by Malcolm Petch
We’re used to having bands from within BC or Canada as the show-pieces at our venue. Every once in a while we get a treat from outside our borders, and the July 23 appearance of Australia-based The Little Stevies looks like it’s going to be a wonderful performance.
No strangers to international touring, The Little Stevies came to North America twice in 2010. In February the band traveled to Memphis for an industry showcase in front of North Amercian festival organizers, promotors, and booking agents – reportedly stealing the spotlight and receiving overwhelming audience response and support. They carried with them to Tennessee their first full-length album, “Love Your Band”.
Fueled by the positive energy of their premiere North American experience, The Little Stevies started work on their second album as soon as they had returned to Australia. Stepping out of their initial two recording’s DIY roots, TLS sifted through various producers and ended up hiring LA’s Ethan Allan to work with them on their third project. This required flying to the USA a second time for their recording sessions, so late in the summer of 2010 the band headed back to Los Angeles. After four weeks of recording “Attention Shoppers”, the band hit the road again, covering both coasts of the United States and making excursions into Canada – including an appearance at Ottawa’s Ontario Council of Folk Festivals music conference.
Their performance at Streaming Café will be part of The Little Stevies’ third trip to our continent. This time around The Little Stevies are here – exclusively in Canada this time – for a total of seven weeks, playing about 35 times at four festivals and 25 other locations, and putting in at least 3,000 km of on-the-ground driving distance.
It’s not easy to simply categorize The Little Stevies as a ‘folk’ act, despite their three-part harmonies and their association with the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. Michael, our talent-booking guy, has classed them as Alternative, Folk, Indie, Pop, and that seems to be a good summary. The tracks from their new release (“Attention Shoppers”) definitely have a poppier sound than earlier work, with tight harmonies and more ‘produced’ arrangements. Their first albums (2007’s “Grow Up” EP, and 2009’s “Love Your Band”), on the other hand, have more of an acoustic/alternative flare that drifts into new folk on occasion.
The Little Stevies have a great music player on their site that allows visitors to listen to some of their newest recordings. It’s a great way to get familiar with the music of this out-of-the-country band before coming to hear them in the café.
The Little Stevies are a big deal in their homeland. For example, in March last year they were the supporting act for Grammy Award-winning country legend Nanci Griffith when she played Melbourne and Sydney, and Griffith even called the three Stevies back on stage at the end of her show to join her in singing the classic “Hammer Song” (you know the one: ‘If I had a hammer…’).
It is a real privilege to have The Little Stevies join us at Streaming Café. Check out their music (http://thelittlestevies.com/) and see what kind of a treat you’ll be in for – and then come out to catch them in person on July 23 at 7:00 p.m. If you can’t be here – like if you’re following the band back home in OZ – then be sure to catch them online at www.streamingcafe.net; you’ll be glad you did!