Steve Shanholtzer







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is my catharsis. It's the one place that I feel complete. I've been a professional musician for 50 years. I don't know what I would do without it.

What is your music dream?

I'm past the dream stage by a couple of decades. I've been very lucky to make a living doing this. I guess my dream is to do this current project. I've been backing up singer/songwriters all my life. This is my first "me" project. It's in it's infancy as reflected in the tracks I've posted.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

The practice of listening and being engaged at all times. Not just the dialogue that music requires on stage with other players and the dialogue of the tune...letting the music dictate where it wants to go tonight, but in all facets of life.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

I can't say that memorable is the correct word for my example, though it certainly was... The first and highest impact song was in 1967, hearing Jimi Hendrix "Fire" as backing on a radio commercial for a local night club. I had no idea who it was but I knew I'd been waiting my entire life to hear that. I was 13. I was putting away the leftovers and my sister was washing dishes. Life altering.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Hard question. Again, I have to go with the highest impact and greatest effect at a given moment. The Allman Brothers were my teenage tutorial on cooperative playing. Again, engaging in the dialogue. Little Feat was a big influence, B.B. King the way he phrased around the horns and melody. Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny, Son House, Miles Davis, Weather Report were very big on my playlist. Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Crosby, Stills and Nash. The Beatles.

What inspires you to make music?

To hit that point in a night where the band is kicking so hard and tight that it becomes transcendental. You realize that what's coming out of your instrument and off your fingers is beyond your abilities. The universe has taken the wheel.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

No message really. Just the joy of music done well and cooperatively. I've always felt that as musicians there is a certain obligation to further the awareness of the listener. Hopefully to take them someplace new. It's been my experience that if you show up and play for real and well, the genre becomes superfluous.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Live performance is the lifeblood. Nothing like it. As a sideman, I try to govern my level of audience awareness to find a balance. There are nights when being too aware of the audience can be detrimental to the music and my job. If I let them suck me in it's easy to let ego take charge and lose the dialogue. That's a place I try to avoid.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

It's a sad state of affairs as far I can see. The industry, for way too long, has been completely out of touch with what made them thick around the middle. I applaud the current state where anyone can produce a collection of music and get out into peoples ears. BUT, the journey from analog to digital, in the arena of home production has not been without cost. The engineers and their knowledge of the gear spanning decades of slow evolution, the recording environment of the studios themselves, etc. is a great loss. Not to mention the sonic differences between say Vinyl and MP3 files.

What do you think of Drooble?

I think Drooble is not only a wonderful concept but its application has been implemented with great thought and care.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

Getting older and having my hands no longer cooperate with my brain. :)

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

I don't get around as I should, but the band I work with does an invitational event once a month in a listening room. It's very informal and interactive. Usually, it's acoustic and focuses on songwriting. It's a kind of back porch kind of vibe. What was your "Ah Ha" moment etc. So, via that, I get to be exposed to all kinds of music from teenagers to old folks like myself.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Honesty. Dedication and humility.

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

I'll go with the assumption that the majority of people that are in this community are younger than I. Walter Parks and Swamp Cabbage. Dan Walters: consumate bass player and keyboardist tours with Les Dudeck and has a dozen or so CD's out there that no ones heard of. James Hogan one of the best guitar players on the planet.