and his band Newman
have just released an excellent new album ’Under Southern Skies’.
Over to Steve…
What are you currently up to then Steve?
Jason!! Hope you’re doing OK. It’s good to talk with you!! Basically getting
prepared for my latest album to come out; then there’ll be the live album from
last year’s Firefest, and I then want to get on to Newman live shows. The songs
on “Under Southern Skies” really demand it now I think!!”
Could you take us through the songs on the new album ‘Under Southern
Skies'? The ideas behind the songs, song writing process, etc.?
course!! All of these songs were written during the course of 2010 and the early
part of 2011, mainly from acoustic ideas, just sitting down and recording into a
Dictaphone. It goes with me everywhere.”
“Killing Me” is really about love manipulation; the chorus reminds me
subtly of Journey.”
“If He Loves You” is a song about going with what you feel and not
worrying about the consequences. This song has a real Journey vibe to it, along
the lines of the “Raised On Radio” era.”
“Under Southern Skies” is finding solace inside a turbulent relationship
and discovering common ground; in this case, the tranquillity of ‘Southern
Skies? A big Toto influenced song.”
“Strength To Carry On” is wondering where you’re life will lead after
coming out of a relationship, but knowing that you’ll find the strength
“Ghost In The Night” is probably the most retrospective sounding song, all
about being haunted by someone’s memory. The lyrics for this were written by my
good friend Nick Workman (Vega, Kick).”
“Without Warning” is a song about someone who doesn’t think they’re ready
for love again but is moved by another person and accepts them into their
“She’s Gone”; I quite like this as it enabled me to use a different style
of singing. The song actually rocks but I’ve kept the vocal in the ‘low
register’ for greater effect.”
“Fire With Fire” has a very Toto-esq feel to it, and once again allows me
to sing a little differently. This is all about someone fighting alcohol
“Save No Prisoners” is really about someone who moves through
relationships for company without ever quite getting close to anyone, because of
having their heart broken before.”
“Wish You Were Here” was written for my parents; I lost both of them in
2010 and I really wanted to write a song that would help me close the door, yet
also maybe connect with other people who have suffered the same loss?”
“And, “Montserrat” is all about the visit I made to that island last year.
I was so moved by one of our guides’ story about his life I just had to write
about it. Ultimately, the song deals with the massive eruption they suffered a
few years ago and how everyone can adapt to change if they have strength within?
Musically, this is probably one of the diverse songs I have written and
The new album is one of your heaviest to date and like previous albums,
you're not one of these artists who is happy to churn out the same musical
formula each time. How do you manage to come up with new musical twists on each
a good question; I think that “The Art Of Balance” is probably a more “In Your
Face” recording than this one, but the new one has some of these moments as
well. “Under Southern Skies” was a fairly straightforward album to write; I let
the ideas flow a little more freely on this and let my heart speak a little
more, but it was a very natural process. I would say this is probably the most
personal album I have written.”
How did you hook-up with AOR Heaven and I guess it takes some of the
pressure of you in that it is not self-released like your last album?
my relationship with Georg Seigl goes right back to my first album. We recently
worked together on the “Big Life” album with Mark Thompson-Smith again of
course? It was a natural choice to approach Georg as I respect him and he is
definitely one of the good guys in this business. This leaves me more time to
concentrate on the live band this time around.”
Yes, you mentioned live work... How hard is it to keep a band together
when the live dates are spread out over a year? How easy/difficult would it be
to get a support slot with a name band?
had a lot of interest after Firefest, for dates in Europe particularly, but
unfortunately, due to logistics, these just didn’t work out. It is a challenge,
but hopefully, we are looking at playing live towards the end of this year and
early next year?”
Have you been pleased with the reaction from fans and reviewers to the Big
Life album? Is there a follow-up planned any time soon?
Mark and myself have been blown away by the reaction to be honest! It was great
fun to record, and I hope we can both find time in our busy schedules to get
together and write another one soon.”
Have you been working on any other musical projects and/or guesting on
other musicians' albums?
recently wrote 3 songs on the new Far Cry album (with Pete Fry), and that was a
lot of fun. I’ve just recorded some vocals for AOR Project’s Frederic Slama. The
song is called “Kimberly”, and I believe this is due for release early next
year? It has some great players on it such as Steve Lukather and Tommy Denander...”
What have been the live highlights so far and why?
Firefest 2010; and working with Terry Brock and Robin Beck on the “Phenomena”
album. There have been quite a few!! I get a lot of pleasure when I receive
emails from fans saying how much my music has touched their lives; that really
means so much to me.”
Has the advent of 'Classic Rock Presents AOR' and the continuing success
of magazines like 'Fireworks' helped create a new surge in interest in AOR/melodic
rock in general and has this had any knock on affect on your music?
think our genre of music is getting more popular, yes and we have some great
coverage coming in the next issue of “Classic Rock Presents AOR”. It’s a great
mag run by people who truly believe in melodic rock. It’s good to see, and I
believe that the first few issues have proved very popular. There’s hope for us
all yet!!! Ha! Ha!”
Have you seen any newer bands coming through that could keep interest in
the genre high?
I think there’s some great new bands out there and I hope it keeps the fires
burning. The first of those has to be H.E.A.T. But there have been a lot of cool
new bands recently such as Houston and White Widdow as well.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
bit of a movie buff when I get time. And I have a particular interest in Second
World War aircraft as well, so you’ll often see me at some of the UK air
Anything else to add and a message for your fans...
Jason; thanks for taking the time to speak to me and I wish you and your readers
all the best. I hope you enjoy the new CD, and really hope to see you out on the
road sooner rather than later!!"