Track Premiere: Steve Noonan “Either Way”

Photo: Jesse Roesler

Steve Noonan is a former recording engineer for Prince, however Steve’s music is a blend of influences from postmodern British bands, ’70s songwriters, and Prince, himself.  During his tenure with Prince, Steve worked side by side with Prince, in studio, on Diamonds and Pearls, The Love Symbol album, and many other Paisley Park artists under Prince’s wing. Steve was first exposed to 1970s artists by his older brother. These were artists like Stephen Stills, Warren Zevon, Neil Young, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, etc. Steve then attended Berklee College of Music where he was exposed to British postmodern bands that defined the ’80s: The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen, and The Mighty Lemon Drops.  On ‘Either Way‘ we’d venture to suggest that the clearest influence from that list is Warren Zevon – which in anyone’s book is nothing but a good thing.

In 2009, Steve Noonan released a self-titled EP that made a mark in Minneapolis.  His subsequent release in 2012, ‘A Mile Long‘, represented a new level to Noonan’s music. Dustin Burnett produced the record, bringing in a bigger, fuller rock arrangement.  ‘I Could Be Anywhere‘, his 2015 release, was recorded in Nashville with Dustin Burnett producing and showcased Noonan’s evolving artistry within a harder edge using electric 12-string guitars in addition to acoustic 12-string guitars. Steve’s newest release, ‘Dreamland‘, produced by Chris Furst in Minnesota, was released in January, and it sees Steve’s aiming for a self-motivating optimism on themes of life including romanticism, choices, and the hurdles of communication.   Steve told Americana UK about his hopes for the album: “The whole album, Dreamland, comprises songs that I’ve written that seemed to have a running theme of sleep, waking up, dreaming, the fascinating elements of warped senses within dreams, sleeping too late, déjà vu—all that kind of mind-game stuff that comes with dreaming.  I dream a lot, so I had a lot of material to choose from!  Some of the songs I wrote a few years ago, many were newly written for this record, and a couple are older that hadn’t made my previous releases that I wanted to be heard in a full-blown production setting. Of course, the 12-string guitar is front and center on my music. When I first heard that instrument on older recordings, I connected with it right away. Chris Furst produced the album and recorded it in Ham Lake, MN.  Chris is a talented musician, engineer, and mixer.  The musicians that played on the record are all local Twin Cities cats, except for one Hawaiian guitarist.  We have a lot of musical talent here in MN. Tim Zhorne played drums, Matt McIntyre and Nick Salisbury played bass, Blair Krivanek and Josh Hearl played electric guitars, Jordan Hedlund and Tommy Barbarella played keys, Lauren Verhel and Elyse Jones sang harmonies, and I played all the 12-string acoustic and electric guitars. Chris Furst played a couple electric guitar parts, too.  I used Greg Reierson to master it; he always does a good job smoothing things out.  The artwork really fits the musical content, too, I think.  Jarilyn Fahrendorff designed it using photos from Jesse Roesler and a Tom Freund original digital watercolor. I’m proud of the whole package and I’m really glad people are digging the sound we put together!

Speaking of today’s song he added that “Either Way is a song I wrote that puts forth the the idea that you can’t sleep till noon everyday with no direction and expect to have things happen. You have to put effort into things, face the uphill battle and forge ahead.  There may be times when you falter or get nervous, but you have to get out there, leave the comfort of your own backyard and make it happen.  The video for Either Way is my idea of a throwback to the inserts of vinyl albums where the recording process is documented with still shots in the studio.  I used to love—and still do— those inside-looks, the album artwork, the credits of who played what instruments, where the recording studio was located, who engineered, etc.  That’s why I still like CDs and the resurgence of vinyl.  You get the whole package, not just a track streaming in your earbuds.  This video is sort of a three and half minute long, piece of album-artwork in video form!


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About Jonathan Aird 2053 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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