Ian Steinberg —5 June 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
“What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?
One has claws at the end of its paws, the other has a pause at the end of its clause.”
-Ian Steinberg, demonstrating his potential as a stand-up comic
On Wednesday, June 5th, Ian Steinberg brought his indie-folk sound to Rocket Shop. Accompanied by Dahne Duffy on electric guitar and Lucas Tabshey on bass, Ian lit up the station with his acoustic guitar and poetic vocals. The group played three songs off of Ian’s new album, Guidance. Ian plays a folk style which incorporates elements of Neil Young, Dr. Dog, and The Tallest Man on Earth. His single, "Across the Bay," was featured on The Indie Folx’s "Best of Indie Folk 2017" list.
Ian’s music exists at an intersection. He brings together the soul of campfire songs, the musings of Bob Dylan, and the nuanced musicianship found in classical music. The first two influences come from Ian’s musical tastes, but the latter comes from his classical upbringing and education at Ithaca. Ian was raised on classical piano, including artists like Chopin and Debussy, and he studied classical guitar while attending Ithaca’s musical conservatory. All together, these influences produce his unique indie-folk sound. And though he evokes the smoky scent and crackling sound of campfires, Ian’s new album Guidance was produced in quite the opposite setting: his bedroom.
With a KM184, his computer, a few instruments, and (we presume) a few mugs of homemade coffee and his favorite blanket, Ian produced Guidance. And “produced” is an understatement. Ian wrote, played, recorded, and mixed his entire 14-track album, with the exception of the drum tracks and a few guest performances. Ian’s album explores many topics, but he likes to boil it down to “a spiritual journey through depression.” Ian expands this, saying, “The crux of Guidance is my descent into and rise out of depression, along with all of the aspects and events of life that have influenced my outlook.” He dips his lyrical mind into topics of loss, love, family, masculinity, and vulnerability. His muses come from both personal events and emotions. His song “And Now” ruminates on the hole left by a friend’s overdose, and “Bad Luck” follows fictional reflections of life’s bad sense of humor.
Ian has been creating and performing music in the Burlington area since 2013, and you can check out all of his work on any music streaming service as well as his website and his Bandcamp. And be sure to check out Guidance, which released yesterday! Physical copies, including vinyl, are available on his website. Follow Ian on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates, announcements, and information on upcoming shows. Ian and company will be performing multiple gigs this July at Sidebar, Tap Twenty-Five, and Farmhouse Tap & Grill.
Support Ian with a listen and a purchase of his album!
“We’re trying to take this as far as we can.”
- Ian Steinberg, on Rocket Shop
Text by Luke Vidic
Photo by James Lockridge.