukwekkende vermenging van rock met tipies Suid-Afrikaanse kitaarpatrone. Slide-kitaar deur Rob McNelley.

“Wind in Your Hair” – Die snit met Joe Bonamassa. Handel oor die kontoere van ’n lang liefdesverhouding. Verruklike musiek, en die solo van Bonamassa is absoluut amazing as jy in gedagte hou dat hy die liedjie net een keer vantevore gehoor het.

“Don’t Wait” – Oor die gedagtes wat opkom tydens ’n road trip – met ’n heerlike Tom Petty-gevoel in die lae en lae kitare. Louw se sang van die beste op die album.

“Train Don’t Run” – Louw is ’n ekologie-aktivis, wat hier baie duidelik spreek. Uitstekende solo deur Rob McNelley.

“Seven Roses” – Hemelse rock, tintelende klavierklanke en absolute gatskop rock elke keer net wanneer dit klink of Louw gaan kalmeer.

“Get Out Of My Heart” – Kan mens liefde ooit verstaan? Ek’s mal oor die openingsfrase, “I’d rather walk than drive another mile with you”, en daarna maak Louw hom skaars uit haar omhelsing in ’n liedjie waarin die hangende note ’n mens laat wonder of hy die vrou heeltemal uit sy gestel gekry het. Musiek en melodie wat baie lank in jou gemoed bly draai. Louw se sang van die beste wat ek hom nog ooit hoor doen het.

“The Lost and Found” – Geïnspireer deur sy ondervindinge tydens ’n Greyhound-reis in die VSA, en die energie en oemf van die musiek maak dit een van my gunstelinge. Hierdie liedjie kook, #o* it!

“Headlight Dreams” – Die eerste snit wat vir die album opgeneem is. Veel meer bedaard as “The Lost and Found”, maar dit bou stelselmatig op soos Louw se lirieke die kontraste tussen mense, gewoontes en gevaarlikhede opbou. Hier is baie lae musiek te hoor, van die kitare tot die orrel tot die ou-ou genot van tromme wat baie goed opgeneem is, sodat jy die slae op jou maag voel. Draai die volume oop tot by elf.

“Heavy Weather” – ’n Liedjie wat vermoedelik Kaapstad se waterkrisis van ’n paar jaar gelede in gedagte het. Die musiek ontwikkel in ’n lekker boogie en McNelley se kitaarspel lig ’n mens uit jou gestoelte.

“Queen Bee Maybe” – Daar is iets van ’n swamp=rock gevoel hier aan die gang. Louw vertel dat dit geïnspireer is deur ’n ondervinding wat hy gehad het toe bye in sy huis se dak ingetrek het, en die proses om die swerm ongeskonde uit te lok. En net wanneer ’n mens begin verwag dat die kitare gaan saamkom vir ’n sluitende magsvertoon, tree Kev McKendree na vore met ’n solo op die Hammond B3 wat sweet en skree. En daarna sluit die kitare die verrigtinge af.

Ek is heeltemal versot op hierdie album. Ek hoop nie daar gaan weer sewe jaar van stilte hierop volg nie – Louw moet meer gaan reis, en klank aangee na ons!

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