The Steve Eggs Band Are Back in Town
Fans of the Steve Eggs Band are celebrating the release of their latest critically acclaimed album Lazarus Lights. Undoubtedly their best CD yet it features a plethora of original material by singer/songwriter Steve Eggs and other members of the tight knit group that regularly wow audiences at live gigs.
When they made a post-Lock Down return to their favourite venue, the Oval Tavern in Croydon recently, they didn’t know quite what to expect. The guys had spent weeks in the recording studio rather than hideaway in splendid isolation. So it was a relief to find the pub packed, their new songs greeted with cheers and queues forming around the block demanding copies of their hot new CD.
Okay, slight exaggeration. There was a steady demand and no doubt that will increase once word spreads beyond South London to the far reaches of Scandinavia. Yes, their Swedish devotees leapt to their feet and roared their approval with Viking zeal when they descended on the Oval one memorable night. What would be nice is if the rest of the world also discovered the SEB and recognised its enormous potential.
ONE HORSE TOWN
Lazarus Lights can be viewed as a concept album. Steve Eggs explains that the songs deal with themes of despair and redemption, moods induced by the ordeal experienced by many artists and musicians during the long months of the Covid crisis.
But the music is far from gloomy. Quite the reverse, it’s also full of exuberance and renewed optimism. The SEB is graced by an exceptional band of brotherly musicians headed by Steve on lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars and his trusty Dylan-esque harmonica.
Jon Kershaw is their dynamic lead guitarist, whose playing imbues great power and intense excitement. The rhythm section of Peter Wass (vocals, bass and 12 string guitars) and Mark Taylor (drums and percussion) is perfectly suited to enhancing and adapting to the moods of a great variety of songs. Actually Peter and Mark are far more than a ‘section’ as they also contribute backing vocals and co-compose several of the songs.
The album was produced by studio boss Andy Brook, who also adds piano and keyboard backing to selected tracks. Menacing chords set the scene for opening number ‘One Horse Town’ which launches into a strident marching theme that supports Steve’s angry vocals as he describes growing up in an urban landscape seemingly without hope or prospects.
On the poignant ‘Same Old Shoes’ Steve discusses his need to find new challenges rather than suffer the mediocrity of life’s daily routine. A fanfare of guitars and harmonica greets the heartfelt lyrics that tell how on a typical Monday morning it seems like ‘It’s the same old me’ as the composer looks out the window at people rushing by ‘and no one is really going anywhere’. Although time is rushing by one day he will find a better way to survive. ‘It’s a long way down to where I’m going…some day I’m gonna hit the ground.’ There is new hope when Mr. Kershaw launches into a guitar wake up call.
A ticking clock heralds the minutes flashing by as Steve explains who he has ‘Running Through My Veins’. He sings with restrained clarity a deeply personal song with guitars adding calming chords amidst the sense of urgency spurred on by Mark Taylor’s sympathetic percussive presence.
Mark’s drums kick back in on the upbeat ‘A Whole Lotta Nothing’ a gig favourite and one to induce much head banging at the risk of lager spillage, when Jon shakes the stage with classic rock guitar explosions. ‘Wrap My Arms Round You’ is a charming ballad sung with great feeling by Steve with vocal backing from the combined ranks of Eggmen. It has the sort of melody that should be playing on your car radio while driving home at midnight. But don’t get distracted by ‘Crash Landing’ and belt up for this irresistible country rocker that changes gear into wild guitar riffing and upbeat drums.
‘Slippin’ Away’ is a personal favourite and has the feel of the Greenwich Village loft scene of the 1980s. It has mellow guitar chords and infectious vocal harmonies while Steve sings ‘Every time you see me cryin’…you’re the one who keeps me trying, when all the world is breaking up’. The band’s deep toned guitar motif is beautifully arranged and quite moving.
‘Heart of Darkness’ has Steve once more expressing inner fears and secrets ‘that no one can see’ but assures that everything he does ‘Is for you.’ Andy Brook’s piano makes an important contribution to the production on this outstanding track.
‘Rollin’ On’ is the kind of restless Hillbilly tune that the band do so well on stage to keep audiences clapping and ‘It Won’t Rain Forever’ is a joint composition that locks into rockin’ mode with optimistic cries of ‘The sun’ll come out again!’ And it sure shines when Steve unveils a surprise reprise of ‘One Horse Town’ with a Phil Spector-ish wall of sound, Jon cutting loose with a string-melting outpouring of guitar madness.
If your CD player now shows signs of disintegrating, fear not for the final song ‘All That I Am’ provides a calmer conclusion to an outstanding album. One of Steve’s finest compositions is given an orchestral treatment with perfect vocal harmonies reiterating his cry of ‘What I have I don’t understand but I’ll give to you…all that I am.’
By the way, you’ll be asking, what does Lazarus Lights mean? Come to the band’s next gig and all will be explained over a bag of cheese and onion flavoured crisps and a glass of the finest Kronenberg.