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Steve Lawson | Grace And Gratitude

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New Age: Ambient Electronic: Soundscapes Moods: Featuring Bass
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Grace And Gratitude

by Steve Lawson

New CD from the UK's leading solo bassist - Bass Guitar Magazine say he's "one of the most influential bassist in the world", Michael Manring says "Steve's approach represents a real step forward for the art of solo bass". We just think he's fantastic.
Genre: New Age: Ambient
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Grace And Gratitude
4:42 $0.50
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2. The Journey Of A Thousand Miles
10:27 $0.50
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3. The Kindness Of Strangers
9:56 $0.50
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4. Despite My Worst Intentions
5:22 $0.50
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5. The Space Between The Silence
10:39 $0.50
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6. Shizzle
5:27 $0.50
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7. There But For The Grace Of God
3:53 $0.50
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8. You Can't Throw It Away (There's No Such Thing As Away)
14:22 $0.50
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9. What Did I Do To Deserve This?
6:18 $0.50
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10. Smoke From Burning Steam
4:14 $0.50
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
It's been a busy two years for Steve Lawson since the release of his last all-solo album, Not Dancing For Chicken at the tail-end of 2002. From touring the nation's concert halls opening for 80s pop-funk legends Level 42, to a sold out tour with American solo bass maestro Michael Manring, things just keep getting busier for the UK's leading solo bassist. Having become the only solo electric bassist ever to play a set at London's Royal Albert Hall, Steve has gone on to receive rave reviews around the world, rapidly increasing amounts of radio airplay, and an ever expanding tour diary taking him to The States, Italy, France and round the UK in 2003/2004.

Grace And Gratitude is the culmination of two years of musical journeying - the combined influence of all Steve's collaborators over the last 24 months have taken his solo playing and composing to a new level. From the ambient expanse of his last Pillow Mountain Release with Theo Travis, to the gentle nylon acoustic guitar sound of Steve's touring partner, Muriel Anderson, Steve's musical encounters have broadened his sound, adding new colours to his palette and taking what he called the 'soundtrack to the inside of my head' to new places.

From the opening title track, it's clear that this is a very special recording, the theme of which Steve explains
on the CD's sleeve notes -
" this is the first time i've explored a thematic approach to an album - looking at different aspects of grace, gratitude and respect. respect for one's self, for each other, for creation. the track title 'you can't throw it away (there's no such thing as away)' comes from a talk by dr ulrich loening on ecology and was in reference to our approach to refuse - we're always throwing things away, and he said there is no 'away' - it's all part of our ecosystem. anyway, that along with a some other features of the theme struck a chord with me, so i struck some chords... some of them whilst actively thinking about the title, others just in search of the music."

Expanding his technical arsenal whilst sticking to the rule of 'all live, no additional overdubs' has allowed Lawson to move forward whilst still retaining a continuity with his back catalogue. Tracks such as the haunting 'Despite My Worst Intentions' employ gurgling reversed bass samples, and weird filtered delay sounds to create a sonic world for Lawson's probing melodic improvisation to explore. And the two giant
soundscapes on the CD, 'The Journey Of A Thousand Miles' and the already-mentioned, 'You Can't Throw
It Away' owe as much to Sigur Ros and Mogwai as they do to Steve's more usual ambient reference points
such as Fripp and Eno.

As Steve himself says, 'I think I had the right idea from the start - live looping and processing does seem to be a format in which I function particularly well, and each subsequent album or change in setup has just allowed me to refine that initial concept to the point where I now feel pretty much in control of the electronics side of things and able to play as close to the sound in my head as I've ever got.'

Listening to Grace And Gratitude, it'd be tough to disagree.
August sees Steve touring in support of the CD's release, including 7 nights on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

'The richness of this music makes for a rewarding listening experience on all levels and I think Steve's
approach represents a real step forward for the art of solo bass. Highly Recommended' - Michael Manring

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Reviews


to write a review

Per Boysen

A beautiful record! It's named Grace And Gratitude and to me it just sounds like
This is a record I liked very much from the first time I downloaded some mp3's from Steve Lawsons site. I just had to buy the record and I'm so happy I did, because it's not easy to find ambient music with that kind of soul. Some other stuff I have been listening to, that Grace And Gratitude brings to my mind, are Wheather Report (especially Jaco Pastorious' wonderful tone, like in the opening and closing melody of "A Remark You Made" from Heavy Wheather), Paul Bley (the "silent" stuff he recorded with Jimmie Giuffrey and Bill Connors) and finally "Hearing Solar Winds" with David Hykes and his Harmonic Choir. Hmmm.. eventually a little Durutti Column as well. If any of these releases ring a bell with you I can assure you that you will love this disk. Chances are you will anyway!
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Ted Killian

It may literally turn you head around musically.
Grace and Gratitude

I have to say up front, that I am completely, totally prejudiced concerning loopy Britt bass player, Steve Lawson. He is not just one of my favorite bassists, but one of my favorite musicians -- period. In fact he's on a very short list of bassists that really make me wish I'd stuck with the bass (which I played when I was 10) and not moved to the guitar (at age 11). Sigh! It's too darn late now bub.

His new CD, "Grace and Gratitude," is another step in Steve's musical evolution. It has a nice mixture of "light" and "shadow" to it. There are still the expected lovely loop/groove-based melodic pieces here and there, but there is also a chilly sinister dissonance lurking at the edges that I don't think I've heard (as such) in his music before -- plus he offers up just a dash of occasional funkiness this time 'round too.

Yes, Steve is a "looper" (user of a variety of digital delay devices to musically "clone" himself in performance) but the technology never gets in the way of the music. This CD also reveals a remarkable talent for tasty faux guitar playing as well, by his sometimes pitch-shifting (and occasionally distorting) his bass sound -- nicely filling out that part of the musical spectrum on a number of tunes. Unlike some guitarists who should never, ever attempt to play bass, Steve pulls the reverse off with quite convincing panache. Speaking as a guitarist, it's just plain not fair!

As a fellow musician, it would be very, very easy to jealously resent the fact Steve brings to his music a complete package of all-around spontaneous compositional skills, a childlike inventive playfulness, real showmanship, and a truly unnerving command of his instrument that goes well beyond the usual assumptions of its musical role. But, some of the tunes he comes up with (again and again on disc after disc) are so doggone emotionally pure, vulnerable and lovely it is hard to maintain that attitude and listen to him for very long without being totally musically seduced all over again.

If you like "honest" music and have big enough ears that you don't particularly care that it doesn't fall neatly and easily into any specific, tidy box of preconceptions, this may be your disc. Watch out though -- it may literally turn you head around musically as to just what a bass guitarist is supposed to sound like.
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