Those who give credence to astrology and the like believe that the New Moon offers a time for new beginnings, and after a challenging but successful rehearsal with my band the other night, I am excited about this new beginning. I started playing with Paul Lewis and Ray Istorico a few years ago, but with the recent addition of Martha Robinson, I feel that we are finding our groove. In addition to providing vocal harmonies, as Paul does also while playing his stand up bass, giving each song a much fuller sound, Martha has also expressed interest in doing more of the booking, a task which will work wonderfully for all involved since historically it is not been one of my strong suits, and because she has much bigger balls than me when it comes to asking for money.
For my part, I want to connect more greatly with the songs and to the people who will enjoy them. Since I’ve come up with four set-lists fusing a variety of catchy renditions of beloved favorites and my own original songs, I want to address why I’ve chosen each song, what it means to me, and how it plays into the greater message I’m hoping to share through the artistry of my life. My hope for this endeavor is to cultivate a fan base who gets what I’m trying to do and also to inspire more content for each performance as the show continues to evolve.
With Martha taking a greater role in the marketing of the shows, in order to help her market her own work, we’ve decided to name the current iteration of the performance as “White Diamond Creative presents Steve McAlphabet and the Wandering Soul Band”. While Steve McAllister is a great name for an author (or so I’ve been told), my books aren’t exactly flying off of the shelves, and since all of my social media platforms are already set to @SteveMcAlphabet and my website is www.stevemc.xyz, I feel that Steve McAlphabet (which my friend Kristen first called me a few years ago at a Novus House potluck dinner) is much more marketable as a performer. And while I’ve always envisioned the Wandering Soul Band to consist of whichever musicians I can get to play with me wherever in the world I might be able to play, I think the current lineup is a great foundation, and I can’t wait for audiences to hear us.
The first song in the first set is “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. While many of the songs I choose to learn are about the message they have to share, this one was included largely because I’ve always loved the song and thought it would be a challenge for me to learn how to play it percussively to make up for the fact that I may not always have a drummer to perform the iconic drum fill the song is known for. I also thought it would be a good way to draw listeners into the rest of the show.
There is a myth that Collins wrote the song after seeing a man watching another man drowning and doing nothing about it, and even inviting the man to a show in order to shine a spotlight on him and call him out on his crime. Since my first question would be about why Collins didn’t just help the drowning man himself, I’m glad that the story isn’t true. The song is actually about Phil’s divorce, which caused him to leave the band Genesis in order to work through his own issues on a solo project, the first single from which was “In The Air Tonight”.
For me, the song is more about divorcing myself from what I have been and opening to something bigger. While I have produced a few solo performances in the past, including “The Cowboy Cabaret”, and “Will Rogers Revived”, I’m much more excited about working with other artists to produce a more entertaining and engaging performance. While the song caused Phil Collins to leave his band, I think it has helped me to forge a stronger bond with mine.
In the future, I do envision reprising a version of “The Will Rogers Wandering Soul Road Show featuring The Cowboy Cabaret”, where I merged my two solo performances with Ray providing drums for the songs, I’m also looking forward to creating new performances from the songs we perform currently, what else they may inspire, and which audiences we connect with. Martha and I have discussed developing “The White Diamond Wandering Soul Road Show” as she learns to sing more songs and we manifest the ability to tour, and Paul and I have begun playing a few of his songs and working on some comedic banter. Regardless of which iteration of our performance audiences attend throughout our artistic evolution, it’s going to be a very entertaining show.
As this New Moon allows for the blank canvas of darkness in the sky and empowers the stars to shine more brightly, I can feel it coming in the air. In the air it comes tonight.