Q&A with David Steinhart (The Furious Seasons) - acoustic music with folk, Americana and “kind of jazz overtones”

"Certainly, folk music has always been a way to address social injustice of all types. Not to mention that it's also just beautiful and soulful and incredibly varied. Of course, the music of the 60's gave voice to the concerns and desires of a whole generation and the impact was huge. Today, rap music reaches that large group and chronicles the issues of the day in much the same way that folk has for generations. In a lot of ways it's the new folk."

The Furious Seasons: Back To The Roots

The Furious Seasons are the Steinhardt Brothers, David on acoustic guitars and vocals, and Jeff on bass, with P.A Nelson on acoustic. Veteran Los Angeles singer-songwriter and guitarist David Steinhart has been making music for over 30 years as a founder the band Pop Art in 1984 and Smart Brown Handbag in 1993 (both bands still have cult followings). In 2008 The Furious Seasons was formed and Steinhart was joined by his brother, Jeff Steinhart on upright bass and Paul Nelson on guitar and harmony vocals. As a trio, Steinhart has assembled one of his finest small orchestras in The Furious Seasons. On June 22 the band will release Now Residing Abroad, their 6th album and 2nd album with the current lineup. Co-produced with music engineer, Glenn Nishada, Now Residing Abroad consists of 13 songs of acoustic music with folk, pop, Americana and as Steinhart puts it, “kind of jazz overtones.”

The music is easy to listen to and can seem overly restrained if you listen casually, but upon closer listening there is a depth, passion and attention to detail that will draw you in. Taking a soulful approach to the music Steinhart’s “husky yet melodic” vocals help make The Furious Seasons’ sound uniquely their own. Now Residing Abroad crystallizes the sound of 3 musicians who have great chemistry and love playing together. Jeff Steinhart played electric bass for 35 years and taught himself the upright 5 years ago as the band became more acoustic. He has now honed his craft to where the bass line “slides in and walks around” as one reviewer stated. Paul Nelson has developed a style of playing for the trio that produces a sonic tapestry, with interwoven lines and textures that create aching melancholy that is perfectly suited to David Steinhart’s lyric and vocal delivery.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Roots, Folk and Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Folk music was the first music that I picked on my own to listen to as a kid. Through the music of Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, I felt informed that the world and it's issues were bigger than my house and my world. It guess it gave me a broader view in general and a sense that people had responsibilities outside of themselves.

How do you describe Furious Seasons' songbook and sound? Where does your creative drive come from?

The sound is rooted in the pop folk of the 60's and 70's. From Tim Buckely and Dylan to Jackson Brown, Paul Simon and Jim Croce, we developed a love for storytelling and breezy melodies. And also, the juxipostion of pretty sounding music with more serious lyrics. The creative drive comes from a really serious love of all things musical. Music is the poetry of our time and a great song can change my day in 3 minutes.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned about yourself in music? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I use song writing as a way to talk about what's going on in my life and the world in my view. 23 albums and a ton of years into it, I think I learn about myself from listening to the older albums. They are a real shortcut for me to remember where I was and what I was thinking and feeling at the time.

The best advises as it pertains to the music is probably my brother Jeff who has always supported me doing me and not worrying about what was popular at the moment.

"Folk music was the first music that I picked on my own to listen to as a kid. Through the music of Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, I felt informed that the world and it's issues were bigger than my house and my world. It guess it gave me a broader view in general and a sense that people had responsibilities outside of themselves."

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

We recently opened for America. I'm a child of the 70's and those were songs we heard every day, all day on the radio back then. It was surreal to share a stage with them and btw they still sound fantastic!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

It was easy to get in a van and tour back then. Maybe that's the times or maybe it's because I was in my 20's. Easier to make a living playing music as well but folk, blues and Americana are still alive and well and there are still great avenues to get the music out there to the people who want to hear it. 

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I'm a let the chips fall where they will kind of guy. I think that if you make good music and are really diligent about it, you will find your audience. That's enough for me.

What touched (emotionally) you from the LA troubadour counterculture and Outlaw Folk songwriters?

Besides the music!!!, it's the sense that guy or girl with an old guitar an idea and some conviction could be heard.  It still exits but it' sure feels more complicated now.

Veteran L.A. singer-songwriter and guitarist David Steinhart has been making music for over 30 years as a founder the band Pop Art in 1984 and Smart Brown Handbag in 1993. In 2008 The Furious Seasons was formed and Steinhart was joined by his brother, Jeff Steinhart on upright bass and Paul Nelson on guitar and harmony vocals. As a trio, Steinhart has assembled one of his finest small orchestras in The Furious Seasons. On June 22 the band will release Now Residing Abroad, their 6th album.

What is the impact of Folk music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

Certainly, folk music has always been a way to address social injustice of all types. Not to mention that it's also just beautiful and soulful and incredibly varied. Of course, the music of the 60's gave voice to the concerns and desires of a whole generation and the impact was huge.

Today, rap music reaches that large group and chronicles the issues of the day in much the same way that folk has for generations. In a lot of ways it's the new folk.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Greenwich Village 1961. A day in the city and then Dylan at The Bitter End. I could pick a dozen other places and times but the mix of music, culture, the great city and the feeling of change in the air and makes this one pretty much perfect.

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