As part of a tour taking him across Ontario and the Maritime provinces, folk-roots singer-songwriter Owen Steel is set to stop in London, playing at the London Music Club this Saturday night. Currently touring with fellow folksinger Mike Trask, Steel tours while working on his second LP, currently scheduled to release in 2013. Still in the demo stages of his songs, he’s taking a more experimental approach, incorporating washboard guitar and bass along with mic effects, into his sound.
Steel’s love for music began at an early age, as he grew up in Prince Edward Island and would play on his guitar through the island province. Steel attributes many of his lyrics to his natural surroundings. On the song “Twig Eater” off his first LP et al, he sings emphatically, “I saw a moose!” over punchy guitar lines and sparse percussion.
“I try and think of a line or word that is kind of relevant to my situation,” says Steel when it comes to song writing. He tries to relate his songs to everyday experiences that audiences can identify with. He cites musical influences such as Western swing musician Petunia, Slowcoaster, and blues poet Ray Bonneville, among others.
In his youth, Steel spent summers with his father in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, where he was exposed to a variety of musical talent and was first introduced to the travelling musician’s lifestyle.
“I make my money by shows on the road, [but] I don’t make a lot of money,” Steel explains. “That’s what they do every night. They stay with someone else, sleeping in someone else’s bed and shower in someone else’s shower.”
But for the young folk singer, the lifestyle has its appeal. “It’s not for some people, but for me it’s [interesting] to live out of a suitcase and be unsure of what you’re going to do from night to night. It keeps you on the edge a little bit, and it makes you appreciate things a lot more.”
Having been all over Canada and parts of the United States, there are still some artists Steel would love to have a chance to tour with.
“I’ve done a few shows with Fred Eaglesmith, but never toured with him, so I would love to do an extended tour with him and his band.” Straying from his folk roots, Steel says he’d also enjoy a chance to work with Attack in Black front man Daniel Romano, indie rocker Joel Plaskett and Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip.
As a travelling man, Steel enjoys the lifestyle, getting to connect with different places and people.
“I like the feeling of travelling—having a circuit and returning to these places. I like the feeling of being in touch with the wider world,” Steel says. “There are so many people in the world, why not go and meet them all?”