by Brian Currin, June 2021
Back in early April 2021, I read a press release announcing a new album coming from Steve Louw and it included the video of a song called “Crazy River”. I loved the big open spaces this song evoked (and enhanced by the video) and the subtle African guitar sounds reminded me of early Johnny Clegg.
I first heard of Steve Louw in 1990 when the cassette version of the “Pop Shop 48” album featured the song “Waiting For The Dawn” by Big Sky as a bonus track. There is actually no real band called Big Sky, it is the name Steve Louw has used when he surrounds himself with the cream of the crop of American and South African musicians.
I first met Steve in March 1998, backstage at the first Rodriguez concert at the Bellville Velodrome, outside Cape Town. Steve and that year’s incarnation of Big Sky were a worthy support act. The rest of Big Sky (led by Steve’s old buddy since the seventies, Willem Möller) also backed Rodriguez for his set. That sold-out tour of South Africa is featured in the Oscar-winning film, “Searching For Sugar Man“.
Steve recorded two albums in the 80’s with his band All Night Radio, and then four albums as Big Sky between 1990 and 2008, as well as a compilation album, “Best Of The Decade” (in 1999), and a live concert DVD recorded over two nights in 2008.
And now he comes blasting back with his first solo album (well, technically) in 13 years. As in his Big Sky days, he has surrounded himself with some top players in their fields. So let’s drop a few names; “Headlight Dreams” was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Kevin Shirley, mastered by Bob Ludwig, liner notes by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (from AllMusic), and a guitar solo on “Wind In Your Hair” by one of my favourite guys from the more recent crop of Blues guitar-slingers, Joe Bonamassa.
Louw also brought in some of the best musos in Nashville, namely Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Alison Prestwood (bass), Rob McNelly (guitars) and Greg Morrow (drums). Steve Louw wrote all the songs and sings and plays acoustic guitar.
This album is filled with great songs, from the bluesy, lyrically hard-hitting “Get Out Of My Heart” to the bouncy “Queen Bee Maybe” with its delightful Hammond organ solo from Kevin McKendree, however my favourite track on this album is the almost proggish “Train Don’t Run”. Clocking in at seven and half minutes this is an epic tune that you hope never finishes. There is a soaring guitar solo by Rob McNelly that David Gilmour fans will love. No surprise to discover that this track was mixed on the same console as the classic “Dark Side Of The Moon“.
If you immerse yourself in the Steve Louw back-catalogue you will find recurring themes and reappearing characters, in a similar vein to Rodriguez, Piet Botha and many others. It is one of the things I love about listening to music, that there are rewards for paying extra attention.
This album can be played in the background, but if you give it your full awareness and dive into its depths you will be rewarded with poetic lyrics melded with great tunes, recorded by superb musicians.
Steve’s enthusiasm for life and love is expressed in every note in this superb creation. “Headlight Dreams” deserves to be listened to over and over again, and if you do, you will get something new every time.
Steve Louw on Social
In less than 3 weeks since the single release with Joe Bonamassa entitled “Wind in your Hair” Spotify figures reveal over 68 000 listeners and over 98 000 streams of the song “Wind in your Hair “ – a remarkable feat!
Steve Louw shines on Headlight Dreams
Cape Town, 7 May 2021 – It’s hard to believe the last new music we heard from Steve Louw arrived seven long years ago. With the wait now finally over, fans right around the world are already embracing the pop/rock icon’s return with arms wide open.
The past year has been a rich and hugely rewarding one for Steve. Not only did Steve record his brand-new album, Headlight Dreams, in Nashville, along with his long-time friend and producer extraordinaire, Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Joe Satriani, Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes), but Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and genius guitarist, Joe Bonamassa also pitched up and added his magic to the record. To boot, SONY ATV, upon hearing the finished album, offered Steve his first international solo artist record deal.
The album now out and with two singles already on high rotation, “Crazy River” and “Wind in your Hair”, the latter is the one that’s quite literally blowing up all around the world. In its first week of release in the US, the track landed at the highly coveted Number Two position on the Billboard ACC Folk Chart, ahead of the likes of the equally commendable Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi.
Along with its spellbinding video, “Wind in your Hair” is the track that sports Joe Bonamassa guitar fills and outstanding middle-eight. What makes this song all the more special for its maker is the fact that Kevin sent it to a friend to master, thereby adding the final piece of magic to this blinding brilliant musical statement.
Steve’s wedding anniversary was coming up two days after the album wrapped and, unbeknownst to Steve at the time, Kevin had sent the track to mastering legend, Bob Ludwig and within a day he’d mastered it and sent it on to Steve on the day as a gift to celebrate his nuptials. “When I got it, I played it on my little Bose speaker out into New York. It was one of the greatest moments ever!” Steve recalls. To top it off, Bob sent an email with the final mastered track saying, “What a wonderful song, what a wonderful vocal performance, I loved working on this”. “I practically did a giddy summersault,” he recalls.
As to the creation of the track, Steve points to how, lyrically, he sings of love changing and building between two people as life throws up detours and bridges. “It’s a love story exploring how two people, who love each other but have different needs and desires, travel through their life and love. The chorus kicks back to the joy of love, while the verses take you on a journey of rough and smooth roads and winding passes, ending at the place they set out for.”
With ten tracks captured in an arresting three-day recording sprint, producer Kevin Shirley channelled each one of Headlight Dreams’ songs through a vintage Neve console inside of a converted church. “From the first moment I loved the acoustics of the studio and the vibe created by the wonderful Nashville musicians with their great feel and playing, drawing you into a world shimmering in the half-light, just out of reach…,” Steve shares.
With the promise of future live shows in support of the album’s release, fans can look forward to sharing what is the greatest ride of Steve Louw’s life. A consummate storyteller, a supremely gifted guitarist and a genuinely wonderful human being, Steve’s Headlight Dreams is a beautiful statement, endorsed and applauded by everyone it touches.
Headlight Dreams is out now via BFD/The Orchard.
April 6 2021, Capetown, SA: Today, much-revered South African singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Louw releases, “Crazy River,” the first track from his forthcoming album, Headlight Dreams to be released in May via BFD/The Orchard.
The song itself is an upbeat, transcendent ode to the beauty of a river, its timelessness against the impermanent world it runs through, and the aspects of ourselves that long to be just like it. Louw, with a rich lifetime of music making under the belt, gets it and embraces the moment. The video puts him occasionally front and center, singing and playing with millennial enthusiasm, yet with the confidence that experience brings, his image juxtaposed with footage and stills of lives lived large against a backdrop of mountains, valleys and rapids. So lush is it all that one could just jump at the screen before getting a hold of themselves.
Says Louw of the song, “I once took a long canoe trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon and out again. It was a very spacy spiritual place and it felt like I was on a journey to the middle of the earth. I wrote this after the trip. On one level the song is about the river trip and the journey deep inside the raw power and beating heart of nature, but it also reflects on time, our time on Earth, how we experience it, and how the bonds of deep personal relationships with our fellow travellers nurture our souls. I played the acoustic guitar using a few African-style riffs and the band picked up on that feel. Guitarist Rob McNelley contributed beautiful slide guitar.”
From the moment he jumped into the South African music scene in the eighties, he was swimming with the best of em. At that time, he fronted All Night Radio, a group that would release two hit records, The Heart’s the Best Part (1984) and The Killing Floor (1986) and establish Louw as a force to be reckoned with on the SA music scene. But in 1990, Steve achieved legendary status after forming Big Sky, who won the honour of Best South African Rock Act in 1996 and were subsequently accepted into the SA Rock Hall of Fame. In 1998, they supported Rodriguez on tour and were incidentally featured in the film, Searching For Sugar Man.
In 2003, Steve collaborated with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Anastacia and Brian May (Queen) on a song called “Amandla” that was performed for the Madiba’s 46664 concert in Cape Town by Beyonce and Bono.
He also played and recorded with the aforementioned Rodriguez, Blondie Chaplin and Kevin Shirley, who produced Headlight Dreams. The new album also features a guest spot from heroic guitarist Joe Bonamassa on “Wind In Your Hair.”
Stream/download “Crazy River” here: https://orcd.co/SteveLouwCrazyRiver
Pre-save/pre-add/pre-order Headlight Dreams here: https://orcd.co/SteveLouwHeadlightDreams
For more information, please visit: http://stevelouw.com/
And for any media inquiries, please contact:
Martin Myers / Jason Curtis
083 448 4475 / 082 555 5993
During lockdown guitarist Michael Currin often sent drummer Stephen Timm and lyricist Toast Coetzer some guitar tracks he had come up with. These were sent via their WhatsApp group and after a while conversation drifted in the direction of ‘Why don’t we make a little album out of this?’ “Satelliet” is a 6-track EP built around Michael’s guitar compositions, with Toast writing lyrics for some of them (“Ice Pyramid” is Michael’s epic solo instrumental!), and Stephen adding the finishing touches during production. It’s lo-fi as an old fence-post, but we think you’ll like it! Download it for free on our Bandcamp page.
Featuring Robin Auld, Steve Walsh, Simon Orange, Tonia Möller, Schalk Joubert, Willem Möller, Kevin Gibson, Mauritz Lotz & Nico Mac
“Lockdown Blues” is a blues song created and performed by the Bottom Barrel Blues Band – a collaboration of prominent South African contemporary musicians. It was recorded individually by the artists in isolation during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
True to the nature of the blues, “Lockdown Blues” is an uplifting, bitter-sweet tune depicting the challenges of life under lockdown regulations. It is produced by the Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), a Cape Town based not for profit company, creating opportunities for local contemporary musicians.
During the Covid-19 pandemic many musicians have experienced a harsh decline or complete halt in income due to lockdown regulations and the ban on public gatherings. But despite these challenges, musicians will always express themselves, practice their craft and collaborate.
We therefore urge you to please support your local musicians by continuing to buy their albums, follow their online and streaming initiatives or by making a financial donation.
For more info on how you can donate to contemporary musicians in South Africa, please contact the Cape Town Music Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ― Billy Joel
Music by Robin Auld
Lyrics by Nico Mac/Robin Auld/Simon Orange
Video created & edited by Schalk Joubert
Arranged, Mixed & Mastered by Robin Auld
Executive Producer – The Cape Town Music Academy
Robin Auld – Vocals, Guitar & Harmonica
Simon Orange – Vocals & Keyboards
Steve Walsh – Vocals
Tonia Möller – Vocals
Kevin Gibson – Drums
Schalk Joubert – Bass
Willem Möller – Guitar
Mauritz Lotz – Guitar
Rustin Reiners’ project opens with “Ocean”, a track that captures the young adult nostalgia of missing something that you’ve never had. The soothing, calm vocals and light-hearted instrumental complement the feeling of being so caught up in your own head that you forget to be present. Lyrics like, “These memories inside my head/ They’re incomplete/ They’re fading fast” and “I like to think back to when the ocean came and it went/ And I felt something more than this” evoke a sensation of being so tired of existing purely for the sake of existing. The aching desire to feel something that pulls you out of a life on autopilot is prevalent.
The EP effortlessly flows into “How Long”, which feels like the moment of reflection that comes with accepting who you are as a whole. It is admitting to yourself the things that you felt, and navigating to every corner of your mind, regardless of how dark it may appear. This introspection appears in lyrics like “How long have I been afraid of my own shadow?/ How long have I tried to disappear?” The simple rhythmic guitar, clean production, controlled vocals and alluring lyrics make for a sombre and thoughtful song that will leave you wondering how long it will be before the very view before your eyes goes from extraordinary to ordinary, as every view grows old and all eyes grow weary. Rustin asks himself, “How long will I sing the same song?/ How long ‘til this means nothing at all?”
“Young Hearts” is a track that will take you straight back to your first love; the youthful, fearless, unfiltered love that becomes almost impossible to feel again once it passes. The track plays on the thought of how once the fear of life’s calamities finds its place in your mind, it’s difficult to recapture that same untainted feeling you got from your youth. “Young Hearts will feel any and everything/ Young hearts are nothing like they seem/ We’re all dying to feel any and everything/ No matter all the pain it brings” is a testament to feeling; and how whether it be negative or positive, it is the desire to feel that overpowers everything. The song has a catchy and light hearted tone that will leave you bobbing your head the whole way.
In “Think of Change” Rustin explores the dangerous nature of getting too comfortable, and how, despite knowing it as certain, change always takes people by surprise. “You were all I’ve known for so long/ I didn’t think of change” is an ode to the gut wrenching feeling that occasionally comes with change. It is a calming, reflective piece of music that really plays on the heart strings as Rustin delivers smooth vocals with harmonious precision over a beautiful melody.
“Memories” is the perfect close. It’s the acknowledgement that the only things in life that matter are the things you’ll look back on with fondness; the things that made you feel a certain way. It is a sombre, beautiful, symphonic reflection of what your mind has been through. It is the happy confusion of not knowing which memories were dreams and which were real, and the realisation that it does not matter. Lyrics like “I’ve lived my life through pictures of memories/ I couldn’t tell you why it means so much to me” and “I can’t trust my mind, it tells me lies” accentuate a blurred reflection of life; where the internal feeling far outweighs the external events. The song itself is a gripping ambience that builds up with nostalgia as it goes along, and Rustin really shows off his vocal ability with controlled harmonies and serene singing. “Now it’s too late/ I’m losing what’s left of me” is the last hurrah of reflection, as like everything else, memories too eventually fade.
“Memory is Fiction” is a beautiful contemplation of the significance of time and what it means to exist.
Part of a series of mixes of random tunes, from the past, present and the future, covering a wide range of genres and styles.
Expect the unexpected.
This mix features a bunch of South African Pop, Blues & Rock tunes, released between 2003 and 2019.
Piet Botha passed away on the 2nd June 2019.
Johnny Clegg passed away on the 16th July 2019.
Please also take a listen to:
A mix of new and recent tunes from South African artists from various genres including pop, house, indie rock, ska, r&b, soul and more.
“Die Kind Is Nog Jonger”
(The Child Is Still Younger)
36-artist double tribute album
a Flamedrop Productions & Sound Action Promotions release
“Die Kind Is Nog Jonger”, the much anticipated multi-artist tribute album to acclaimed South African poet Ingrid Jonker is seeing the light of day on Friday 3 June!
It will be released on double CD and download (the limited edition vinyl pressed in the UK will only be available from July)
– CD cat. # : FDROP 002
– LP cat. # : FRDOP 003
Jonker’s daughter Simone (and husband Ernesto of Sound Action) passed her mother’s timeless words on to 36 diverse artists, to interpret as the poetry moved them. The result was a deep, passionate, exciting and undeniably relevant piece of art, bringing a literary icon and South African music together for a brand new rebirth, not only for Jonker’s words that still resonate half a century after her tragic death, but also refocusing the lens on what local music as a whole, and Afrikaans music in particular can, and should be – world class.
It is however not limiting, with 11 of the 36 songs English translations.
The artists on this independent release span 5 decades (including living legends, struggle era stalwarts, award winners, well-known and new names, expatriates & some internationals), and encapsulate a vast array of genres further expanding this historic collection’s appeal (please see all participants in the track listing below).
Sample clip of all tracks at
Some videos have been produced for selected tracks, with more on its way.
They can be accessed in the Ingrid Jonker playlist at www.youtube.com/FlamedropProductions
For on-line shoppers the first CD run will be available to order at www.raru.co.za and www.loot.co.za or on foot it can be picked up at indie record stores like Revolution and Mabu Vinyl (Cape Town), High Fidelity (Killarney Mall, Joburg), Top CD and Music Moods (Pretoria / Centurion area). Various countrywide Exclusive Books branches will be stocking it soon with more stores & outlets to be added.
The digital option for worldwide mp3 download is currently available via CD Baby:
while in the next few weeks all major download stores will have it available, from iTunes, Google Play and Amazon mp3, to streaming services like Spotify and new South African location Liedjie.com
Get all details, updates and where the collection can be acquired at:
1. Ingrid Jonger, Tim Parr & Dawie Goldberg – Toemaar Die Donker Man
2. Ernestine Deane – Die Kind
3. Anton Goosen – ‘n Hemel Vol Blou Akkers (Plant Vir My ‘n Boom André)
4. Stefan Strydom (feat. Gert Vlok Nel) – Ingrid
5. Jennifer Ferguson – Windliedjie
6. Abraham van Geenbybel – Donker Stroom
7. Rambling Bones – Summer (For Simone)
8. Falling Mirror – 25 December 1960
9. Andrew Kay – Fragment
10. Terminatryx – Ontvlugting
11. mike dickman – I Went In Search Of My Body
12. Tonia Möller – Man En Vrou
13. The Wilde Junge – Police Protection Guaranteed
14. André van Rensburg – Liedjie Van Die Troebadoer
15. The SlashDogs – Lied Van Die Graf Grawer
16. The Sighs Of Monsters – Drawing
17. Die Naaimasjiene – Mamma
18. Robbi Robb (feat. Amritakripa) – Face Of Love
1. Inge Beckmann – Korreltjie Sand
2. Kalahari Surfers – Klein Hande
3. Jim Neversink – Bitterbessie Dagbreek
4. Beeskraal Revival – Verlore Stad
5. Daniel Eeuwrick (feat. Piet Botha) – Aan Uys Krige
6. Somerfaan – Ontnugtering
7. Anne Van Schothorst – Ek Het Gedink
8. Ivan Kadey – Tokolosh
9. Radio Rats – Deep Dark Introverted Girl
10. Francois Breytenbach Blom & Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind
11. Eckard Potgieter – Ontvlugting
12. Victor Wolf – Ballade Van Drie Vriende
13. The CapTn (feat. Julie Hartley) – Reclaimed Land
14. Juliana Venter – Hierdie Reis
15. Dirk Ace – Van ‘n Skilder
16. The McClones – I Am With Those
17. Mavis Vermaak – Heimwee Na Kaapstad
18. Zaria – Begin Somer
Album conceived & compiled by Ernesto Garcia Marques & Simone Jonker
Produced by Paul Blom & Ernesto Garcia Marques
Executive Producers: Paul Blom & Jacques Blom
Honorary Executive Producers: Deon Maas, Joyce Gonin, Marq Vas,
Anne Myers, Eckard Potgieter, Andrew King, Salomé Theart-Peddle
Mastered by Peter Pearlson
Cover ocean scene artwork by Vernon Swart / Ingrid Jonker portrait
by Jonel Scholtz / Cover design & layout by Paul Blom
Finally, after 7 years, the release of Anna Davel’s latest solo album “Moment”.
With 13 brand-new original, soulful tunes composed by her over the past decade. Titles like “Missing string” (How some people leave behind an everlasting emptiness), “Photograph” (The sad realization that your memory of a lost love’s image is slowly fading), “Kompas” (how your heart finds its own way in spite of our attempts to remain headstrong), “Afrika se son” (For Anna’s brothers who live overseas) and “Sondagmiddag” (The beauty of fleeting moments, like this autumn afternoon in May with a dear friend).
The production and arrangements of “Moment” were masterfully put together by legendary SAMA and EMMY winner JB Arthur, producer of amongst others Freshly Ground and Watershed, and also the Film score creator of Story of an African Farm and the official FIFA 2010 campaign. Some of SA’s best and internationally acclaimed musicians, such as Matthys Maree (piano), David Klassen (Drums), Denny Lalouette (Bass), Nathan Smith en Juan ‘Floors’ Oosthuizen (guitars), are featured on Moment.
Order the CD at www.raru.co.za
Digital downloads from www.itunes.com
Enquiries – email@example.com
Listen to the full album on www.soundcloud.com
Stores that stock the album: Music Moods (Woodlands/Centurion/ORT), Music4U (Colonnade), Graffiti Bookshop (Lynwood bridge mall)