Ever since his debut EP, Take My Leave, Steve Grozier has become known for his compelling storytelling within his music. He blends his fantastic way with words with a captivating Americana soundtrack. Each one showcases his songwriting talents, as heard on the outstanding “Take My Leave” and “A Place Called Home” (taken from his second EP of the same name). Somehow, he flew under people’s radar until the release of his debut album, All That’s Been Lost, capturing many people’s attention with this flawless collection of songs. He fine-tuned his already impressive storytelling qualities to show the world how good he can sound. All thanks to a stripped-back rootsy vibe and beautiful tracks such as “Power in the Light” and “I Miss My Friend”.
To the present, Grozier has decided to create a live studio EP called Hidden Lane. Each of the four tracks has been hand-picked and re-recorded with Johnny Smillie at La Chunky Towers Studios in Glasgow. He has decided to make his music more intimate with acoustic versions of these songs. Doing so creates a very different listening experience from his previous releases. It promises to show another side to his music.
When you first listen to Hidden Lane EP, Gozier’s mesmerising soundtrack draws you in. Because of the stripped-back nature of his music, there is less going on, making you pay more attention. As “Take My Leave” highlights, his acoustic guitar is hypnotic, like looking at a flame. It effortlessly moves throughout each track, but it’s warm sound subtly holds the listener’s attention. It sings in its own way, which is credit to his guitar technique.
Steve Grozier strips things back to deliver a beautiful collection of songs. He has created something special with his EP ‘Hidden Lane’
The music may be simple, but it’s very effective. However, Hidden Lane EP is all about the storytelling. Each song tells its own tale, and Grozier’s way with words shines on each one. The way he paints a picture with his lyrics is one of the main reasons this artist stands out to many. One of the best examples of this (from the EP) is “Charlie’s Old Mustang/Graveyard”. He sets the scene with the opening lines, “She was born in a real small town / Somewhere north of where the snow came down / And the moon, well it bleeds for her / She rides on the back of Charlie’s old Mustang bike”.
His words say a lot, but never too much. It is the perfect balance that lets the listener enjoy the captivating tale. Some moments stand out more than others. A personal highlight is the lines, “She opens her heart at the very break of day / Thunder cracks blowing them pale clouds away / Lightning storms, but they don’t scare her now / She rides on the back of Charlie’s old Mustang bike”. It is easy to understand why “Charlie’s Old Mustang/Graveyard” was chosen for this release.
As always, lyrics are only as good as how they are delivered. Because of the acoustic soundtrack, the spotlight shines on Grozier’s vocals. His voice is soft and oozes so much soul within his tone. It is a special ingredient that helps make this EP stand out. His has never sounded as good as it does on this release. Listen to “Twenty-Third Street” to understand how good. It instantly stands out during the opening lines, “Well, the hotels in Chelsea, well they’re bleak, and they’re dull / But I’m tired, and it’s cold out, and the snow is coming down”.
“Press play, kick back and enjoy the beautiful storytelling of Steve Grozier”
Hidden Lane EP has so much to offer and is a stunning showcase of the songwriting and storytelling qualities of Steve Grozier. Each song is created and shared to a high calibre. But one stands tall with each playthrough, “Power in the Light”. It is a track that gained a lot of love when it featured on his debut album. However, the new version elevates it to another level. As soon as it begins, his soothing acoustic guitar draws you in. Then, the story begins, “I followed the blues down a long black road / I saw the beauty, and I saw the loss”.
As it continues, the combination of his guitar and vocals is sublime. As he shares each line, he does so in a way that feels rude not to listen. The sincerity and warmth of his voice are compelling. It stands out even more when the chorus arrives, “There’s grief and anger, and there’s power in the light”. It is followed by, “There’s power in the light”, repeated lines that make you singalong. There is a magical simplicity to the song. But don’t be fooled, as this is a wonderfully crafted moment that deserves all the praise it receives.
It is difficult not to fall for the charm of Hidden Lane EP. It is honest and authentic. With its lyrical tone and soundtrack, all mirrored by the vocals. It may be a mini ‘best of’ by Steve Grozier, but this release is much more. It highlights a different side to his music that captures the soul of what makes his songs so good. I hope there is more like this, as this is his best work. But, you can be the judge of that. Press play, kick back and enjoy the beautiful storytelling of Steve Grozier.