Stevie Cirkvencic

Jeffrey Steele at Joe’s Pub

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Last night we saw Jeffrey Steele (and band) at Joe’s Pub. If you’re used to Twitter, and only have patience to read one paragraph, then let me describe his show in one word: Wow!

We’ve had it on our list to catch a Jeffrey Steele show for a while now (if you read to the bottom, you’ll find out why). He was in NYC in March, but we were out of town. When I found out he was going to be back now, I jumped on the opportunity immediately.

Jeffrey Steele is one of the giants in Country Music songwriting. Many top artists have cut his songs, including Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, Tim McGraw, etc. I’ve written numerous times about our love for the CMA Songwriters Series at Joe’s Pub (in fact, we have another show there tomorrow night).

We knew we’d enjoy Jeffrey Steele from that angle alone (meaning, seeing a songwriter that has written many songs that we already love), but we had no idea what kind of a show he puts on himself.

Jeffrey Steele is a great singer, and an even better guitar player (blazing electric leads, in Country style, as well as true Rock tradition). Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he’s an exceptional piano player! He also played a bit of harmonica last night. I looked at the credits on one of his albums, and he plays many more instruments, I’m sure all equally well. Mind-boggling!

Jeffrey Steele Guitar

Jeffrey Steele Guitar

Jeffrey Steele Piano

Jeffrey Steele Piano

Jeffrey Steele Harmonica

Jeffrey Steele Harmonica

Stevie Cirkvencic played lead guitar. He’s incredible. Since Jeffrey Steele is himself a great guitarist, for Stevie to make the cut and take leads away from Jeffrey, says all you need to know about Jeffrey’s respect for Stevie’s play (more on that in a bit).

Stevie Cirkvencic

Stevie Cirkvencic

Stevie looked to me to be a dead ringer for Kenny Chesney (under his cowboy hat), and I was suspicious that Kenny was just sitting in with Jeffrey for a laugh. 😉

Tommy MacDonald played the bass. He too was incredible. Jeffrey Steele’s brand of music (even the slow songs) requires a ton of energy, and the bass needs to be interesting and constant, to keep up, and Tommy “Mac” is a perfect complement to Jeffrey and Stevie.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy McDonald

Tom Hambridge on the drums, was also perfect all night. He was the only one who occasionally sang harmony with Jeffrey, though for most of the evening, Jeffrey sang solo. His nickname is “The Hammer”.

Tom Hambridge

Tom Hambridge

The four of them are awesome. In addition to playing some (not enough time to make a serious dent) of Jeffrey’s big hits, they also throw in some classic rock (at times, in the middle of a Jeffrey Steele song, at other times, on it’s own). They played a little bit of Country Joe and the Fish, The Who and ZZ Top!

The point is that they are both a top Country group, and an all-out top-notch Rock group. Basically, whatever they want to be, they deliver!

Here’s the quote that Lois said as we walked out:

Steele: A force of nature with a volcanic yet spiritual soul

We’ve been to Joe’s Pub more times than I can count. For the most part, the sound is very good, though on occasion, not so much. Last night, Jeffrey Steele thanked someone named Steve on sound. I’m glad he called him out, because that guy is a genius on the sound board.

This was flat-out hard rock, and yet, while everything was plenty loud, it was perfectly balanced (you could hear every note on the guitar, piano and bass), and all at a level that made it enjoyable, rather than head-splitting. Bravo!

They were on stage for 110 minutes of bliss. That’s just about the maximum you can squeeze out at Joe’s Pub for a 7pm start, given that there is another show at 9:30pm.

Most headliners call out their band members names at some point in the show, usually toward the very end. Jeffrey Steele is an exception, willingly, happily, joyously sharing the spotlight with his band. After the second number of the evening, he introduced each band member. He repeated their names multiple times during the show, and called them out whenever they were highlighted in a song. We loved every second of it, and all three of them deserved the recognition!

The only distraction that I had during the show is that Jeffrey Steele is the doppelganger for a good friend of mine (also a famous guy in his own right), Dick Hardt. If Dick had Jeffrey’s hair, they could be twins. 😉

If Dick were a rock star, I truly believe that his style and personality on the stage would be very similar to Jeffrey’s. Of course, Dick is a rock star, just in a different industry. 😉

I started blogging purely to document our experiences (most of them wonderful) right after they happen, so that as we age, we will have easy access to these memories. I could have done that in a journal, without making it public in a blog, but others (most notably Rob Page, CEO of Zope Corporation) hounded me to keep it public.

I’m very happy I did. Mostly, because of some amazing personal connections we’ve made through this blog. One such connection is a woman who runs a management company in Nashville (I’ll update this post with her name, and a link, if she says it’s OK).

We’ve met her once IRL (in real life) already, and correspond on a semi-regular basis. During one of those exchanges, she told us that we simply had to see Jeffrey Steele live. She knew that we (Lois in particular) love to see singer/songwriters, and she knew Jeffrey would blow us away. She was right! Thanks!

We can’t wait to see Jeffrey Steele, and Stevie, Tommy and Tom, as soon as practical. Wow!