Steve Louw

Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician, Steve Louw, active since 1984, is recognised as one of the most respected and accomplished talents in the South African music industry. Headlight Dreams, produced by Kevin Shirley, was released in May 2021.

Steve Louw, August 2021 | credit: Jacqui van Staden

Get Out Of My Heart

I like the opening line: “I’d rather walk than drive another mile with you.” Two people who can’t figure out if they love or hate each other, or both . . . It’s different to all the other songs but the in-your-face vocal, acoustic guitar riff and weird time signature sucks you into their personal mayhem.

I only had the “get out of my heart” line when I started writing this song, singing along to power chords and a Bo Diddley-type beat, and later wrote the verses. I thought of the song as a rocker and a cry in the dark. We played it that way live and it went down well but I felt the song was too linear for the lyric and I put it aside.

About a week before going into the studio I tried playing and singing the chorus in a different time signature and suddenly the song took on the mood of the lyric, which is pretty dark – and the story came into stark relief. Once we got the time signature nailed down in the studio I found I could sing the lyrics with the space it needed. I love the sound of the vocal.

Steve Louw

Get Out Of My Heart

I’d rather walk than drive another mile with you
More dead than alive, I need room to move
To get you out of my heart, won’t you let me be
Right from the start, you let me bleed
Keep you out of my heart
Keep you out of my mind
Since we’ve been apart
I can see I was blind

No way of knowing if this turns out bad or good
Got to get going, I’m heading for the woods
Keep you out of my heart
Keep you out of my mind
Since we’ve been apart
I can see I was blind

You set me free, and I keep crawling back
Only thing that we do, stay on this one-way track
Keep you out of my heart
Keep you out of my mind
Since we’re apart
I can see I was blind

I’m lying across this cold empty bed
I’m not feeling lost, I’m sleeping like the dead
First time since the start that I got peace of mind
Stay out of my heart
For the last time
Keep you out of my heart
Keep you out of my mind
Since we’ve been apart
I can see I was blind

Headlight Dreams

Released 7th May 2021. Produced by Kevin Shirley.

Steve Louw - Headlight Dreams, 7th May 2021
Steve Louw – Headlight Dreams, 7th May 2021

Headlight Dreams is the first international solo release by South African singer-songwriter Steve Louw. Helmed by internationally renowned producer Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes) and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with top local musicians, the album sees Steve exploring new ground as a songwriter as he addresses issues near to his heart. Headlight Dreams sees Steve return to the studio after a seven-year break with a new set of songs and fresh musical inspiration.

Says Steve, “I’d taken an 8000-km motorcycle journey around Southern Africa and a lot of that space and time seeped into these songs. After weeks of riding I started to see things in slow motion and hyperspeed at once and I became mesmerised by the landscape. “I built the songs around my voice and the acoustic guitar so that the listener would be drawn into a journey through broken open landscapes, seeing images in the peripheral half- light while mesmerised by beams of light . . . time passing, slowing, stopping, speeding, with shadows playing just outside of the picture frame.”

Rough Trade


  1. Crazy River (3:36)
  2. Wind In Your Hair (4:09)
  3. Don’t Wait (4:01)
  4. Train Don’t Run (7:33)
  5. Seven Roses (4:45)
  6. Get Out Of My Heart (4:08)
  7. The Lost And Found (2:56)
  8. Headlight Dreams (5:13)
  9. Heavy Weather (3:07)
  10. Queen Bee Maybe (4:34)

All songs composed by Steve Louw.


  • Steve Louw: vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Rob McNelley: electric guitars
  • Kevin McKendree: piano, Hammond organ
  • Alison Prestwood: bass guitar
  • Greg Morrow: drums and percussion
  • Joe Bonamassa: lead guitar on “Wind In Your Hair”


The song deals with how love changes and builds between two people as life throws up detours and bridges. It’s a love story exploring how two people who love each other but have different needs and desires travel through their life and love. The chorus always kicks back to the joy of love, but the verses take you through a journey of rough and smooth roads and winding passes – and ends at the place they set out for.

I love the way the acoustic guitar opens the song and then the band kicks in with that great tom fill. US guitar legend Joe Bonamassa was in the studio and played a killer solo as he heard the track for the first time.

Steve Louw

We wanted to do a road trip movie which takes you into a world of freedom, beauty and wide open spaces.

We also wanted the images to relate back to the chorus lyric

“ When I look down the road
   I see you standing there
   With the sunlight on your face
    And the wind in your hair”

and to capture the feeling of love and longing on the road ahead, the sense of wonder not knowing where the road leads, or what is waiting up around the bend.

Steve Louw

I once took a long canoe trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon and out again. It was a very spacy spiritual place and it felt like I was on a journey to the middle of the earth. I wrote this after the trip. On one level the song is about the river trip and the journey deep inside the raw power and beating heart of nature, but it also reflects on time, our time on Earth, how we experience it, and how the bonds of deep personal relationships with our fellow travellers nurture our souls. I played the acoustic guitar using a few African-style riffs and the band picked up on that feel. Guitarist Rob McNelley contributed beautiful slide guitar.

Steve Louw


Liner Notes




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