Mandolin Interview – Stevie


In this series of interviews, we talk to renowned Mandolin players, makers and enthusiasts.
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Three years ago Stevie was fronting country band – Cactus Jack – touring through Germany. Wanting to play more bike rallies and wishing to work solo with the mandolin (with the addition sometimes of harmonica) Stevie started gigging out on his own whilst still with Cactus Jack, opening out his repetoire playing the songs of Steve Earle, Townes Van Zant, Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention, Jimmy LaFave, The Proclaimers, Small Faces, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Alice Cooper !! and so much more.

Along with some of his own material from the Cactus Jack album ‘ …. ain’t nothin’ like PRESSURE ‘ and now new songs from his first solo cd ‘ …. a little further down the line’ just recorded and now on sale at gigs and through his website at £7.00 + £1 p&p. By the end of April 2003 Stevie had finally quit Cactus Jack having played the last two tours as a non-member of the band.

Stevie ‘LIVE’ is gutsy, edgy and raw – a hardcore, barstool troubadour

Stevie ‘LIVE’ is gutsy, edgy and raw – a hardcore, barstool troubadour – with a voice as raw as cigarettes and single malt in a backstreet bar late on a Saturday night. Raised on the south coast of England, Stevie played in a couple of rock bands trying (and sometimes succeeding) to write original songs. Moving to Reading he joined metal band IronHeart and it was around this time he discovered, through local rock show presenter Brian Pithers (R.I.P – Rock In Perpetuity), the music of Steve Earle.

After IronHeart he toured in the UK and France with hard rock band The Pack. Taking a break from music when The Pack split, Stevie eventually joined country band Kane & Co. remaining with them for four years, touring throughout the UK, Germany and Poland, playing on major country festivals in the UK, Spain, France, Poland, Denmark, and Holland, and releasing an album along the way, recorded in Nashville, called ‘ Raising Kane’ .

On leaving Kane & Co. he formed Cactus Jack and toured with them extensively throughout Germany for two years whilst releasing two albums, including the highly acclaimed ‘…ain’t nothin’ like PRESSURE’ of which he wrote a majority of the material.

Over the last three years Stevie has played many bike rallies and parties. Chances are you’ve already seen him. If not, check out the gigs section. Stevie went back to play a few gigs with IronHeart (mainly a charity event in Reading back in February 2004) but left due to lack of time to commit to them – click on the friends links button at the top of this page then go to the link for IronHeart to find out more about this metal band.

The gigs last year were really fun, there were many and to single any one out in particular wouldn’t do the rest justice so thank you to all of you that were there and enjoyed the songs and joined in when prompted. There’s a few new songs creeping into the sets and I’ve still been writing my own stuff, some of which you’ll by now have heard. The Guinness Trees Grow Big In Heaven is proving popular and then there’s Pass Me My Old Mandolin, a song celebrating having a great time on a bike rally – something I do as regularly as possible.

These and around eleven other tracks including So Many Miles To Go, The Truckstop In The Sky, The Devil’s Deal, I Hate This Town and That What You Like all appear on my new cd …. a little further down the line.

If you’re at the gigs do pop over and say Hi and buy yourself a copy of the album.

I play a Harmony mandolin of dubious heritage – I’ve had it years, paid £30 for it from a mate an’ I love it to bits. It’s got a cheap bug of some description that I put on it some years ago an’ I havn’t found anythin’ to touch it for under £300 yet, tho I just bought an Axe resonator mandolin which is bloody loud but not very subtle.

Strings are usually D’adario an’ I use Dunlop .46 picks that I put globs of glue on, so they don’t slip when I’m playin’ ‘cos I have a bit of arthritis in my hands – probably due to too many years of ridin’ motorbikes thru the winter.

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