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Steve McAllister — I Hope You Are Okay
(Vari-Tone 2311, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-09-19

I Hope You Are Okay Cover art

Sometimes as a music journalist you get a CD in a mailer bag without any additional information or instructions, you have no idea about the artist(s) or the history or anything else about them. In this case there was fortunately a little bit of information in the CD jacket, enough so that with some internet research there’s a chance that some additional information can be provided. The one-sentence bio on McAllister’s website states that he’s been a musician his whole life, having composed film scores (though few details are provided), written jingles, game music, performed with orchestras, toured in a van, and composed a few hundred pieces for a variety of clients... though again, few details are provided for any of that — some walk-on music for the World Economic Forum, commercial music for Faraday Future, and the film score for Confession (2020). It appears that I Hope You Are Okay is McAllister’s first album of music under his own name, ten songs showcasing his abilities as a singer-songwriter-player, and several top shelf musicians working with him: McAllister sings, plays bass, piano, and guitar; Mike Keneally is here playing guitars, piano, vibraphone, and recorders; Rafael Bernardo Gayol on drums and backing vocals; and Dave Gregory on guitar, slide, organ, Ebow, Mellotron, and strings, plus a handful of other musicians guesting on this track or that. McAllister writes excellent songs and lyrics that seem to eschew any convenient categorization, Songs like “No,” “Get Yourself Together,”  “Something in the Water,” and “On It Like a Narcotic” are particular standouts, though there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch, generally following a mainstream rock/pop 70s/80s style, all well executed, but nothing super flashy or supremely virtuosic, just enough to service the songs without too much embellishment. It almost seems like McAllister is offering these songs as they are to other artists who might be interested in recording them.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Mike Keneally, Steve McAllister

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