Seattle-based Steve Wacker is a singer, songwriter and guitarist with a wide range of influences. Although he has lived in Seattle for a number of years, he grew up in Wisconsin–part of the Great Midwest, as Chicago’s John Prine once put it–where he learned from and absorbed many different styles of music. Steve says his songs “hang around the intersection of folk music, rock’n roll and the blues.” You’ll also hear traces of the country and Tin Pan Alley traditions.
One of Steve’s earliest musical memories is hearing “Cool Water” by the Sons of the Pioneers during a family automobile trip. Then there were the ethnic sounds of his German heritage, such as polkas and waltzes, and the Broadway show tunes that his father (a semi-professional musician) sang at the family piano.
There was Motown, the Beatles, the blues, and the psychedelic era–heady stuff for a kid listening to a transistor radio. Steve played in rock ‘n roll bands and studied classical music theory in college. He grew increasingly interested in the craft of songwriting and studied the work of many of the 20th century’s accomplished songwriters.
All of these elements contribute to Steve’s sound. His songs show an appreciation for melody and harmonic structure as well as an ear for the innate poetry and rhythms of language. And his lyrics exhibit a playfulness with the language–he’s not above using a pun or two on occasion to nail together certain images.
Steve’s easygoing performance style and slightly off-kilter sense of humor help keep things breezy on stage. He also covers the work of other songwriters both famous and obscure; for example, his renditions of Bonnie Koloc’s “Children’s Blues” and Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is to Fly” are often crowd favorites.
Steve has appeared in coffeehouse corners, on auditorium stages, and in venues that cover most of the ground in between. One reviewer called him an “unheralded troubadour” for whom “more applause seems likely in coming years.” Buy his album, or catch his act at a nearby venue–and appreciate the work of a truly American songwriter.
Photos by Tonja (gabryshak) Howard
photography w/ heART ‘n SOUL