Steven Bruce of Fredericksburg, VA, has been playing in bars since he could begin voting.
Now a decade into his professional career, this key founding member of the acclaimed country rock outfit Whiskey Revival steps out on his brilliant solo debut Same Time, Same Place, Same Station. Recorded in the wake of a divorce and the back-to-back passings of his beloved grandparents, Bruce looked to his favorite albums by Gram Parsons, Tom Petty and Waylon Jennings for solace, inspiring him to write a batch of songs that saluted his honky-tonk heroes while establishing a unique, countrified sound of Bruce’s own.
“I have come to find that I write my best at my worst times,” Bruce tells American Songwriter. “When I am at the edge of the world and all that’s left is to fall into nothing or when the words and emotions within me are at the point of exploding I find that expressing myself through my lyrics and songs is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever felt. There’s a sense of pride that comes along with turning those feelings into art.”
One song off the new album that properly expresses the crossroads where emotion and influence intersect is the first single “Rhinestoned,” which American Songwriter is proud to premiere today as our Daily Discovery.
“I came home from work one evening, back when there was a ‘normal routine,'” he tells American Songwriter in regards to the song’s origins. “I checked the mail on the way in, fed my cats and cleaned their litter box, cooked dinner, etc. I had gotten all my chores done for the ed×vening and was ready to kick back and relax. I threw Gram Parsons’ album GP onto the turntable and kicked back with some potent goodies to help unwind.
“Somewhere between ‘Still Feeling Blue’ and ‘We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning’ I began to open the mail. One of the items ended up being this vintage western style rhinestone pearl snap shirt. My cats were also getting curious at this point and I remember looking down at ‘Emmylou’, my female cat, and saying ‘Man, I’m really getting Rhinestoned tonight.’ I wrote this song as a reminder to myself that no matter how sad and down things can get you have to keep a certain amount of focus on yourself and strive each day to find ways to be a better person and to always work on a better version of yourself.”
For Bruce, who cut Same Time, Same Place, Same Station with crew of local talent including producer E.P. Jackson, harmony vocalists Mackenzie Roark and Karen Jonas, pedal steel guitarist Gary Lee Gimble, and drummers Derrick Decker and Seth Brown, his hope is that this first taste of the album will bring listeners closer to his own state of mine at the time of its creation.
“I wrote this song as a reminder to myself that no matter how sad and down things can get you have to keep a certain amount of focus on yourself and strive each day to find ways to be a better person and to always work on a better version of yourself,” he explains. “I hope people hear ‘Rhinestoned’ and can find a way to do the same in their own lives, maybe everyone will feel a little Rhinestoned and try to be a better version of themselves to make the world a little brighter or sequined.”