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By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine

nfortunately when you see a true random a c t of kindness during this time of year most people chalk it up to the Christmas spirit, however in the case I’m about to share with you it isn’t; it’s a random act of human kindness. To start I need to explain a few things. First the couple we refer to as Mom and Dad is in fact my friend’s parents; second we did not use the real names of anyone, so gold diggers go somewhere else; and third this is a true story. Mom and Dad had been married for just over 32 years when he passed away. They were what everyone thought of as the perfect couple; handsome and smokin’ hot, the kind that make strangers take a second look. To top that off they weren’t just loving with each other, but with their blended family which includes 7 kids and their spouses, 22 grandkids, 13 great-grandkids, and a handful of great-greatgrandkids. When Dad passed Mom’s world stopped revolving and we’ve been working on getting it to turn again. It’s slow and painful, but that smile, that sweet look, has been coming back a little more often. Mom’s always been a “don’t keep what you don’t need” kind of person, but sometimes it’s what we do with what we don’t need that makes the story. And that brings us to the Trailer. When Mom moved to the Texas coast she bought a small trailer to live in until she figured out where and what she wanted to do. The trailer was her project while she began the grieving process and it needed work which was fun to work on and decorate but the remodel-repairs also turned into a sadness for her – contractors took her money, did shoddy work, and sometimes no work at all; little projects turned into big projects; and the worst was she didn’t have the strength to do the work herself, something she truly enjoyed doing. So she moved to a lovely apartment that is everything she wanted and the trailer sat waiting to be loved and taking more out of Mom’s pocket. She watched the news, read Facebook posts, and 2 STEAM MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2018 WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET

Original Art by: Adela Reuscher

read stories about the heartaches Hurricane Harvey was still causing. She felt it was so unfair that 15months after Harvey there are still people without roofs over their heads. That’s when the idea hit: She was going to give it to someone that needed it! Back in the 50’s there was a show called “Queen for a Day” Grandma loved it and Mom hated it (who wanted to watch a woman grovel and tell the saddest story to get whatever appliance she needed). So she knew right then that she didn’t want to hear the reasons someone needed the trailer, just that they really needed it. For two hours she put it online for free and she had 20 people ask her about it, which whittled down to 6 that seemed interested, and that was cut down to 2 that actually took a look. The idea was simple – if the person could qualify to rent the lot, they could have the trailer. To make sure you understand this wasn’t a shabby trailer she was “tossing” out there’s a microwave and cart, 40” TV on a custom stand, decent refrigerator, 2 new twin size mattresses with frames, and a nice armoire, so yes, it’s very livable. The first lady got qualified the next morning, but before she could accept it her daughter begged her to move to Florida and she agreed. The Second lady, Julie, was afraid she wouldn’t qualify – everything else that had to do with Harvey seemed to dash her dreams, why not this. So Mom was back to where she either needed to repost an ad or get Julie to apply. After a couple days and just as Mom was about to repost Julie finally applied and… She qualified! The end to our story is that everyone is happy! Julie has her own place: a roof over her head and a pillow beneath it. Mom doesn’t have to worry about the trailer and can focus on spending her holidays with her family knowing that she did the right thing and Dad is so proud of her, just like he always was. We at STEAM Magazine wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and may peace and love guide you through a wonderful 2019. Happy New Year!


December 2018 VOL.7 ISS.9 #81 ON THE COVER... 2 RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS 4 COMICS 5 QUICK READ 6 ALBUM COVER OF THE MONTH 7 CD REVIEWS 8 CYNTHIA DECKER’S DIGITAL ART 11 CURSIVE: NEW MUSIC, TOUR 12 LEROY MILLER: HE’S OFF-THE-GRID 14 MUSICAL CATALOG OF SORTS : HARMONY GUITARS 15 NEW MOVIE S & MUSIC RELEASE BY CYNTHIA DECKER

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What to work on today

Stronger, braver, smarter

J. Michael Dolan So many of my clients get hung up on whether they are working on the right project, headed in the right direction or making the right choices. Why? Because most of them are blessed/cursed with multiple talents and interests and often get stuck in which specific project they should be working on today. Which always leads to indecisiveness. Which always leads to a head full of doubt and angst. Which always leads to procrastination, which always delays the progress of worthy work.

J. Michael Dolan With so many twists & turns and ups & downs in our crazy creative careers, it’s so easy to forget who we are in the matter, what we’ve accomplished, what we’re capable of and where we’re headed. And in my experience, pro artists & entrepreneurs are always stronger than they seem, braver than they believe and smarter than they think.

Important because on the one

hand, the freedom to pursue our own crazy ideas or the choice to dance to our own drummer is a treasured gift and our greatest ally. On the other hand, the time spent wondering what we might be doing instead is our perpetual nemesis.

Your pov matters J. Michael Dolan There is a reason why us artists, writers, musicians, actors, editors, directors and creative entrepreneurs are eager for this current political madness to end. And it’s not about money, it’s about truth. All of the creative work we do is about truth. Creativity itself is all about expressing and manifesting our truth through our creative skills and our crazy creative ideas. Heck, most of us rely on expressing our truth for our livelihood! And we all crave it like a drug. Especially during these

Ca. 1880-1900s strong man performer Herbert Bosworth & an admirer

dark days when fiction, falsehood and cock-and-bull stories are so transparent, making it clearly obvious who’s trustworthy and who’s not. And if we want to send a clear, personal message to the current frontrunners of fabrication then voting is the best way to do it. So go out and vote like you’ve never voted before! Vote like the future of your awesome creative lifestyle depends on it. Vote like you would vote if you were the only one voting! Important because turnout is everything and your POV matters. And we’ve all learned the hard way that it’s not only about who votes, it’s more about who doesn’t.

When a challenge arises, an artist/trep automatically rises to the occasion; like my creative friends and neighbors where I live in Thousand Oaks—where quick creative action has saved lives and property in an instant! And when suddenly blindsided with a difficult situation, an artist/trep will immediately begin to invent ideas, solutions and options right on the spot, often with rapid-fire reaction (while others stand there in awe). That’s why whenever I’m confounded with a situation I much prefer an artist, entrepreneur or a creative thinker by my side, who acts on ingenuity and invention, rather than someone who is fixated on protocol.

Important because the only thing we need to learn is to trust the experiences we’ve had to teach us, honor the knowledge we’ve acquired to lead us, have confidence in our talents, abilities & skills to support us and have faith in that “deeper wisdom” we’ve attained to guide our crazy creative journey in the direction we want to go.

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By 1969, San Francisco’s Jefferson Airplane had proven themselves as a musical force in the progressive rock and roll steam engine that was transforming hit oriented singles of the time into an album driven art form. With high charting radio hits like “Somebody To Love” and the trippy “White Rabbit” and contemporary albums CROWN OF CREATION (1968) and VOLUNTEERS (1969), the Airplane were able to successfully bridge the gap from AM pop radio to FM underground. While on hiatus in 1969, Airplane’s lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Cassidy created Hot Tuna. It became an outlet for the pioneering blues-based roots music that the pair loved. It was also an opportunity to exploit Jorma's outstanding guitar expertise and Jack’s uniquely melodic bass accompaniment. They would even serve as the Airplane’s opening concert act on occasion. Lifelong friends since meeting in Washington D.C in the 1950’s, Jorma and Jack always knew the road they wanted to take. After the Airplane splintered, Jorma and Jack recruited their former band mate, violinist Papa John Creach, and continued on with Hot Tuna. Although the band roster and sound has changed many times over the years, it’s always been Jorma and Jack as the driving force, as it still is today. For several years, Jorma has been passing on his knowledge to students and budding musicians at his own Fur Peace Guitar Ranch, often with his Hot Tuna partner in attend-

ance. This live album of acoustic music has a genuine, intimate nightclub vibe. Recorded at Berkeley’s New Orleans House in 1969, and featuring Will Scarlett on harmonica, you can even hear a glass break in the background mid-verse on “Uncle Sam Blues.” The ten tracks feature two Jorma original tunes along with two by Jelly Roll Morton, a few folk blues tunes, Leroy Carr’s “How Long Blues,” and two by a major influence on Jorma, Reverend Gary Davis. (The Reverend Davis’ Piedmont blues style finger picking has been studied and copied by many since the mid-20th century, and Jorma is as skilled as anyone at it.) This debut record is a joy from start to finish, but if you listen to only one track, I'd recommend a song that dates back to the Civil War, "Know You Rider."

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The widespread influence of The Allman Brothers Band can not be understated. It continues to impact musicians and music lovers to this day. Originally from Florida, they exploded onto the world from Macon, Georgia on Capricorn Records in 1970. In their wake, a new genre labeled Southern Rock was launched and Capricorn was in the right place to support it. Along with the Allmans, the Macon based label signed the likes of Wet Willie, Jonathan Edwards, Elvin Bishop, The Dixie Dregs, The Outlaws, and in 1973 The Marshall Tucker Band. This band from Spartanburg, South Carolina took that Allman influence and created their own Southern footprint with a fusion of country, rock, jazz, r&b and gospel that is still turning people on. This was their second studio album and would help The Marshall

Tucker Band become Capricorn’s second biggest selling artists. With Toy Caldwell on lead guitars and vocals, his brother Tommy Caldwell on bass, the classy vocals of Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks on flute and sax, Paul Riddle on drums and George McCorkle on banjo and guitar, and assisted by Charlie Daniels on fiddle, ABB’s Jaimoe on organ, and producer Paul Hornsby, A NEW LIFE remains as vibrant and alive as ever. Although this album didn’t spawn hits like “Take The Highway” and “Can’t You See” from their self-titled debut, the eight songs here stand up to it’s predecessor as a strong follow up that would lead to still further successes. From the sweet guitar build up on the album-titled opening track to “Fly Eagle Fly,” a picturesque Toy Caldwell ballad that closes the album, the stage is set for what this band was capable of doing: innovative playing with spot-on vocals that set the standard for a long time to come. Among special thanks given in the liner notes are the Allman Brothers Band. Tommy Caldwell died tragically in a car accident in 1980 at age 30. Brother Toy followed in 1993 from a drug related episode at age 45. George McCorkle passed in 2007 at age 59 from cancer. Both Jerry Eubanks and Paul Riddle are retired. Lead singer Doug Gray is the only original member out there keeping the MTB legacy alive. If you need a reminder of what Southern Rock is supposed to sound like, get your wheels rollin’ with “24 Hours At A Time.”


LINDSAY BEAVER TOUGH AS LOVE (ALLIGATOR RECORDS) BY RICK J BOWEN

Austin Texas based Lindsay Beaver is an authentic triple threat, with her prowess as a singer, song writer and drummer are fully showcased on her debut on the legendary Alligator records label Tough as Love, released in October 2018. Beaver wrote seven of the album’s twelve tracks, the striking originals melding seamlessly with the perfectly-chosen covers that are glorious romp thru jump blues, classic R&B and raw rock and roll. Her drumming chops are on par with anyone in the business, as she supports the tunes with a deep pocket and tasty chops, but her vocal skills are almost beyond compare. Bruce Iglauer, Alligator Records president says “She’s like the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard,” that is actually underselling her ferocious power and depth. She kicks off the album with a mighty drum intro to “Your Evil,” drawing instant comparisons to a young Etta James as howls on the heavy shuffle that features hot

JONATHAN BYRD & THE PICKUP COWBOYS (WATERBUG RECORDS) BY ROB DICKENS

It has been too long since his last outing, but the impatience with that wait has instantly dissipated with what has just come. Released on November 16, 2018 Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys comes from a deep well of emotion which is conveyed with clarity and purpose to the listener. Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Jonathan Byrd has already left some impressive musical footprints – eight albums in a run from 2001 to 2014 (all solo, bar a collaboration with Chris Kokesh under the moniker The Barn Birds). Byrd is renowned for his heavy touring schedule and, to gain a well-earned break, returned home to Rubber Room Studios in Chapel Hill NC, a recording studio he helped build by hand and one in which great things have happened over the past twenty years. Byrd brought with him his closest musical friends, the Pickup Cowboys – guitarist and multiinstrumentalist Johnny Waken and cellist Paul Ford – to make the album. On the very last day of recording with the studio’s Jerry Brown, Ford stayed home, complaining of feeling like he had the flu. He called at the end of the day with the news that the doctor had discovered a terminal brain tumor. Ford never went back to the recording studio and passed away the next year. The Pickup Cowboys played for seven years and this is their only recording. After that last day in the studio, The Cowboys never played again. The shock of losing such a close friend put the Pickup Cowboys recordings on hold for a year, but ultimately Byrd felt that the songs and recordings deserved to be heard. He and Waken

took the songs to Winnipeg to complete the album with Joanna Miller on drums, and Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne on backing vocals. Byrd is fervent about word craft and improving the lot of the songwriting community, particularly those that are little heard and outside the mainstream. “There’s this underground musical community that travels around the country,” Byrd says. “We see each other at festivals and conferences. It’s a rich, authentic life of music that I wish more people could discover, because I think they’re actually looking for it. This is a golden age of songwriting. Community songwriting. It’s person-to-person music. Songs get picked up and passed around and end up around the campfires. We wanted to bring some of that to the record. That kind of authenticity, and the real people and real stories in the songs.” On his new album, Byrd opens up this treasure chest to his audience for us all to hear. There’s the crisp, lilting “Pickup Cowboy”, a hard-worn song Byrd wrote for a South Dakota construction worker, his friend and fellow songwriter Matt Fockler. In fact, there are two of Fockler’s songs featured in this collection – the wistful lullaby of “Do You Dream” and, a high point of the record, the stunning, pressing crescendo of “Lakota Sioux”. Other notables are the droll humour of petrol-fumed and muddy love in “Tractor Pull”, the bittersweet love lost of “It Don’t Make Sense” and the homage to those in the boom-and-bust business of “When the Well Runs Dry” which he co-wrote with his friend Charles Humphrey III (a founding member of Steep Canyon Rangers). Then there’s “Taking It Back” – says Byrd “I stopped at a gas station in Ontario one day and walked by a 30-gallon trash can that seemed to be filled entirely with lottery tickets. I dug down a ways and still saw only spent lottery tickets. I kept digging and found only more! When I got to the bottom, I found this song.” “We Used to Be Birds” sparkles and “Fish Out of Water” dominates with its thumping drumming and distorted cello. Somehow, what I have neglected to mention thus far is just about the key to this record. Jonathan Byrd’s voice is as beckoning as you can get, a timbre so warm and articulation so precise that sets a standard so high for others to follow. Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys is one of my glorious favourites for the year. (The album is dedicated to the memory of Paul Justin Ford 1966 – 2016). . JONATHANBYRD.COM ROB DICKENS: LISTENINGTHROUGHTHELENS.COM

blues harp from Dennis Gruenling and jagged lead from her guitarist Brad Stivers. The New Orleans R&B tune ‘Too Cold To Cry,’ with Marcia Ball Sitting in on piano has her sounding more like Big Joe Turner and the jumping ‘What A Fool You’ve Been,’ is spiced with tasty horn blasts. Her vocals on the incendiary slow Blues cover Little Willie John tune ‘You Hurt Me,’ are more in line with Screaming Jay Hawkins. She and Stivers trade barbs on ‘Don’t be Afraid To Love,’ and the revved-up beat and Bass line from Josh Williams on ‘Got Love If You Want it,’ are simply infectious. That is only the half of it as she and the band continue to rip it up for five more killing dance floor filling numbers complete with a blazing drum solo and a tribute to fellow Texas blues woman Angela Strehli. This big label debut should land Lindsay Beaver in the spotlight . LINDSAYBEAVER.COM RICK J BOWEN: WABLUES.ORG

COLLIN JAMES MILES TO GO (TRUE NORTH/STONEY PLAIN) BY RICK J BOWEN Acclaimed British Colombia guitarist Colin James continues his journey back to the blues on his 19th album Miles to Go released in September of 2018. The sequel to his critically-acclaimed album, Blue Highways, is a collection of nine songs handpicked from some of the greatest blues artists plus two originals. James augmented his road band with a horn section and several guest vocalists for the sessions allowing him to focus on his vocals, but fans will also get to hear plenty of his tasty guitar playing. The overall vibe is a much more mellow than the previous album, but it does burn blue. ‘One More Mile,’ from the Muddy Waters catalog is given a horn funk treatment, while ‘Still A Fool,’ is played as a straight up bump and grind Blues. James slide playing is showcased on the stomper “Dig Myself A Hole,” and his covers of Howlin’ Wolf and Charles Brown classics are spot on. James presents fine two original tunes with ‘I Will Remain,’ having a sweet sentimental “Thrill Is Gone,” feel and “40 Light Years,” showing off some great finger picking and a muscle shoals’ groove. Gospel vocal group The Sojourners join him on the acoustic revival “Soul of A Man,” and a lovely acoustic reprise of “One More Mile.” COLLINJAMES.COM RICK J BOWEN: WABLUES.ORG

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 hard and being able to do my own thing. You know I was 34 or so, when I decided to sell everything and move from California to North Carolina. People were in awe that I could do something like that, but I never saw it as a jump or leap. I always thought it was just the next step I needed to make in my life. I think that comes from my parents and the unconditional support they have always given me. Mom, was always there pushing and making me reach higher; of course, dad wasn’t too thrilled that I wanted to be an artist, but I associate that with his protectiveness and desire in wanting me to succeed in my visions. But it has been my belief that their support gave me the foundation that I can do anything I believe I can; right or wrong. Your imagination is so deep and realistic. I have to wonder, are you a big science fiction fan? Yah, I’ve always been sort of a nerd in that regard. My favorite genre is horror, but it doesn’t come out as much in my artwork; although, I do have a slight dark edge in some works. I guess it’s just the way I see art or the way I see your art, but I see a lot of inspiration and thought-provoking ideas. Can you describe a few for me? Sure. Narcissism for example goes in the dark direction, or at least has dark tendencies, is, the bird and the boat. People will look at it and say it’s so peaceful and serene; once they find out the name their comments change direction. It’s now lonely, searching but only for its own shadow. That’s really about someone who is so involved in their own introspection that they lose track of the world around them. I don’t always claim to see exactly

what the artist is trying to getting across. So, will you tell me about the Crack House? Oh, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call it the “Crack House” before; now you’ve ruined it for me. Actually, Crack in the Wall is about people in society that everyone overlooks; the people that fall in between the cracks, behind the weeds. Those people that we marginalize to where they don’t exist; the indigent people, the homeless people, the mentally challenged, and others. Again, it’s my dark side coming out. Okay, before I go, I have to ask you a couple of nerdy questions. What is your computer set up like? I have one computer and my husband, who is also graphic designer, has one. However, we have, I believe, 10 server stations to both and that’s what we do our rendering. Some of my renderings will take over 48 hours to complete. By the way, there are companies that you can do this with online but it’s more cost effective for us to maintain our own. As we all know from experience technology changes constantly. How often do you upgrade your programs? Do you purchase them every time or do you wait to see if they get the bugs out and then buy? There are some programs, like some Photoshop filters, that I’ve never upgraded. However, my main programs I upgrade every year when they come out because there are system, technology, and user gains for each. Thank you for sharing your story and art with us. You have such an honest outlook on life, it’s very refreshing. Beautiful.

www.Curious3D.com

LAUNDRY DAY NARCISSISM CRACK IN THE WALL AKI

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By DC Washington; Photo By Tony Bonacc

Over the past two decades, Cursive has become more known for writing smart, tightly woven concept albums where frontman Tim Kasher turns his unflinching glaze on specific, often times challenging themes, and examines them with an incisively brutal honesty. 2000’s Domestic dealt with divorce; 2003’s The Ugly Organ tackled art, sex, and relationships; 2006’s Happy Hollow skewered organized religion; 2009’s Mama, I'm Swollen grappled with the human condition and social mortality; and 2012’s I am Gemini explored the battle between good and evil. But the band’s remarkable eighth-full length album, Vitriola required a different approach - one less rigidly themed and more responsive as the band struggles with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys, and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand. This new album comes from the band

reuniting; at what point over the last few years did you all definitely know your reunion was going to spur on new music and not just a tour for the fans? This isn't actually a reuniting. We take time off between albums, but we don't call it quits. We will offer that The Ugly Organ tour we did a few years back energized us, made us interested in doing another album, though there were a few other factors as well, namely, starting our label, 15-passenger. Vitriola is a tight record but at 10 tracks one of your shortest. As you edited the song list down, how comfortable did you have to be come to release a shortened album, especially knowing what your fans were clamoring to expect after the band went on hiatus? It's actually about average with past albums, but for whatever reason we are writing longer songs these days. Maybe we are more patient in our older age? We would have liked putting more songs on this record, but that felt the length was right at 10 songs so we left it at that. With everyone reuniting and now releasing a new album on a new label we have to imagine that there was a lot at stake with this piece. How hard was that to keep off your mind as you all created to work? We absolutely see your point here, but we prefer not to think of songwriting as measured by what stakes may be involved. We worry that kind of thinking could adversely affect your output, maybe not, but at the

very least that line of thinking could leave you feeling anxious, tense, and that sounds unpleasant. (laughing ) So we approached this record as any other record, trying to right the best thing we can in the moment I'm currently existing in. Another concept piece, this time the theme of the piece revolves around the disparity in the world around us from the presidential election to the common moral divide it showed us that this country had. Music is supposed to be therapeutic for the creator; do you have a better mindset after putting together this new work or as a result a harsher view of the reality around you? Unfortunately for many of us our worldview is more grim these days. We are cynics, and the current state of affairs has certainly brought that out some more, perhaps more than some previous outings over the years. We don't think the music brought out a harsher mindset, but rather the other way around.

form of Solace through the collective experience. Do you think albums like yours are the new wave of music, inspired by the last 2 years of this presidency, painting a portrait more clearly portraying the despair and anxiety of the world we live in? Sure, we all recognize these things happen. I've seen a few think pieces referencing the music pouring out of the Reagan years. We don't mind contributing to this, though it's important to us that this album doesn't ultimately feel dated to this specific era.

CURSIVEARMY.COM February Tour Dates for Texas: 6 El Paso 7 Lubbock 8 San Antonio 9 Austin 10 Houston 11 Dallas

With enough headlines daily to fuel the lyrics, how important was it for the band not to sound like an addendum to the morning news? Haha, yes! This was important to us to not rehash what we already are dealing with and ad nauseam. We are all exhausted by the news; we didn't want to rub the listener’s nose in it even more, so to speak. But we did want to express our reaction to the world around us with the hope that listeners would be able to relate and perhaps even find some WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET DECEMBER 2018 STEAM MAGAZINE 11


Leroy Miller is perhaps best known for his studio skills which include engineering, mixing, producing, and of course studio musician. He spent many years in Los Angeles where he worked with people like John Mayer (Heavier Things) and put his songwriting skills to work with others like Macy Gray. He was signed to Geffen Records and Hollywood Records and toured all over the world with a wide variety of bands, including as guitarist for Smash Mouth. You’ve probably heard Leroy's music without realizing it as many of his songs have been licensed in TV shows (Scrubs on NBC and Arrested Development on Fox and Netflix) and in film as main and end titles in films like Black Sheep and Driven. His music is played all over the world on radio stations and his song "Good Time" has gathered over 10 million views on YouTube. A few years ago Leroy decided to make a change and moved from overcrowded, electrically charged California to wide open Montana and even more so – he went offgrid.

What are your plans for December? Will you be touring or hunkering down in the studio? Well I'm doing a little bit of both. I live in Montana and am going to California to spend Christmas with my family, which means basically socializing and hanging out and a couple solo gigs; however, I will be working in the studio before I head in that direction, so when I get back I can button up my album, Let It Ride.

When do you expect the album to be released? My goal is a February timeframe since we have to finish up the art. It's not quite as early as I was hoping for, but it's all good and it's coming along very nicely.

Is this going to be a themed album or blues or Americana? I know you've done those types of projects in the past. It's a blues album just as the last two albums were. I will say that I believe it's more song oriented whereas the last two were very traditional blues structured with progressions and such. This album's more song oriented and extremely bluesy with a little more soul, funky, and rock.

You do all of the writing, correct? By Tamma Hicks STEAM Magazine

Well, actually I do everything on the album myself. I write both the lyrics and music, I sing, and play all the instruments. I engineer, produce, mix, and master. So from the very beginning to the very, very end I do it all.

That's very cool, I didn't realize you played all the instruments. I have the studio here at my house, which of course works very well for me and I’m able to pay much more attention to the details since I'm doing it all myself. I can spend as much time as I want and I don't have to worry about scheduling time for other musicians paying them, and then having them come back to redo something because I've decided that the music is going in a different direction. So for example if I'm recording and I come up with a new drum or a bass part or the song develops and I need to change the groove typically I would have to reschedule, pay, and show my band, the studio musicians 12 STEAM MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2018 WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET


and the recording crew all the changes. In the amount of time to setting that all up I can do it myself. It really allows me the freedom and control to get exactly what I want.

completely off-grid. I have a tiny house out in the middle of the woods with solar panels and I am completely off grid, so I'm taking it as a challenge to survive the minus 20 degrees.

Thanks for explaining that, it hadn’t really

OK,

registered with me what being your own everything would amount to. So what instrument don't you play? Well, that’s the amazing thing about computers and music; I don’t have limits like that.

Wow that is really cool!

With

the album coming out in February are you making plans for touring? Oh yeah, most definitely! We are really going to hit it hard in 2019. We did some touring last summer including a few runs down to Texas, a couple of shows in Colorado and a whole bunch up here in Montana. It really gave us a chance to get out and we definitely expanded our fan base. It was really fun to be able to get into the areas where we have fans online so they could actually get out and see us; which is a great way to get a full circle connection. My goal for 2019 is to head back down into the some of those same areas get more into the Southwest and Midwest, the East Coast, down to Florida, and of course more shows in Texas. I really would like to make it down to Corpus Christi.

Do you have a steady band or do you use revolving players? We’re a trio and it's a trio with Adam Rutt on bass guitar and background vocals and drummer Mike Stout. Both are close to where I'm at in the Billings area. They’ve been with me for couple years and we really have some good chemistry going.

Billings, huh? All that brings to my mind is cold and snow. Oh yeah, I live out in the woods where it gets a little colder and snows a little more. So far this fall has been much milder than last year, which I deeply appreciate, but even still I have about 6 inches of snow at this point. Last April, on my fist run to Texas, it was snowing here when we left and 95 degrees when we got to Houston.

you're off-grid and you're using renewable energy. Is that for your studio as well? Yeah, my new album is 100% off-grid. My studio is in my tiny house which I built.

Yeah, it is pretty neat! I'm not doing it to show off, I'm doing it because this is the lifestyle change that I wanted to make. When I lived in LA I lived off of Melrose and people were just on top of each other there, so I made this change. I'm in the wilderness, I am by myself and I am isolated, but it's good for my soul and it's what I needed to do. I'm way more focused now.

I know you via David Martinez from Corpus Christi. You produced both of his albums, so how did you two connect? Yeah, we did his 2 albums and a couple of singles as well. It’s been probably 10 years that we’ve known each other. He was in the LA area when he contacted me through MySpace. We met up and he gave me a copy of one of his first demos and asked if I'd be interested in working with him. We put his albums together and they're very good.

Okay, one last silly question. What is your favorite Christmas song? A Christmas song? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and it's funny that I say that because just the other day out of nowhere I was just singing that. I was coming in from town, and I have to four-wheel out to my house, and the song Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer just kind of popped into my head but you know it made me feel good and I think when I was a kid, I just used to love that one.

LEROYMILLER.COM

I'm not a big snow person, so I could not do that. Well, you know I lived in California for a very long time where it's typically 70 degrees yearround and I absolutely loving the changes in weather and season here, it’s what I missed down there. I am totally digging being in colder temperatures, being

WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET DECEMBER 2018 STEAM MAGAZINE 13


By Kit Gutherz with Tony Saracene found my first guitar in my uncle’s attic when I was 12… and, for like most people of my generation, it was an F-Hole Harmony with a bad glue joint at the heel of the neck. I was oblivious to this slight wound, being for some reason obsessed with learning all the

basic chords I saw illustrated in an introductory method book I acquired at the local pawn shop along with a set of Black Diamond guitar strings; it was most likely a Mel Bay book. he chance encounter was the beginning of a

number of F-Hole Guitars, including Chicago made Washburn. It was common for all these guitars to have weak neck-to-body joints, which we would routinely remedy with a piece of all-thread through the body to pull the neck down. Harmony built a huge inventory of moderately priced guitars that people could afford, often marketed by big corporate stores like Sears, Western Auto, and so on. Never meant to play loud, low tones they were used more in bands that did not have drummers. The materials used for construction might be of decent quality but the assembly was possibly lacking, but not without remedy. People who were first exposed to guitars in the 1950’s cannot see an old harmony f-hole guitar without a sense of nostalgia. ay was another similar line, sometimes made in the same factory in Chicago as harmony. Kay is now known for upright double basses and the harmony brand has been used to market oriental products in more recent years. grew up in a home filled with music but no musical instruments. I learned to play flutaphone in elementary school and subsequently my dad bought me a Sonata F-Alto Recorder, the 3-pieces were made of wood and housed in a sturdy box, for about $13 at the downtown music store. That store also sold fired red clay ocarinas from Italy; covered in black enamel they inevitably broke.

stablished in 1892, many musicians often remember as their first guitar, the one that got them started. Sears bought the company out in 1916 until the mid-’70s, Harmony produced more instruments than any other company in the world under its brand name and Silvertone, Kay, and others. Harmony made fretted instruments with products ranging from archtops, flat-tops, electric Spanish, Hawaiian bodied guitars, to ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, violins and more.

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STEAM Magazine South Texas Entertainment Art Music volume 7 issue 9 December 2018  

STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, December 2018 features Artist, Cynthia Decker, Leroy Miller New CD - Los Angeles, CA -...

STEAM Magazine South Texas Entertainment Art Music volume 7 issue 9 December 2018  

STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, December 2018 features Artist, Cynthia Decker, Leroy Miller New CD - Los Angeles, CA -...

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