I heard about Steven Taetz from my friend JD Doyle at Queer Music Heritage, like many others. JD told me about him, and thought I would like his music. As both my friend and a fellow music lover, I as excited to hear the debut from the handsome Canadian. With a bit of research, I learned the singer/songwriter was based out of Toronto, Canada. I also learned the out and proud musician is inspired to rite music featuring the country in which he lives. He was also inspired by Canadian artists, and asked several if they might be interested in writing with him. He was thrilled with the response, and he collaborated with award-winning artists including Adaline, Emma-Lee, Peter Katz, Leela Gilday, The Wild Strawberries, Tara MacLean, and Geraldine Hollett of The Once. I also could not help but notice Steven is a handsome man, making the search for pictures a bit more fun. But not as much fun as listening to his music, I am thrilled to admit.
At the end of September, he released his debut, the self-titled album 'Steven Taetz'. The 8-song collection contains songs written by Taetz and the artists listed above, an interesting amalgam of Pop and Folk. The production is a beautiful balance between acoustic and lush, never leaving me wishing for more of anything. The first song was written by Taetz and Adaline. "End of the Lonely Road" blends the aforementioned genres, while adding a touch of Country to the mix. I get the delicious taste of life on the road, a restless soul yearning for home. That is followed by "Waiting for Wishes", a ukelele-driven song co-written with Emma-Lee. Light, frothy, and delectable, the songs shows a strong range, with a nostalgic softness in the verse, while allowing his voice to rise and soar in the chorus. There is such a warmth that is burns in this song, I want to listen again and again. The third track is "Unspoken", a wonderful Pop nugget, both classic and timeless. It is a beautiful ballad, as you can hear in the next clip of Steven singing in a live performance.
Taetz wrote the next track, "Midnight Sun", with Leela Gilday. There is a stunning beauty in this lament, a heaviness of heart that never dampens the spirit. "Drive" is the next song, a song he had written a few years ago that achieved much success as an Electropop Dance track. On the album, Taetz peels back the production to a more acoustic feel, keeping the Pop but leaving the high octane for the original version. The song, written by Taetz, The Wild Strawberries and Gavin Bradley. While I couldn't find the album version, here is the radio edit for the Dance remix. This is Kenneth Thomas feat. Roberta Harrison & Steven Taetz on "Drive".
To be truthful, I love both version, and wouldn't want to have just one. "True North" is the next song playing, with a simple beginning, just Taetz and the piano. Soon, the strings come into play, and Steven allows his voice to tell the story with a magnificent honesty that touches my heart so. from the first notes of "Calm Before the Storm", there is a stunning vulnerability, an uncertainty that is nearly palpable in his voice. There is something inherent in the song that makes me think of the some of the great songs which offers more heart than most Pop can dream of. I want more like that. There is an eerie feel to the final track on the album, "The Miner's Hymn". The song, co-written with Geraldine Hollett, maintains a Pop sound while delivering a Folk song, proud of the message it delivers. The song veers between prayer and preaching, the plight of miner's leaving more than enough room for both. The album is a wonderful aural journey, the songs skimming over the musical landscape, while he paints the horizons with a beautiful voice that manages to give lightness and darkness, as well as the many hues of life. This album was such a delightful surprise, an unexpected treat, I am just so very grateful to have someone share this gift. I also found a live performance of the fourth track, "Midnight Sun", to share with you.
To learn more about Steven Taetz, visit his official website. There you can listen to the album, find some great pictures, and check out his touring schedule. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter. You can purchase his eponymous debut from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. It would be a great addition to any music library.