Jeffrey Steele Saturates Country Music

On 03-18-2010
at 3:58 pm

Jeffrey Steele is to country music, as Barq’s is to root beer. There is nothing unique to the flavor of Barq’s, just as there is nothing unique to a Jeffrey Steele song. Steele is not a “mom and pop” songwriter, he is a factory. His lyrics have little to no tension. I would say that money is his sole reason for writing songs, because it is definitely not about telling a story. I have been sifting through his songs to find a diamond in the rough, and I have actually found two. I found mostly dross in my findings, but Patty Loveless‘ “Last In A Long Lonesome Line” and Diamond Rio’s “Unbelievable” are two songs that are not indicative to Steele’s body of work.

We all know that Patty Loveless does not compromise. She not only respects the legends, but if she was an artist during the heyday of classic country, there’s a good bet that she would have gone far. “Last In A Long Lonesome Line” is a deep cut off of her On Your Way Home record.  Jeff’s writing style is pretty family friendly and without any meat, but ‘Lonesome Line’ eludes to past and present country artists that have been shunned by Music Row. There are no fancy frills are over-polished production, and do I hear a fiddle and pedal steel. This song probably would have been a great fit for the Crazy Heart soundtrack. Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard are still going strong, it is a pity that most of today’s country fans do not know this. They will not go quietly into the night. They are still recording and performing great music. Does the song blatantly point out these artists, no, but the following lines are an allusion if there ever was one.

Tears an’ whiskey, yeah, I spilled my share. But it’s the music that’s kept me goin’ through all of these years. An’ there some songs still need singin’ before closin’ time, From the last of, the last in a long lonesome line.

Diamond Rio’s “Unbelievable” is one of the most rousing country songs to date. Marty Roe never ceases to be a great lead vocalist, but the truly impressive aspect of this song is Gene Johnson’ bird whistle-like tenor. Of course, the lyrics are hokey, using adjective after adjective, but who cares.  This song is too much fun to be weighty. Steele hasn’t written a song this fun since. I don’t care what you say, “Me and My Gang” is not a fun song. These are the only songs that I can halfway stomach from his career as a songwriter. Oh and by the way, I prefer Stewart’s.

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4 Responses to “Jeffrey Steele Saturates Country Music”

  1. Posted by Eve on March 18th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    …well, i won’t rise to the defense of JS b/c he has plenty of bonafide fans who WILL – & will do a way better job of that than i can LOL!! HOWEVER, i take strong objection to the following ‘facts’ stated here:

    (1) That there is nothing unique about a Steele song; that’s just a ridiculous assertion, in light of the obvious fact that before his songs ‘hit the goldvein’ of the contemporary Country music mine, there were NO songs which sounded like his…which is surely the practical definition of ‘unique’? = ‘duh’!!

    (2) That Steele songs don’t tell stories; nonsense. Maybe not ALL of them do, e.g. ‘What hurts the Most’ or ‘Everyday’, but a brief glance @ the ‘no tension’ (?!) lyrics of the majority of his songs, e.g. ‘My Wish’, ‘My Town’, ‘I’m Tryin”, ‘I’m Trying to Find it’, ‘Keep in Mind’, etc, etc (!) tell stories galore….

    (3) That ‘Unbelieveable’ is the only funny song he’s every (co)-written; dude, if you don’t think ‘Brand New Girlfriend’ is a truly hilarious song, then your sense of humour is as off-base as your songwriter assessments, is all i can say….!

    = i rest my case; let others do the rest!

  2. Posted by Linda on March 19th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    todd seems to play fast and loose with the facts, so this article is par for the course. he is a legend in his own mind, most likely a failed songwriter or singer who gets his kicks using a blog as a front to hide his envy and jealousy. steele is one fine songwriter, with the bonafides and respect of his fans and the industry to back it up. todd is just a penny ante, bitter dime a dozen internet blogger who wishes he had 1/10th of the talent or success of steele, and many of these artists and songwriters he foists his opinions upon.

  3. Posted by Todd Dunaway on March 23rd, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I said fun, not funny

  4. Posted by Eve on March 30th, 2010 at 8:19 pm said ‘fun’, I said ‘funny’ – but in this case, the semantics actually don’t amount to more than the equivalent of ‘you say tomato/i say tomato’, i.e. merely splitting hairs for the sake of…er – WHAT, exactly?! Ergo, there’s no POINT being made here besides sheer snobbery, born of what appears to be a ludicrously unwarranted sense of superiority on the part of the author, of what was a factually inaccurate, unbalanced & unmistakeably snippy piece of…well, i would would say ‘music journalism’, but that would be to edify it above itself – in much the same way, in fact, as Mr. Anonymous aka ‘Todd’ seems to do, on an habitual basis! ‘Nough said – since saying anything further would be to run the risk of enriching what he writes by overly honouring it with too much response…

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