Steve Yanek/Long Overdue/Primitive Records
3.5 Out of Five Stars
Although its title may have suggested otherwise, Steve Yanek’s first album, Across the Landscape (2005), didn’t exactly make tremendous gains. Granted, it did receive some kudos from the critics and extensive airplay on Triple A radio. Sadly though, the public didn’t buy in. It did get noticed in Europe but sadly, Yanek seemed destined for obscurity here at home.
Hopefully then, the aptly-named Long Overdue provides a promise of changing all that. Released on his own independent Primitive Records label, it reflects his undiminished determination. It boasts an impressive cast of supporting musicians as well, including Jeff Pevar of the Crosby Stills and Nash touring band on acoustic, electric, and resonator guitar, lap steel, bass, and backing vocals, renowned drummer Kenny Aronoff, Little Feat’s Billy Payne on piano, the late Rod Morgenstein of the Dixie Dregs on drums, and T Lavitz, also of the Dregs, on keyboard. Yanek himself wrote the words and music, sang the songs, and played acoustic and electric guitars and piano.
Happily, the results reflect the talent involved. The title track is a sturdy rocker that attracts ample attention from the get-go. “Like Now” carries a similar sense of desire and determination, qualities that have driven him from the beginning. Been a long time, been a long road, he proclaims, aptly summing up his sentiments. Notably, while many of the songs focus on disappointment and shortcomings, Yanek’s resolve remains intact. Songs such as “All The Sorrow,” “Everyone’s Crazy These Days,” “About This Time,” and “Throw Me Down A Line” sum up that stance, but happily both melancholia and melody remain both balanced and in sync.
Living ain’t easy, life will take its toll, the latter song suggests. Hang off that ledge only makes you old….everybody needs help sometimes.
Credit Yanek with being so willing to express his inner feelings and making himself so vulnerable, all at the same time. Suffice it to say Long Overdue was well worth the wait.