Steve Strauss: Just Like Love
Stockfisch Records SFR 357.4036.2
"Just Like Love"
Steve Strauss (vocals & guitar)
Chris Jones (guitars, dobro)
Christina Lux (backing vocals)
Hrolfur Vagnsson (accordion)
Jean-Marie Peschiutta (mandolin)
Michael Kleinhans (tuba)
Hans-Jörg Maucksch (fretless bass)
Grischka Zepf (electric bass)
Beo Brockhausen (saxophones, glass harp, flute, gaida, bagpipes, tin whistle, autoharp, sarod, percussion)
With “Powderhouse Road“, Steve Strauss proved himself to be a singer/songwriter of remarkable depth of feeling and sensitivity. This is also true of just like love. The songs of Steve Strauss are, once again, not exactly easy to approach. Maybe some elements of his art can be attributed to his job as a social worker in Vestal, NY. Bitter-sweet melancholy, but also a trace of cynicism gets hold of the listener at the same time.
Steve Strauss with his laid-back style of guitar playing (a quality further developed by fellow Stockfisch musicians like Chris Jones) is none other than – a poet. You can feel this when he sings of the golden era of youth spent in the shadow of the Argyle Bridge when war was only real “in far-off countries”. You can feel this when in “Angel”– in the beginning meant to be a comment on life in New York, which after September 11th reached an even deeper level of meaning – he sings of emptiness, loneliness, homelessness.
In just like love Strauss creates a mixture of traditional tunes and touchingly naive lyrics (“Sunday Best”) and critical views of society (as in his cover version of the Springsteen classic “Youngstown”). While even in “Jerusalem” (“Powderhouse Road”) he sounded a bit like T.S. Eliot’s poem "The Journey of the Magi”, the title track “Just Like Love” and the cryptic “The Dirt” are introspective musings, and Steve’s play reaches a dreamlike intensity.
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