Singer-songwriter and keyboardist nonpareil Steve Kerin may have left Louisiana for the wiles of the Pacific Northwest seven years ago, but South Louisiana never left Steve, and you can hear it on his awesome new record, Joy, an 12-track collection of songs spanning about 15 years of songwriting dating back to Steve’s days in the quirky, uber-cool Lafayette-based fusion-funk-jazz-rock band, The Megatron Jones.
The record will remind you of Randy Newman and Doctor John, to be sure, but Steve has his own thing going, and the musicianship on this record produced locally by drummer/producer Jerry LeJeune at Evangeline Recording Studio is first-rate. Session players include LeJeune, Benny Graeffe (bass), Bob Shoemaker (guitar), Craig Futch (guitar), Mitch Reed (fiddle), Esther Tyree (fiddle), Towny Angell (bass), Pat Breaux (accordion) and Michael Juan Nunez (guitar). Steve rounds out the all-star ensemble on piano, accordion, guitar, ukulele, percussion and vocals. Yeah, he did all that.
“In this stage of my life, I feel that music is a way for me to stay in touch with my roots,” Steve says of his songwriting on Joy. The winner the past two consecutive years of the Cascade Blues Association’s Keyboardist of the Year award, Steve says he’s been embraced by music fans and, more important, musicians in Portland and beyond. “It has been really wonderful to see the love that people have for Louisiana musical styles all across the country,” he adds. With family still in the area, Steve has made a point of squeezing in recording sessions at LeJeune’s studio almost every time he’s in town. The result, long time coming but well worth the wait, is this fine new collection of songs.
Steve Kerin will celebrate the release of Joy with two special homecoming concerts: Dec. 14 at Artmosphere and the next night at the Feed & Seed.