The Tropic of Conversation:
Review by Dr. Paul Mercer (Target 2007/1)
Steve Bevis invites us to join him in reflecting on a TEAR journey in this folksy CD (he is justifiably proud of the production quality). The title creates an anticipation of storytelling and the assembly of topical moods. Yes, Steve struggles with steamy questions. “Will we (Australia) be a country known as ‘mercy’?” “There’s evil in this land, where is the good hearted soul?” Steamy questions can end in the passion and energy of a thunderstorm. Steve wants to tell the stories of suffering, struggle and poverty.
There are pulsating memories which have arisen from visits to TEAR partners in India, Thailand, and many other communities. Steve includes his exposure to refugees and marginalized indigenous people in Australia. The songs lead the conversation to the coolness of rainforests and the beauty of paradise. “Surely love must try”, “Will the maker of life redeem our fall?” “Not just a refugee. These are our friends”.
For seven years now, Steve has been into the partnership Crucible which connects Australian Christians with our friends who are serving poor, often desperate, communities in Asia and Africa. Steve is almost bursting at times to engage us in conversation. “In India, love opened my eyes”. As the singer, he wants to honour the people God has given him on the journey so far. These songs are for them and celebrate the faith they inspire.
Pull up a seat and pour the coffee. It must be time to listen.
Did you know that "Carry Me" was once feature track for the month in The Sydney Morning Herald's Icon section?
Deb Dare, Lawson, NSW
"the tropic of conversation" is the first solo cd i have heard from steve.
i am really impressed. this is a fine cd in terms of production, muscianship, arrangements, diversity and great ease of listening.
some easy hooks like in an "angel will guide you" and the last refrain in "mercy" just keep gently coming back.
just the right mix i reckon, of spirit, social justice, and ordinary lives weave in the stories.
India , like Steve says in "India" , also changed my life and opened my heart and mind.
Put Out The Sun/Hold Up The Sky
Album review by Luke Vassella
Give me some lyrical 'Substance'
- "Put Out The Sun/Hold Up The Sky" by Steve Bevis delivers a rich fabric of song. Stitched together with a few threads of angst and a big ball of grace, this album is tie dyed with imagination. The songs are torn with frustration, frayed with disappointment, yet patched together with hope and woven into a pattern of dreams.
And the beautiful thing is it's homespun. It's honest; songs from the heart with bare-bones attitude.
The predominant sounds are throaty vocals, coarse steel strings, ragged-jagged vox amps, layered over trashy junk beats and shredded samples. Warmth and sweetening is added by nylon strings and synth pads. Occasionally, harp and slide guitar also feature giving a country folk feel. This album is a jumbled up collection of different styles, but I would loosely label it as 'acoustic future folk'.
The songs reveal a conscience that burns brightly with compassion and a desire for social justice. There's a sensitivity here, and it's found in tracks like: "Some strike it lucky" - a tale of exhausted hope; "Who's gonna hold up the sky" - a sobering picture of life in the suburbs; the bittersweet personal surrender of "strip us bare", the apocalyptic vision of "Nations on parade"; and my favourite, "Sleepless sun" - articulating the struggle to make it through the day with faith, hope and love still intact.
My preference for the second CD, "Hold Up The Sky" is being revealed here, but there are very special moments in the first half, "Put Out The Sun". Notably: "Mystery of You" - hauntingly beautiful, not a lot of songs move me the way this one does; "Wait" - devotional and stirring, a description of unyielding faith; "Boxing Day Holiday" - glistening with hope, this is a 'bright-sun-shiny-day' of a song which shines in the last line " drop all our worries like towels on the beach". "Summer Sky" is like a psychodelic new millennium trip with its' sitar/guitar riff, 'cupped' timbre and radio-friendly chorus. At roughly 3:30 mins long - can we hear this on the radio please!?
I recommend you dig into this album because you're going to find more than a few precious gems here. For me, these songs not only add to my CD collection, there's also a sense of them adding something to my spiritual consciousness. Sleepless sun, keep us awake I get the feeling something's dawning in this album.
Luke Vassella B.A (Contemp.Mus.)
"PUT OUT THE SUN HOLD UP THE SKY" Is one of my favorites cd's at the moment, it is an audio smorgasbord of brilliance. Songs like "she puts it right" with that nice high sterile harmony, and "and as for me" what talent, what strength, what precision. Steve Bevis is one of Australia's best kept secrets, but I think its time he stopped being a secret, its high time he became an icon, we shall call him "THE AYRES ROCK OF MUSIC" Just like the real Ayres rock Steve is closed to the public, but you can view him from a distance and marvel at his talent.
Sparkly Bee Productions.
STEVE BEVIS - PUT OUT THE SUN / HOLD UP THE SKY
A great double album from Steve Bevis, an artist hailing from just outside Sydney. The album is a very interesting piece of work, with the first album revolving largely around acoustic guitar work accompanied by Steve's quite distinctive vocals.
As mentioned, there are 2 CDs here, with CD 1 subtitled Put Out The Sun & on this CD, there are a significant number of acoustic tracks running the length of the CD, my pick being "Mystery Of You", though the 2 or 3 bonus tracks which are unlisted are great inclusions & should have been credited as they're great songs.
CD 2 is subtitled Hold Up The Sky & it's on this CD that I found myself having the most enjoyment, with a few tracks really standing out, those being an unlisted bonus track, "Hundred Walls", "Nations On Parade" which features a wonderful vocal performance, as well as standout "Outside That Wall". Surely an artist who will be making an impact I suspect.
hEARd internet zine, Australia
Review of Steve Bevis
@ Journey Cafe, Katoomba, June 3rd, 2004.
It's a difficult task for a solo muso to play to a mostly empty room, and still give their heart and soul to the performance - even harder when those present are busy stuffing their faces with bean nachos. (Sorry Steve, I was really hungry)!
This was the challenge facing Steve Bevis on this occassion. An extremely cold and windy Katoomba was to blame. Those of us that were there however, we thankful we braved the weather for the warmth created by Steve's acoustic guitar and voice.His folky, bluesy pop is fairly original in style, although if you must have a comparison, maybe a less-over-the-top Bono (U2) would be close.
Bevis has released a double album of what he calls 'Future folk' (a fusion of folk, pop, electro & blues), in 2003 called 'Put out the sun, hold up the sky', and is currently recording one solo album, and one album with a band - both to be released later this year.In live solo mode, it's his songwriting and guitar-playing skills which come to the fore. He effortlessly switches from pop/folk influenced strumming to blues/country/world influenced finger-picking styles. The songs drift back and forth between political/social settings (tales of refugees and the less fortunate) without bashing you over the head with the message; and
personal tales (friendship, love and relationships) without the usual soppy and twee emotional cliches. There's nothing too offensive here, and it easily holds your attention for a whole set.The subtlety of the solo acoustic set is deserving of a crowd that is more focused and attentative. It would also be interesting to see him in full band mode. There may just be a chance of this later in the year. In the meantime, check him out at his regular and very popular gig at Bluetongue Cafe, Glenbrook.Bevis's talent as a songwriter and performer is proven by his constant strike-rate in selling CD's at gigs - this night being no exception. An artist who inspires enough confidence in gig-goers to buy their CD on the way out of the gig so often, is definately an artist to watch out for.
BKM. Mountains Of Music
A review of a gig of my original band LIQUID JADE: Live at the Petersham Hotel, circa 1993.
(Nick Potten, Vic Tuson, Marcus Binet, Steve Bevis)
The review is by Sandy Leask. A great writer in eternal making.
"The steel eyed beauties on the magazines stare in the candle's hesitant glow. The tin roof is silent after the rain but a small breeze whispers "All flesh is grass and all the kingdoms of the world are but a field of grass." Bands come and go, turn on, tune in and drop out. We see them play, hear the music, feel ourselves to be part of something turning but the songs blend into one another and the faces. Our memories linger on but what do we see as we wipe the condensation from their bottles? We see that bands come and go. Still the ephemeral experience compensates us and on a rainy night in Peter's Hamlet when the crimson plumed cavalry of the Dale of Annan had laid their lances at rest by the pool table and the Newtown Halberdiers had left their azure cuirasses on the coat rack I wended my way through the fabled backstreets to an inn where I knew I would find music and merriment. Please, do not misunderstand me, there was forewarning in this matter. Neither vision nor premonition but more prosaically, pale sky before dawn, a man standing on his saddle to bring on the shutters, a messenger. Though not from Eli. And so I am not entirely unbiased in reporting this matter. Though that is of little import relative to the story I must tell. For the band was Liquid Jade, no cheap mystics, no hawkers of deaf beats without rhyme, no slack browed doom merchants in the turgid jungle of Sydney-rock and roll despair. No. Prophets and cantors of the light are they. Their antecedents are radiant and their strength is the strength of the swallows scything wing.
What to say? No words describe the sound of ignorance. But the insistence of the singer and suggestive perfume of the organ, the drummer's persistence and the nonchalant defiance of the bass player will not allow an audience to ignore. Descriptions of the music always end in waves, dark cliffs and the scream of seabirds but this is not the mood (or the volume) of the music. Flower's opened to bloom above the snow's crisp surface, huge raindrops cratered the drought crazed earth and the windows of attics long sealed were thrown open the blaze of a spring breeze. Ossian not least among the heroes of Finn's band tossed a blind wink from his barstool. Looking through the mirrors on the wall I saw the many coloured land flicking past. Visions of a small black cat ran down a moonlit alleyway and celts and centuries battled in the cigarette smoke. A Wender's angel, world weary and grey lit a cigarette from the glowing coil of a lamp while Narcissus, freed from his petalled cell danced falteringly on the tiles.
Who can tell? Perhaps it was just the night. Perhaps it was the phase of the moon. Or perhaps it was that a quiet band playing melodies and tunes seemed a magical haven in the dark maelstrom of werewolves and krackens that mill in the drone of too many unintelligible songs these days. Whatever, seeing Liquid Jade on a rainy night in Peter's Hamlet was like a crystal swan in a sky of suns. The rain has returned and the quiet breeze is silenced. The steely eyed women still stare in their eternal moment. The candles flicker and the memory is bottled away. Perhaps, though, a light will shine out from behind the condensate."