FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STEVE ADDABBO RELEASES PREMIERE SOLO ALBUM, OUT OF NOTHING, SINGER, SONGWRITER, MUSICIAN, PRODUCER, ENGINEER, AND STUDIO ACE
COMPLETES NEW ALBUM AT HIS SHELTER ISLAND SOUND STUDIOS
GUEST APPEARANCES BY ERIC ANDERSEN, LARRY CAMPBELL, JOHN PATITUCCI, STEVE HOLLEY, ANTHONY DA COSTA, ANA EGGE, AND OTHERS
(New York, NY – May 3, 2016) Multi-talented musical polymath Steve Addabbo – singer, songwriter, musician, producer, engineer, and studio ace extraordinaire – steps out of the shadows with Out Of Nothing, the first solo album of his long and storied career, and the newest long-player to emerge from his Shelter Island Sound studios in midtown Manhattan. Buy it: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/steveaddabbo or on the music page of this website.
Out Of Nothing benefits from guest appearances by a stellar round of friends that Addabbo has made along the way. Folk hero Eric Andersen (and his violinist Michele Gazich) and young folk/Americana boomers Anthony da Costa and Caitlin Canty, master jazz bassist John Patitucci, fellow journeyman Larry Campbell and his bassist Byron Isaacs, alt-country dark horse Ana Egge, and respected New York session drummer Steve Holly (ex-Paul McCartney & Wings) are just a few who are along for the ride.
Addabbo, the man behind-the-mix-console for the 400+ tracks found on Bob Dylan’s recent Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (Another Self Portrait 1969-1971), Vol. 12 (The Cutting Edge 1965- 1966) and Jeff Buckley’s “You and I”, is perhaps best known for jump-starting the major-label recording careers of Suzanne Vega and Shawn Colvin. But his discography as producer and engineer also includes records with artists as varied as Richard Barone (whose ongoing Pledge Music-funded project, Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, is being completely done at Shelter Island Sound) and his band the Bongos, Rory Block, Peter Himmelman, Sonya Kitchell, David Massengill, Bobby McFerrin, Jason Miles, Willie Nile, Jane Olivor, Richard Shindell, Olivia Newton-John, Ben Sidran, Loudon Wainwright, and Dar Williams, to name just a few.
Out Of Nothing is as much a tribute to Addabbo’s chops as a musician – on vocals, guitars, slide guitar, lap steel, bass, piano, electric piano, and Hammond B-3 organ (along with drum programming, percussion, and a string arrangement on the instrumental “Bea’s Theme” for mom) – as it is to his abilities as a songwriter, with an intuitive grasp on what makes a great tune. With its playlist of original compositions, Out Of Nothing is solidly rooted in the rock, folk and country streams in which Addabbo has been trucking ever since he was a teenager.
Suzanne Vega is one of many accomplished singer-songwriters in Addabbo’s orbit. He co-produced her first two landmark albums, the self-titled debut (1985, with “Marlene On the Wall”) and follow-up Solitude Standing (1987, with “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner”). In between, Suzanne and Steve co-wrote “Left Of Center” for Pretty In Pink, which turned into a collaboration with Joe Jackson on the brat pack classic movie soundtrack (1986). Three decades later, “Left Of Center” (“If you want me, you can find me/ left of center...”), featuring Patitucci, shows off a contrasting part of its persona on Out Of Nothing.
Two of the tracks on Out Of Nothing feature harmony vocals by Austin favorite Ana Egge, who co-wrote both tunes with Addabbo. (Five of her albums, including her newest self- produced Bright Shadow, in 2015, were done at Shelter Island Studio with Steve at the controls.) “Empty Plates” is the kind of thoughtful country ballad that Addabbo loves. “Motorcycle” (which Ana first recorded for her 2011 album, Bad Blood, produced by Steve Earle) sneaks up in your rear view mirror with no warning. “Motorcycle” was first heard by millions as the closing credits theme for MTV’s 2007 reality series, I’m From Rolling Stone.
Nowhere is country served up better than “These Old Country Songs,” an Addabbo original, inspired by hearing some vintage chestnuts on one of New York’s many college radio stations that still play the music. Larry Campbell on pedal steel, Byron Isaacs on upright bass, and Americana darling Caitlin Canty (who sings harmony throughout the album, and who worked on her Golden Hour album with Addabbo) make this one of the high points on Out Of Nothing. “Larry and I go way back to the ’70s,” Steve says, “the studios, the Lone Star, O’Lunney’s on 2nd Avenue and 48th Street, all the country bars. Playing four-five hours a night, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings. I have a real sweet spot for country music.”
Towering above them all is Eric Andersen. The down-to-earth folk icon, who shows up at the Fender Rhodes on “My Emmylou,” looms large in Steve’s world as both collaborator and influence. He worked on four of Eric’s albums, namely Ghosts Upon the Road (1989), Stages (1991, the ‘lost’ album follow-up to 1972’s Blue River), Memory Of the Future (1998), and You Can’t Relive the Past (2001, with Lou Reed). Steve can be seen playing lead guitar on many of Eric’s concert dates around the northeast these days. “My Emmylou” is a wistful folk-country ballad about fate and life-sized mistakes: “...Oh I know that I’m dreaming, and fairy tales don’t come true/ but that won’t stop me from lookin’ for my Emmylou.”
“My Emmylou,” “These Old Country Songs,” and the instrumental “Bea’s Theme” are three of the six originals that Addabbo penned on Out Of Nothing. ‘Story songs’ like “Steam,” “River Town” (homage to the Hudson), and “A Shot in the Dark” (“a shot in the dark, a bump in the night/ a sound so clear, a bright spotlight...”) show off his old soul.
Addabbo’s chief songwriting collaborator (and secret weapon) is Alison Woods, a poet and lyricist he has known for quite some time, so their five compositions on Out Of Nothing represent years of fine tuning. These range from the all-out rock and roll of “Cynthia’s Kiss” and “This Is Paradise,” to the introspective “Oasis,” the title tune “Out Of Nothing,” and soul-baring closing track, “Reasons.”
“I’ve never liked records where people are too specific about their emotions, go to a shrink, I don’t want to hear it in a song,” Addabbo says. “Of all the experiences I’ve had playing in shitty bars, working in recording studios, watching people become famous, not become famous, the fact that you’re too old to rock and roll is bullshit, I just keep getting better. And I feel like this year has completely turned around for me. I’m just going to do what I do and embrace that. These are the songs I write – this is how I play the guitar.”
About Steve Addabbo:
Born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, the first record Steve Addabbo bought was Del Shannon’s “Runaway.” Addabbo started playing guitar in ninth grade, copying songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees, among others. At the same time, he harbored a love of electronics and gadgets, building hi-fi amplifiers and receivers from kits he bought at Lafayette stores and the back pages of Popular Electronics, and recording himself on 2-track machines. Accepted at MIT, he thought twice about the geek factor, and opted to attend nearby State University of New York at Stony Brook. There he declared a double major in engineering and music (under the tutelage of the great Isaac Nemirov), which gave him the advantage of an added year on his student draft deferment during the Vietnam War era. Instead of graduating in 1972, he would graduate in 1973, but in 1973, the draft ended. Lucky for him too, because when the draft lottery originated, he was number 8. “My first Top 10 hit,” he says.
At Stony Brook, Addabbo met Ron Fierstein (one year ahead), on his way to becoming a lawyer, who had already been in and out of rock bands and was gigging regularly back home in Brooklyn. Ron and Steve formed a duo that began playing at Stony Brook coffee houses on and off campus (“we opened for Josh White Jr., once”). This grew into the six-piece band, Arbuckle. One member worked at Billboard, and knew about Victor Milrose & Alan Bernstein (writers of the hit, “This Girl Is A Woman Now” for Gary Puckett & the Union Gap), who were looking to produce a young band. Arbuckle soon found themselves at Media Sound Studios on 57th Street recording their one and only LP for the Musicor label. They toured the country, even opened for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at the Roxy Theatre in Philadelphia, after Greetings From Asbury Park had come out. A year later, Bruce was on the cover of Time and Newsweek, and Addabbo was driving a taxi in Brooklyn, in between gigs.
Working in the band for two years with singer Bobby Miranda and the Happenings (“See You In September”), during a session at the Hit Factory on 48th Street with Hank Medress & Dave Appell in 1977, Steve had his aha! moment: “How do I get a job here? If I had to sing ‘I Got Rhythm’ one more time, I’d shoot myself.” When he told Hit Factory owner Eddie Germano about his degree in music and electronics, he was hired on the spot. Steve applied his technical know-how to maintaining the studio’s electronics and watched the engineers and producers at work. He installed the first MCI console at a New York studio. When a studio room was empty at night, he’d invite friends over to record, learning his craft as he went along.
After 18 months at the Hit Factory, Addabbo was wooed away by the more established Sterling Sound at 1790 Broadway. At first, after learning how to align a cutting lathe, he became their chief engineer, while also cutting lacquer masters. Soon he was in charge of five mastering rooms and one copy room. It was an amazing time, Steve recalls: “Tom Petty, Damn the Torpedoes, Toto with ‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna,’ Foreigner’s ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, producers like Jimmy Ienner, Phil Ramone, Jack Douglas, Don Gehman and Paul Samwell-Smith.” While still at Sterling, he made a side deal with Celestial Sounds on East 48th Street to keep their studio up and running in exchange for studio time. “And that’s when I really started to become a producer/engineer. I had time to myself – didn’t have to answer to anybody.” By 1983, Addabbo was shuttling between both jobs, engineering sessions for R&B acts like Melba Moore and the Manhattans at Celestial, and doing demo projects there; and cutting lacquers at Sterling for the likes of Carly Simon (Torch). Steve was now starting to meet and befriend the A&R execs at record labels who signed and developed acts.
By this time, Ron Fierstein had tired of his traditional law career and approached Addabbo with the idea of putting together a company. “I’ll do the business, you do the music.” AGF took its moniker from the Addabbo penned Arbuckle single, “All Good Friends,” and sublet offices in Times Square. Before long, a friend steered them to a young girl playing Folk City, Suzanne Vega, and they arranged a demo session at Celestial. They soon found themselves in the midst of a well-documented bidding war for Suzanne’s music between A&M and Geffen Records (which A&M won). As a management and production company, AGF would open offices and a studio on West 21st Street and over the next 15 years or so also go on to work with Shawn Colvin, Willie Nile, Ana Egge, Richard Shindell, Mary Chapin Carpenter and many others. When AGF’s lease ran out in 2005, and Ron decided he’d had it with music, Steve moved six blocks away and set up Shelter Island Sound on West 27th Street. His first clients were producer Jack Douglas, working with the New York Dolls and Bo Diddley. The rest, as they say, of course, is history.