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Great Wishes and Small

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My very first original music was released in 1982 with the self-titled EASY STREET BAND.  Nearly 40 years later I’m happy to announce my fourth solo album GREAT WISHES AND SMALL.  Here Ive reunited with my old pal and bandmate Donny Thompson (who mixed, engineered co-produced and played some of the instruments) for 13 new recordings. Via digital studio wizardry we assembled many close friends, including  former Mustang Sally Sarah Wilfong and Brigid’s Cross Paul Baker on fiddles, Easy Street Band guitarist  Gary Bones Bonam and Saxophonist Andy Henkel and pianist Terry Fairfax from the Asbury All-Stars . This piece includes some of my thoughts and some comments music professionals, besides it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what you think and at my age I wouldn’t put out something that I didn’t love. As a writer I sometimes go back to unfinished songs and rework the lyrics and structure. For instance, after nearly 40 years Jesse morphed from a quick melody into a spiritual allegory crossing the globe from Missouri to Galilee. The variation in styles is planned and intended to make this collection more a book of short stories than a novel. (Reminiscent of the Robert Martin taboo about putting two songs in the same key together in a set list)
Andy Forsyth at beachfront radio says it’s “well rounded collection of various styles of music from Irish to Folk to Rock to Trop Rock. His originals sound like they could be classics from the past and his covers seem like they could have been his songs.  Two Thumbs Up!!!" 
“Thanks to some slide guitar, the twangy “(They Call Her) the Evenstar” [another resurrection] could pass as the Jayhawks, and with its husky vocals and contemplative lyrics, album closer “We Were There” sounds like something the late Warren Zevon might’ve written.” Jeff Niesel Scene 
I revisited my love for Ohio’s waterways in the factual account of the Sandy and Beaver Canal (and The Ballad of Gretchen’s Lock taken from an East Ohio ghost story) that runs through my ancestral home in Stark and Carroll County.  
“Any way he sang his  great song about the Battle of Lake Erie, which I played on my nationally heard radio show Weekend Radio.  And now he has a new album called "Great Wishes and Small," which is a wide ranging collection that includes a sequel to "The Battle of Lake Erie," telling the ten years later story of the Sandy and Beaver Canal, which was to connect the Ohio and Erie Canal to the Ohio River” – Robert Conrad WCLV Classical 1049, ideastream. 
Among the covers, I tried to find songs related to the water.  “Steve’s version of the oft-covered classic “Shenandoah” is very successful. Without detracting from the simple beauty of the original, his take has a perfect, subtle arrangement that makes another cover worthwhile, and his voice gives the version some big energy. Likewise with his cover of Leonard Cohen’s iconic “Hallelujah”. Steve is faithful to the original classic but adds personal touches that many other covers have lacked, and his vocals have never been better. “- Northeast Ohio radio Legend Bill Hall.   
Adding a pet project from my theatrical background, Jacques Brel Port of Amsterdam, brought us to 13 songs. For a few seconds we considered dropping one of my personal favorites called W Were There. I’m glad I didn’t.
As Karla Tipton of the Barberton Herald writes “The jewel in the crown of "Great Wishes" is the final melodic track, "We Were There," a retrospective of a life lived well, but not without regret. The chorus reflects the autumn years of the Boomers, who lived through the best and worst of the late 20th century, and shared common experiences reflected in the rock music of the times.”
“It takes courage and confidence to sing songs that have already been covered by some of the greatest voices of ours, or any, time. But Simmons pulls it off with understated style. Listening to Great Wishes is an unexpected pleasure in this day when anyone and everyone is a recording artist. Simmons can be proud of this effort, and we are all the better for having listened.”-
Steve Traina, Host
Steve’s Folk Radio Show
WCSB 89.3 fm

Thanks everyone we hope this record brings a fraction of the happiness to you as it brought to us in the process of creating it.

Great Wishes and Small is available on all streaming and download sites and hard copies can be purchased through my website www.westsidesteve.com. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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