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Universal Crossings

Latest releases “Crossing Across” and “Across a Universe” were created in the aftermath of personal loss. My brother shuffled off this mortal coil quickly and unexpectedly in the summer of 2018, leaving family and friends reeling in shock as such losses do. His daughter, my niece, had already established a well-planned timeline and locale for a wedding with her betrothed, and without Dad available in corporal form, I felt compelled to make some music for the occasion in a style that he might have liked.

The first version of “Across a Universe” was produced specifically for the wedding reception, and had lyrics that reflected both the difficulty and joy of the circumstances. It was played publicly that evening for Shawna and Joe S., (although few heard it), and therefore its official publish date, according to a long-standing technicality of copyright law, reflects that: Oct. 20, 2018. The second version (made for wider distribution) had some minor lyric changes and significant additional instrumentation.

“Crossing Across” was produced on the same basic musical platform, but was freed up from lyric constraints, allowing for more emotional expression. (Publish date of record: Feb. 7, 2019) “Crossing Across” is dedicated in loving memory to Gale Albert Steward, a.k.a. ham radio's K3ND, a Zeppelin and Floyd fan, lefty bass player and devout 4-speaker audiophile. In that SPIRIT, both of these pieces are meant to be played LOUD.

Some early reviews of "Crossing Across" included: “I really like it! In the beginning of the song, what are you playing the melody on? [Flugelhorn] OMG, I thought it was a fugal horn or a mellaphone; how awesome!!!” P.D.S.
“Whoa. Felt this in my chest. ... The beginning was Procol Haramish; then Stewardish with tinges of E.L.O.; then pure SHS guitar. Not exactly like early Pink Floyd, maybe hints to my fav '70s PF; more toward SHSteward leanings that way ... only as a description of the sound. Not copying it by *any* means. Then, what comes next, the only way I can describe it is, pure Gale Experience (as in, Jimi Hendrix Experience,... as in, possible musical choreographs of Gale's own Experience Crossing). Can't describe it any other way, Bro. Made me smile. Will find a way to buy/download this to play in the Jeep.” D.B.

(Thanks. You guys keep us going.  ~SHS)


Keep Wakan

"Wakan" is a 5-minute 20-second indie rocker employing various American Native instruments (and also those indigenous to other countries) not traditionally but in a rock setting with guitar, bass, drums and musical saw. Wakan (pronounced wah-kahn) honors that Lakota word for sacred, spiritually big and powerful. Part of the bigger 'Wakan Tanka', which is usually translated to ‘The Great Spirit’, but an alternate is sometimes offered: The Great Mystery. Closer.

This is the SE single version, a remake of the R,D,W album cut. Cameo appearance by bass singer Big Lurch Hooper. Instrumentation includes musical saw by specialist Mr. E. S. Carpenter, and native flute by the versatile Dawn Busz-Rider. Sings-Two-Bears handled native drums, rattles, heavy tomtoms, etc., (and obviously had a pretty great time doing it all; he and the studio had been collecting these for years, and he managed to use every one somewhere in the production at least once!) Multiple basses, but the main bass used was a Coral Jazz 5-fret , a.k.a. ‘SSLIDER’ [the first prototype] with 5 frets, otherwise fretless, designed, built and played by the Director.


Few Words from the Bass Commander...[very few*]

“Postwar Jump” and “March No More”  were released in April 2018. Full-song players here and on Soundcloud; downloads available on the STEWARDS ECLECTRIC home pages on CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes and elsewhere, streaming wherever. We consider these a mated pair, in some hybrid JAZZ genre. (We'll let others figure that out.)

"Postwar Jump" is a quick (2 minutes, 14 seconds!) modern /‘40s jazz number paying homage to the horn arrangements of the vintage Big Bands, while possibly furthering the contemporary philosophy. The piece is described by percussionist and in-house self-appointed name-giver Sings Two Bears as: 'Trombone Lefty with Dook Ellingtun and The Steward on Precision bass .'

"March No More" is nearly 6 minutes of 'roughly-charted' funk/jazz/rock studio jam, and has been described as: 'Herby Handcock Meets Blud, Swet & Phish' . Heroes are where you find them - and come in all shapes and sizes, ages and genders, colors and nationalities. Therefore, "March No More" is dedicated to: James V. Forrestal, Milton William Cooper, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Maria Orsic, Danal Meza, Ghost Army (23rd Hqtr. Sp. Troops) and all others who have offered themselves unselfishly in service and who will, for whatever reason, march no more.

Composition, horn arrangements and that ‘eclectric’ '67 Fender bass action by Director Steward.   * Both pieces are 99% instrumental - and those instrumentalists include Trombone Lefty, Toots Headstrong, and Lovecchio Armitage on brass, saxman Thaler N. Shorter, the lovely Dawn Busz-Rider on woodwinds, Billy Kelley on piano (March..."), and percussion by Ludwig Von Slingerland and Sings Two Bears.

                        Those FRACKIN' Songs...!

These country songs have been released as singles, for download only. Mastered by Capitol Records, Hollywood. They are available individually and also combined. 

Guest vocalist Ernest J. Silverback gives a patina’d sterling performance as the old man who made the wrong decisions for all the right reasons in “Frackin’ Fool” (a.k.a “The Old Frackin’ Fool”), a cautionary tale ballad on a contemporary subject. (The description from Two Bears is: 'Mister Carpenter saw the Oak Ridge Boyz with Texx Ritter's Hay Baler.' ) Silverback was once quoted as saying, “Where I come from, you are your own grandpa.” Another time, when a phone interviewer asked what he thought of his newfound audience of younger folks, he replied, “Ya gotta love these kids – they’re all grandchildren to me. They seem to understand the connection between heart and head, between hand and Earth. When you do this, it affects that. They’ve learned that everything is connected. They digest the music of life with their ears – and take the energy forward." Then he added quietly, "They know we are ALL stewards of this place."  (But so who is E. J. Silverback? See Q&A.)

Up-tempo “Frackin’ Hoedown”, (a.k.a “Another Frackin’ Hoedown”), brings The ECLECTRIC Music Players together for a barn thumping follow-up to the old man ballad. Under Steward’s direction, veteran instrumentalists Floren deKichen (fiddle) and Mr. E. S. Carpenter (musical saw) team up with new blood as well as old friends from Steve’s 2010 album, Ridin’, Drivin’, Wakan... Within the devilishly angelic ECLECTRIC CHORUS, the voices of Serena Ann Green Eagle and the lovely Floral Clustah are joined by recent standout inductees Li'l Maxie Ripnit on the high end, and the one and only Big Lurch Hooper on the bottom. Says Two Bears: 'Earl Skruggs' cousin and The Oak Ridge Boyz and Girlz all pissed in the barn.'

For strictly artistic reasons, we offer a combined edition, where the material is presented as it was originally written, produced, and was intended to be heard. The label is losing money on it, but a promise is a promise. “Frackin’ Fool Frackin’ Hoedown” is true to the author’s vision, and a good $ value. This is the 'Storyteller’s Special', and it works - the way it was supposed to. Running time about 8 1/2 minutes. The complete lyrics are currently available with the individual song titles on my CDBaby page.

It would appear that one or both of these songs have ruffled a few feathers: for example, see the entry on the Q & A page from 'Deereman66'.

                               Something like Blues

The solo performance of "Pennsy Train Blues" is unlike anything we've ever put out before. It was an impromptu ad lib studio creation by a very tired artist in the wee hours, a one-shot deal. With one microphone, a few lyrics  and a white Hendrix Strat, it can be generally blamed on the 2 picture postcards of bluesman Elmore James' six-string guitar (with four strings) sent from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Recorded entirely as is in one pass, no editing, no overdubs. It is what it was. Consortium in-house wise-guy Sings Two Bears bet the director he didn't have the guts to publish it. He loses.

A toast to the great old bluesmen. Dedicated to the Pennsy RR, the Lehigh Valley RR, Milwaukee Road, NYCental, Erie Lackawanna, Amtrak and their excellent sleeping car attendants Kartoon Kioshi and the Lovely Grace, and especially to my SusieQ - Susan Joan with the yellow dress. [Album art in PHOTO/ART GALLERY]

                         "Reworking The Clone"

A guitar-laden 3-minute rock instrumental from deep space with asteroidal Spike Jones treatment, and with damn good reason: THE CLONE NEEDS SOME WORK! This version is significantly up-tweaked compared to its first release in 2010. Says S.T.B.: "Hey Zeus, it's our junk DNA yet to be realized."

PERSONNEL:  SHS - composer, arranger, bass, trombone; Paul Johnson - guitars; Fingers Arachnid - Hammond organ; Billy Kelley - drums; Ludwig Von Slingerland - percussion; Thaler N. Shorter - tenor and soprano sax; Lovecchio Armitage - trumpet; Toots Headstrong - assorted brass; Trombone Lefty on that instrument; Sings Two Bears - extra audio effects; barkage - Clay Pooch (a red-nosed yellow lab); Engineered by Moréy Polfuss; mixed by Manual 'Two-Hands' Realtime

           "Ridin', Drivin', Wakan..." had a long gestation period.

The first 2 tracks were recorded on half-inch reel-to-reel tape in the early '80s.

The  R, D, W… song collection took years to complete, and producing each piece was a process similar to sculpting.

“Michelangelo supposedly said that he saw the figure within each piece of rock, and all he had to do was remove the extra bits of stone to reveal it. Music is a not a tangible medium as such, but there are similarities, including the care and time it takes, and the patience required to complete a work. I just kept chipping away at that block of silent rock until the sound took shape."
"That was a hard-fought-for record also because the out-dated equipment was always breaking down. Every artist has some recorded history like this before they hit a main road. RDW was mine.”   ~SHS

The trip...      ...includes a view from the Pacific Parlour Car  >>>

<<<  Tracklist:

1. Reworking the Clone [guitar-riff instrumental rock]

2. Do Ya Wanna Drive? [bass-driven rock]

3. Taking You Along [light rock]

4. A Ride on the Coast Starlight [smooth jazz rock]

5. Goin’ Good [light rock]

6. Drivin Johnny B./ Proud Highway [vintage-derived rock & jam]

7. Time Is Now [left-handed gospel rock]

8. Wakan [Lakota spiritual rock]

Pullman Car - Music Producer

Independently produced at the WildBIRD Studio for SKY CAMO Records

Reviews & descriptions OF THE "R,D,W..." album SONGS:

~1. REWORKING THE CLONE is a guitar-laden instrumental with some Spike Jones treatment from deep space, and with good reason. The clone needs some work... This is the original or first version; it was reworked and issued as a single by STEWARDS ECLECTRIC in Aug. 2017.

~2. Vintage motorheads, that's an unmuzzled '79 Dodge Lil Red Express truck driving thru DO YA WANNA DRIVE? This is a car guy tune that rocks and makes bears in Pennsylvania go crazy. It definitely rocks, if that's your thing - and could also be an occupational theme for chauffeurs, NASCAR drivers, and soccer Moms.

 ~3. TAKING YOU ALONG flashes the light on John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Glenn & Jeanne Steward, and Terra Shan – this planet. We’re all riding along together.  

~4 & 5. A mated pair of train travel tunes with all the bells and whistles: A RIDE ON THE COAST STARLIGHT blows some horn and gets jazzed out on the left edge. GOIN' GOOD rocks the riders thru the turnouts and on to the welded rail. (Authentic Amtrak train sounds were recorded live by SHS and are credited in the liner notes.) Dedicated to lovers and railfans, and all but a couple Amtrak sleeping car attendants, especially: Grace [California Zephyr], Kioshi [Coast Starlight], and Dan [Empire Builder].  

~6. The combined DRIVIN' JOHNNY B. and imbedded instrumental jam PROUD HIGHWAY make this the so-called ‘eleven-minute extravaganza'. A remembrance of playing vintage rock and roll behind Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Ronnie Spectre, the Coasters, and others.  

~7. Someone called TIME IS NOW a 'left-handed gospel protest' song. More like a demand to stop the cover-ups. The truth IS around here somewhere, so keep your scotch glass handy just in case it appears in this lifetime. (Or in case it doesn't!)  

~8. The song WAKAN, (pronounced wah-kahn), centers on the Lakota (Native American) word meaning big, sacred, spiritually powerful. Part of the bigger 'Wakan Tanka', which is usually translated to The Great Spirit, but an alternate is sometimes offered: The Great Mystery. That's closer. This is the original or first version. It was re-recorded and released as a STEWARDS ECLECTRIC single in June 2018.

Run the CDBaby player(s) on the home page to hear many of these songs and others complete, not a sound bite! All are available from CDBaby, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, Apple Music, iTunes and most other major music sites. Should you wish to purchase the download or CD from my main distributor CDBaby, simply scroll down that player, and there's your cart. To purchase elsewhere, use the link buttons provided on the home page or search "Stewards Eclectric" for the singles; "Steve Steward" or "Farmhouse Garage Band" for the album from 2010. Many thanks for your support!

Have you thanked a SPHERE BEING  today?