Steve Logan is a welsh songwriter and musician now living in and working from Cambridge, UK, who is, as his website puts it, “working across the borderline between acoustic folk and hard-edged, high-octane rock. A song-poet, he focuses on the point where music and poetry meet”. His new album, Backstreets Of Eden, is to be released on March 24th.
The album does something quite special. You know that moment when you’re playing music with others and almost from nowhere ‘it works’. You can be strumming so your ten year old can play percussion and they suddenly get the rhythm or you can be in front of the band and it all clicks? Suddenly you feel this is what music is all about. Unusually for a recording, this album has much of that quality. Like a gig when it all comes together, Backstreets Of Eden rocks.
Logan’s band consists of Phil Bryant (drums), Andy Cross (bass guitar) and Rhys Wilson (electric and acoustic guitars) and they play a mixture of songs influenced by rock (‘Spotlight’, ‘Lucky Dollar’, ‘Skylark’), electric blues (‘Lead In My Pencil’) and the more acoustic (‘Backstreets of Eden’, ‘Paperboy’, ‘Pontymister’, ‘Faker’ and ‘Hyacinth Girl’).
Although there are a greater number of acoustic songs on the album, the electric music drives the feel of Backstreets Of Eden in a way I’ve not found in the back catalogue of Logan’s own music (he also plays in a Free/Bad Company tribute band). The historians amongst you will know there was a point where Crosby Stills & Nash added Neil Young; by bringing the electric guitar and the band more to the fore Backstreets Of Eden similarly adds depth and edge to Logan’s songs.
The lyrics are lengthy but not wordy, describing the modern world in bright colour and with a moral/spiritual slant, for example, “The cop show sprinkles stardust in the city/Modern cowboys cruise the backstreets like they never/Knew the hours between each wrong decision” or “Had a beautiful dream/Of a house on a slope/You were there in the garden/A vision of hope/But the house came to nothing/Like snow on a stream/the bricks are all dust/But I can still feel the dream” – interesting as these lyrics are on the page, like the word-pictures of, say, mid-70’s Al Stewart or Greetings From Asbury Park the words are much better in song.
At the heart of the album are two tracks ‘Yesterday’s Hero Part 1’ and ‘Yesterday’s Hero Part 2’ which together last over 15 minutes. The imagery and the story are rich and it would take a chapter to describe it fully. There are references to the modern rolex-materialistic world at Christmas, contrasts with John and Yoko with their flowers, Father Mackenzie being told religion’s a virus, young men trying to be cool, cars swirling round Hyde Park corner. Part 1 concludes that some of us feel something’s wrong. Part 1 is acoustic; the fuzzy Neil Young guitar in Part 2 is darker and the lyrics take us even deeper into the modern world. There is love, philosophy, family and religion before finishing where Part 1 started – watching the man with the Rolex, this time reflecting on the temporary nature of material success and concluding “And whatever survives us/Like the wings of the dove/Needs the breath to sustain it/Of the spirit of love”.
Definitely: song-poet on the edges between rock and acoustic folk.
Artist’s website: https://www.stevelogan.co.uk
‘While Eagles Fly’: