“Stevie and his mandolin are a familiar sight on the rally circuit, and perhaps because he's a very good friend of mine, I've been a little guilty of taking him for granted. Then, one night a year ago on a dark and rainy night I was driving up the San Marcos Pass in California. I was tired, in a huge amount of pain and a long way from anyone I knew. I picked up a CD at randomand slammed it in the player; suddenly Stevie was singing 'Toasted In Towcester' and it was a voice I knew. It was a small blast of home.
I'd been lucky enough to be sent early cuts of Stevie's latest album, 'Garage songs' - It was one of the rough cuts that I had with me that night - and it was interesting to see the songs progress as instruments were added and arrangements altered, and to hear live favorites like 'Gallows Song' and 'Mr Bike Builder' put down on tape or vinyl or whatever it is the young people use these days.... see below for next part of review....”
Back Street Heroes
“continued from above....
I've always liked Stevie's music without any accompaniment other than his mandolin, but the carefully picked additional instrumentation works well here - particularly Miffy Griffin's flute on 'Highway Ghost' and her whistle on the first part of 'The Volunteer' , Stevie's magnum opus to the Spanish Civil War. 'Garage Songs' is worth buying for this five-parter without the benefit of the other dozen songs. I've been lucky enough to watch Stevie get better over the years and grow in confidence; I was struck that 'Garage Songs' far more than it's two predecessors, 'Ride' and 'Too Poor For Trailer Trash', is a far more confident and polished album without losing the ragged heartbreak of his songs. Do I love it ? In a word, yes.”
Back Street Heroes
“Hailing from Basingstoke but might as well have been Louisiana, STEViE makes music gutsy, edgy and raw - a hardcore barstool troubadour with a voice as raw as cigarettes and single malt in a backstreet bar.”
After hearing this album you would suppose that Stevie comes from the swamps of Mississippi but no; Stevie Simpson is from Basingstoke in Southern England. Surprising this may be, the reason as to why his actual location is perceived to be somewhere across the pond is because his raw approach to music on his mandolin is not something you encounter with UK artists.
Some Friends Never Change uses duel harmonies, lyrics which are very true to life in many ways; if this track does not find commercial potential in either the UK or USA the music community needs a stern talking to. If this song is to be celebrated, so should Footplate Songs. Played solely on his chosen instrument, the power of Stevie’s vocals really allow for this tune to prove itself.
With regular gigs happening across Southern Britain during 2011, maybe with a bit of radio and public support the name of Stevie can be revered in the same way with the mandolin as Bela Fleck is with his banjo.”
“'GARAGE SONGS' is the new CD from STEViE, the well known biker troubadour and his faithful mandolin - thirteen tracks of soulful acoustic music sung by a bloke who really sounds like he means it. Cool, laid back tunes equally suited to chilling in the sunshine with a cold one to hand or beside a roaring fire in the depths of winter with the flames reflecting in your bourbon glass, songs that tell of real things, real experiences, some good, some sinister. It's music that speaks to you, music that's been lived, not manufactured.
'The Volunteer', all thirteen minutes of it, stands out as the superlative track of the album - broken down into five sub-songs, it goes from the naive optimism of 'Southbound Train' to the world weary, battle-scarred melancholy of 'Goin' Home' and is guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
'Garage Songs' is available from the man himself if you see him at a gig or online from www.stevieoneblokeonemandolin.bigcartel.com