i n t h e p r e s s
It was The Austin Steamers – we had never heard of them before that night. Speaking with Sean Tracey during their break, I discovered that they had been doing a monthly gig there for some time – we just never happened to be there when they were playing. Sean told me this was their last night at Waterloo for a while – they were about to head for Alaska for an extended stay. After enjoying their sound so much, we were wishing we had discovered them much sooner.
The music on this, their only CD release, is a wonderful program of original material and carefully chosen songs by other writers they admire. ‘Old black crow’ and ‘Path of least resistance’, both Sean Tracey originals, are standouts, as are Joe Sundell’s ‘Dollar bill’ and Daniel Zeh’s ‘Hangdog’. Tracey’s ‘The only thing wrong’ is laced with self-deprecating humor without being trite or maudlin even for a moment. Among the covers, I’m especially fond of ‘Last letter home’, an Amazing Rhythm Aces song I’ve loved for years. Their version of ‘Freight train blues’ brings new life to an old standard. All four member sing, alternating lead and harmony vocals from song to song. Sean Tracey seemed to be the spokesman, at least on this night, but everyone shone on every tune, all having contributions to add, both instrumentally and vocally.
Larry Looney - No Depression
This four-piece delivers some of the best performances of original and traditional music done right with guitar, banjo, mandolin and stand-up bass. And while each member brings more than enough talent to launch into a bunch of solo sets to blow your mind, it’s the solid collaboration of these individuals that brings extraordinary magic to the performance.
-Laurie Gallardo, Austin Music Minute on KUT
As undeniably talented and seasoned as each member is individually, I believe the band exemplifies the true meaning of synergy---the band as a whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.
-Jami Hampton, Central Texas Bluegrass
Call it a mutual admiration society or simply common respect but these four gents have somehow carved out just enough musical space for each one’s own individualistic voice to be presented entirely within the collective, playing only to each others strengths and in so utilizing absolutely the finest things we like about acoustic American music, discarding all the chaff and useless sheen, leaving the listener nothing but a very satisfying crop of string band.
-Mark Rubin, Austin TX