Steve Samsel's latest tunes recorded and released in 2010, "To Get Love" and "Gimmie Back My Love" are like two bright lights that shine brightly from this rock/blues/pop craftsman. Two new great songs, accompanied by four other previously limited releases, that one would've expected, after a listen, would carry the name of someone much more renowned. However, it's not the case in this instance. Steve Samsel is for the most part an unknown singer/songwriter who just happens to have a unique gift for creating individual musical masterpieces. Legendary rocker Spencer Davis recognized Samsel's talent in his song "Blood Runs Hot", which he recorded on his Crossfire album. And make no mistake the song "Gimmie Back My Love" is a blues gem. It sounds as if Samsel wrote the book on the blues when he sings, "If you're never comin' back you gimmie back my love, cause I gave it all to you when you said love was true, I was led on to believe I was in love with you, now gimmie back my love, gimmie back my love…"
Samsel had this to say when I asked him how the new songs came together. "I usually talk myself into things. I tell myself it will be a quick ditty and be completed in no time, but it never is in no time. In this case, it was six months of tracking and swapping ideas with various players and coming up with additional ideas in between. I'm speaking of the two new songs. And I knew some great players, some whom I'd played with and some others I hadn't. I never played in a band with Eric Burgeson (slide - "Gimmie Back My Love"), but I had known him for years. I always knew he had some special talents from years ago when I saw him with his band ShyAnne. A great regional band in the eighties and into the nineties, I believe. Later he joined up with Foghat and they were certainly a great band. So, with Eric I was pretty confident I was going to get some good stuff, I didn't know how good though. I told a friend shortly after he laid down his tracks that I wouldn't of expected more from Clapton, and I meant it. I absolutely love the slide on "Gimmie Back My Love". The melancholy air to it perfectly matches the theme of loneliness in the song. And Eric is one of those players who instinctively knows when to play and when to lay back, which I think is a defining quality in any great musician/artist. And I had previously worked with drummer Mike Bordeman in the band U.S.K. and I had also recorded with bass man Karl Boyer, both very solid players. Mike Deitrich lended a hand on drums on "To Get Love" and Jennifer Kemple on backup vocals. I ended up doing the keys on both songs and the guitars on "To Get Love". An old friend, Chuck Moore laid down strings on "To Get Love". I had attempted to delegate the keys to Chuck, not having a lot of confidence in my own limited ability, but after many ideas and a number of months later, I think we were both losing the enthusiasm we initially had and so it was kind of a mutual agreement that I should take the bull by the, you know, and give it a whirl, and that's what I did. And the songs did get completed and I am very glad I put forth the effort. You see I had written both of these songs quite awhile back and I just always knew in my heart that they were great songs and well worth the effort to record them with good players and produce them properly."
I think your song "To Get Love" is a really great, kind of McCartney-ish type song, but more soulful and with a great message. What inspired you to write that?
"Like I mentioned, I had written both of these songs maybe twenty years ago, but I can recall sitting down with my acoustic one day with the goal of writing something with a unique melody line. And as usual with just jamming around with some guitar ideas and then a line comes out of nowhere and then another and the next thing you know you have something that resembles a song. However, shortly after I had written it I recorded a version of it with the band I was in at the time, U.S.K. and I think I realized it wasn't quite there. So it sat on a shelf so to speak for quite some time. And then, call it fate, but years later, once again I've got my acoustic out and I start fiddling with it and still thought it had great potential, but still needed some work. So, I decided on a more heavy rock approach and tweaked the verses and modulated the second bridge and added some horns and clav and backup vocals with a great singer like Jennifer, and that's when I thought, yeah, that's got some magic to it now. I love the song too. I like listening to it if I'm feeling a bit down. It's a great reminder that giving is the key to it all."
Samsel's latest release "Song Collection" is yet another chapter in a seemingly colorful career as singer/songwriter/screenwriter/filmmaker, novelist and full circle into more music. When I asked him, how did this all unfold? He replied…
"You know, I'm just really creative I guess you might say and I like to do whatever I get the urge or feel to do. You might say I live my life by feel and when I get a bit bored with strumming the guitar I'll try and write. I'm usually always writing. I journal everyday about whatever strikes my fancy you might say, just to get things off my chest. I'm sure it's therapeutic. And now, after penning a half dozen screenplays and completing my first novel, I'm into producing The New Steve and Bongo TV Show, which is a comedic talk show about two out of work musicians, myself and my co-host Bongo the monkey, who've decided to take a crack at the big time and have their own show to promote my new novel, The Adventures of Jonny Law. A great read by the way and on sale on Amazon.com. But the show is, well, like the book is, not that there's a connection - they're just both very zany and comedic. I'm having a good time with it. I wonder sometimes what people who know me might think. He's doing a show with a monkey? Yep. I'll probably be back to recording again sometime soon and when I do I'll stay on the same path and keep on writing songs like I grew up listening to with catchy lyrics, a great melody and a handful of hooks that'll make it resonate in your heart long after it's over. So anyway it's about that time for me and Bongo to, you know, shine, so…see you on YouTube. Keep smilin', peace."