‘Soulfire’ by Little Steven (Album)

Little Steven ‘Soulfire’ album cover
Steven Van Zandt. Photo: Frantogian/Creative Commons

Steven Van Zandt: “I can’t just do a collection of songs, that doesn’t work for me.” Photo: Frantogian/Creative Commons

Legendary artist Steven Van Zandt’s first solo album in nearly two decades sees him revisiting some of his finest songs

Little Steven 'Soulfire' album coverIt’s difficult to know where to start when discussing the latest Little Steven album. One quick glance and any fan would be forgiven for thinking this was simply a best of. But one spin will reveal a very different story.

Firstly, there are a couple of new or unreleased songs; title track Soulfire; I Saw The Light, which was partly written for Richie Sambora & Orianthi; and The City Weeps Tonight.

The album focuses on the horns-meet-guitars approach he first established on Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes’ first three albums. As Steven Van Zandt explains: “I’ve always been very thematic with my work, very conceptual… I can’t just do a collection of songs, that doesn’t work for me. In this case, the concept became me. Who am I?” He goes on to say, “So there are a couple of covers, a couple of new songs, and some of what I feel are the best songs I’ve written and co-written over the years. This record me is doing me.”

Van Zandt put together a 15-piece band to accompany him on the record. They include three backing vocalists and a full horn section. The band will also follow him on an international tour.

The overall sound of the album clearly indicates Van Zandt’s love of music from a bygone era, and that is not meant in a derogatory way. What this record does is put all that forced corporate nonsense to one side and says: this is honest music from the soul. It’s raw material that is rounded and smoothed through a labour of love.

Even if you’ve never listened to a Little Steven album before, this album is worth the investment. It has more soul than any record released in years, and with a little doo-wop thrown in the mix, the album will make the perfect soundtrack to your summer.

Verdict: Too good for words, just listen

David Chrzanowski

USA Songwriting Competition 2024

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