Following the release of Deliverance (2015), Steve was asked to answer a dozen questions by Americana UK magazine. Here's what he wrote:
The Dirty Dozen
Tell us about yourself and what you do
I’m a Welsh singer-songwriter (or as I prefer to say, song-poet) and rock musician, working on and across the borderline of acoustic folk and high-octane rock. I grew up in the Valleys in South-East Wales but spent a lot of time in London. This early experience of contrasting cultures is very much a part of my writing. I try to write thoughtful songs which have energy and drive. Song-poems touched with passion.
How did you start out?
Well, according to my mother I started out aged five in a café in Risca, trying to keep up with the juke box. I joined my first band at 15 and gigged at the school dance that year. I went on to busk all through the subways round Edgware Road and Marble Arch. Got spotted singing at a party and was invited to a posh studio in Baker Street for an audition. I failed it. I sang ‘Cowgirl in the Sand’ and the guy there said I sang too high. Later on sang in various cover-bands and a radical left-wing indie band called ‘Keep the Faith’ (a name often mistaken for a Bon Jovi tribute).
What is your current release/future release?
I released a purely acoustic album, Signs and Wonders, last year (2014) that features the guitar-artistry of Kimberley (‘Walking on Sunshine’) Rew and Rhys Wilson. On each track there are no more than two guitars, one vocal and occasionally my harmonica. Rhys also plays on my current album, Deliverance, which is recorded with a full band. I wanted a set-up that would enable me to move easily between the tougher-grained rock songs and the more wistful folkier ones.
[I've been fortunate enough to record another album since with Rhys Wilson, joined by Andy Cross on bass and Phil Bryant on drums: Wanted Alive (2016). I'm in pre-production for a new album, Backstreets of Eden (2017) at the moment].
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
I play solo acoustic, band acoustic and full-band electric. I love all these ways of interpreting songs. When I was in Free Again (a Free/Bad Company tribute) it was great being able to roam around the stage and focus entirely on singing. Eventually, though, I wanted to concentrate on my own songs and play more guitar and I needed both the singer-songwriter and the rock-band formats for that.
What is your most significant moment yet?
Marrying Judy Logan, wife and muse. She’s a painter and has always encouraged me in music. More recently, getting the first good review of Deliverance was nice: http://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2015/06/15/steve-logan-deliverance-album-review/
What are your biggest musical influences?
Tricky to answer. Who knows where influence begins and where it ends. My father was a singer mostly in Irish clubs in Newport. I grew up in a family where my great aunt, who sang constantly, was always saying how wonderful it must be ‘to sing on a stage and thrill people’. My mother was a tornado of energy, very rock and roll. And we all came from Wales, where of course singing is a big deal (but taken completely for granted, which helps). Musically, I’d say my chief mentor has been Neil Young, but also crucially Dylan, whose album Street Legal turned my head around. I love what I called song-poets: people whose songs are lyrically rich and who try to make poetry sing. Jonathan Kelly was one of these, so are Thom Yorke, Ryan Adams and Laura Marling. So is Leonard Cohen. There are vast traditions behind them all, blues and folk. And Led Zeppelin were a folk band as well as heavy rockers. I’ve read a lot of page-poets too: Wordsworth, Keats, R. S. Thomas and Seamus Heaney among them.
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
Motorpoint Cardiff. But any musically-respectful venue with a decent audience interested in hearing my kind of stuff is good.
What is your best/favourite song you have written?
This keeps changing. I’ve got two current favourites: a song I wrote for my wife, called ‘Love You in My Sleep’ (it’s on Signs and Wonders) and the title-song of Deliverance. I’ve got into the habit, through playing a lot of Neil Young material, of doing a full acoustic set followed by a full electric one. I often use these songs to close the sets: ‘Love You in My Sleep for the acoustic one and ‘Deliverance’ for the electric.
[On Wanted Alive a favourite which I have played often at gigs and on the radio is 'Jukebox', a song about my mother].
What is your favourite album of this year?
Don’t like narrowing it down that much. Among newer artists Laura Marling, Short Movie. But among people who’ve been around longer it will almost certainly be The Monsanto Years by Neil Young. I’ve learned a lot from Leonard Cohen’s Personal Problems and love to play him partly because he knows how music relates to spirituality and tries, I think, to sidestep ego while using it creatively. If we stretch the concept of ‘this year’ to mean the last twelve months, my favourites would be Jack White’s Lazaretto and Neil Young’s Storytone—the solo acoustic bonus disk, not the orchestral one, which I’m not keen on: it’s too far from the raw kinds of authenticity I think of in relation to him. I’m always keen to hear the song as it was written in the finished recording.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
My main job is to complete the new album, provisionally called Wanted Alive, and try to find a good manager or booking agent or better still an energetic small label that believes in me. You often hear musicians complain about agents, but during the periods in my life when I’ve had a lot of good gigs I’ve also had an agent.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Touring, writing for myself and maybe others.
What is the best thing about Americana-UK?
Well, I like the Dirty Dozen: it gives a good lead into the work of new artists. But in general I like the organized chaos of the whole site. There’s so much to find out, just zapping around among the links. Oh and the title. I doubt much of the music we hear (and write) now would be as it is unless America and the UK lived in a dream of each other.
[Hence my having formed, with Mark Gamon and Daniel Nestlerode, Cambridge Americana, a touring co-operative of Cambridge-based acts all touched differently by American music]