Steve Kozak / Blog

New CD review...Lookin' At Lucky

‘Lookin’ at Lucky’ Steve Kozak with Special guest James Harman Independent release: August 16/2012 In the eight or so decades that the Blues have been around, luck, or more specifically, good luck is a theme that has rarely been addressed. The latest offering from Vancouver-based Blues musician Steve Kozak, touches upon that very theme.

The title track, “ Lookin’ at Lucky “, is an autobiographical track that features Kozak’s perspective on life, love, the quintessential bluesman passion for bettin’ on the ponies and even beating the devil himself at his own game. The jazz-flavoured tune featuring licks reminiscent of Herb Ellis, is a testament to the courtship of lady luck tempered by deep-seated roots in traditional Blues.

Steve Kozak has teamed up with Alabama- born blues legend, James Harman to produce this album, featuring Harman playing harp on several tracks. The collaboration has resulted in a truly organic approach that eschews tired Blues clichés and takes the listener on a musical journey that goes to Chicago, Kansas City, West Texas and backwoods Louisiana.

Kozak and Harman have captured the essence of this journey on track three, a Sonny Boy Williamson classic. This fresh spin of “Your Funeral, My Trial”, stays with the original intent of the song including the guitar’s sense of urgency, but infuses a tasty up-tempo groove.

Steve Kozak’s self-penned, “Come to Me”, drives right along with a decidedly Gospel feel and back-beat. Dave Webb’s excellent Hammond B-3 accompaniment and the knock-out background vocals of Catherine St. Germain and Kelly Brock lend even more authenticity and will make you a true believer.

Track 7, a Little Walter classic, showcases Steve Kozak’s Blues acumen and James Harman’s absolute mastery of the harp. This track leaves no doubt as to the duo’s intrinsic connection to the genre and as well as the sincerity and commitment demonstrated not only by Kozak and Harman, but the entire ensemble as well.

The album comes to a close with a cover from one of the truly unsung heroes of the Blues, Lazy Lester. The significance was not lost on Kozak. He has managed to capture the essence of this raucous Blues anthem without making it into a hollow tribute. The raw edge of the guitar riff and Harman’s wailing understated harp takes one in back in time.

As the last track came to a close, I was left with the feeling that I had just came home from one of those proverbial Blues parties. This latest release from Steve Kozak does indeed have an overall “Blues party” feel to it, with a counterpoint of tradition and contemporary Blues.

Give “Lookin’ at Lucky “a listen and you might feel lucky, I know I did, and now, I have this uncontrollable urge to go to the track and bet on some horses.

Serge Lotosky Vancouver,BC

CD Review

CD Review By Serge Lotosky (Vancouver Roots Music Aficionado) Hoot 'N Holler 2007

In a sea of endless white boy blues bands and tired old riffs, there is one cat who (That) stands out from the crowd. Vancouver based Steve Kozak is that man. Harkening back to sound of the juke joint, traditionalist Kozak has been raisin' the roof with some smokin' vintage equipment all along the west coast for a long time. The long awaited follow up to his 2003 offering is fittingly called Hoot 'N Holler, because that's what he seems to cause audiences to do. As opposed to mundane blues riffers who seem to make seemingly normal people do strange dances,the West Coast Blues Revue just grooves along and make people just wanna dig the show. That groove of the live shows has been captured and laid down on a CD with excellent production values laid down by local veteran, Jack Lavin, at the helm. (Why do Canadian CD's always sound so good?). Kozak, a bluesman's bluesman, has surrounded himself with a stellar array of blues veterans. There is some crazy piano pounding by Dave Webb that is reminiscent of Amos Milburn. The general feel of the album leans towards the jump blues of the late 40's and R&B of the early fifties, while Steve's playing has echoes of the tasty licks produced by T-Bone Walker. There is even a Jackie Brenston cover called Juiced. Backed by the hard drivin' rhythm of the meanest stand up bass player in the business (so mean he uses steel strings), Ken Wilson, this track is a real mean jumper. Like the R&B cats, Steve likes to sing about cars, chicks, and havin' a good time, evoking images of some cinder block shack by the side of the road. Steve and the boys always make the good times roll. It has been said that roots musicians should have lived what they play, which is the only way to make it convincing. Booze, bar fights, lost love; it's all in there somewhere. Track 8 is a case in point. Called "Almost bought the farm" this is not a hackneyed blues cliché that is all too familiar these days. This is literal and autobiographical. Steve recently had contracted a life threatening medical condition and did indeed almost buy the farm. The line "17 days in the hospital " is earnest and comes from actual experience, you believe the man. The resilient and always jovial Kozak thankfully pulled through and eventually got back to playing. A lot of the tracks on this album are a metaphor for Steve's recovery and joy of life, and that comes through clearly in the playing. A solid, hard driving offering this time round. Hoot 'N Holler and get juiced and give a listen to Steve Kozak's brand of blues.

Serge Lotosky Vancouver BC August 2008

News Release for Jan. 16, 2008 @ The Yale

News Release for Jan.16, 2008:

Steve Kozak brings his fabulous WestCoast Blues Revue back to The Yale Wednesday January 16 with an All star line up to kick off 2008 in style. The Vancouver native Blues guitarist/singer songwriter is charged up and ready to get things rolling this year performing tunes from his recently released CD, Hoot ’N Holler.

Kozak will be joined this time out by Maple Blues nominee Dave ‘Hurricane’ Hoerl from The Juno nominated Twisters on harmonica and from The Powder Blues Band, the excellent Willie MacCalder on piano. Backed by his regular hard swinging and ever steady rhythm section, Trevor Newman on bass, from Jerry Doucette’s band and James ‘Hollywood Jimmie’ Badger on the drums, this will be a show not to be missed.

The new CD Hoot ‘N Holler hit the number one spot on the Top Ten Blues Albums for early December ’07 on play list charts of CFBX 92.5 FM radio in Canada and is receiving critical acclaim in reviews from the media across North America and Europe.

*John Valenteyn from the Toronto Blues Society’s Maple Blues Online says of the title track: “it’s an infectious romp that brings Willie “Big Eyes” Smith to mind.” And “…a well-written and arranged little delight it is.”

*Richard Rosenblatt former CEO of Tone Cool Records and currently the president and CEO of the Vizz- tone label group and Tone Cool Productions says; “This is real, honest blues-party music! Tasty musicianship and solid tunes. It's great that there is so much original music on the disc. You don't have to re-invent the wheel, it's all how you spin it.”

*The Blues Hound, producer/programmer of KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston Texas says; “Yeah that's the real deal stuff with extra grease.”

*Tom Harrison of The Vancouver Province calls it “Blues that can put a smile on your face.”

Steve Kozak was recently featured in the winter 2007 issue of Vancouver Lifestyle Magazine as the subject of ‘The People Worth Watching’ section written by Vancouver music icon Lindsay Mitchell.

Over the years Kozak has performed his up-tempo brand of working mans Blues to many satisfied audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has also played and shared the stage with many Blues greats including, Pee Wee Crayton, Sonny Rhodes, Big Joe Duskin, Eddie ‘The Chief’ Clearwater, James Harman, Mark Hummel, Lee Oskar, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne and Rockabilly legend Evan Johns.

Wednesday Jan 16 is the birthday of drummer James Badger so Steve, the band and friends will be celebrating. So come on down, it’ll be a PARTY DOWN AT THE YALE!!!

Show time: 9:45 pm No Cover Charge 1300 Granville Street Vancouver BC www.theyale.ca

Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine Winter 2008

VLM Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine Volume 14 Issue 10 Winter 2008 Editor & Art Director Bob Mercer


Captain to Admiral

Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine Article Current mood: pleased Category: Music

VLM Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine Volume 14 Issue 10 Winter 2008 Editor & Art Director Bob Mercer


Captain to Admiral

Steve Kozak has been part of Vancouver's Blues scene for over twenty years. Born in Vancouver in1956, he began playing guitar and singing at age 16 and 'took to the Blues like a duck to water". His passion was ignited further by a 1977 backstage meeting with the legendary Muddy Waters. "Muddy encouraged me and set me straight on a few things," Kozak says. "After that I was on a mission."

"Captain" Kozak started playing in the mid – 1980s, in a band called Bad Habits, then paid his dues at the Yale Hotel's Saturday Blues Jam (hosted by good friend Jack Lavin). In 1991 Kozak won the Yale's Battle of The Blues Guitars.More recently he has been playing at the Old Admiral Pub in Burnaby, which has opened its doors to regular Friday- and Saturday- night Blues shows.

He formed Steve Kozak's West Coast Blues Revue in 1999. Current members include Brian 'Sechelt Red' McFadyen on harmonica, drummer James 'Hollywood Jimmie' Badger and the ever steady Trevor Newman on electric bass. Upright bassman, Ken 'Bull Fiddle' Wilson is oft-featured as is the always- dangerous Dave Webb on Keyboards. The Bands new CD entitled Hoot 'N Holler, produced by Lavin, almost entirely features original material. "We recorded the project over two sessions, live off the floor, to get as close to a live performance sound as we could with a minimum amount of overdubs and added effects."

A recent close brush with mortality and two major surgeries over the past year have serve to imbue the work with additional vitality. "I'm back in the saddle and playing again like never before," says Kozak. "This latest CD is a celebration of love, life and gratitude and good times. There is nothing that heals the body, mind and soul like music, especially the Blues!"

Lindsay Mitchell

#1 on CFBX 92.5 FM 'The X' Top Ten Blues Albums

Number 1 on CFBX 92.5 FM ’The X’ Top Ten Blues Albums Current mood: happy Category: Music

We made number 1 on CFBX 92.5 FM Top Ten Blues Albums for early December 2007

CFBX 92.5 FM 5 Watts Kamloops, BC Steve Marlow, Music Director Specialty Charts for * indicates Canadian Content ** indicates a local artist

Top 10 Blues Albums 1)Steve Kozak's West Coast Blues Revue* - Hoot 'n Holler (Independent) 2)Various Artists - Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard) 3)Michael Jerome Browne* - Double (Borealis) 4)Cheryl Bear* - The Good Road (Independent) 5)Danny Brooks* - No Easy Way Out (Rockin' Camel) 6)Sterling Harrison - South of the Snooty Fox (Hacktone) 7)The Blues Experience - The Vintage Room (Independent) 8)David Wilcox* - Boy in the Boat (Stony Plain) 9)Ken Whiteley* - One World Dance (Borealis) 10)Lesismore* - As Much as I Need (Independent)

CFBX 92.5 FM, Cable 106.1 - The X Campus/Community Radio in Kamloops, BC Steve Marlow, Music Director. Brant Zwicker, Station Manager Address: House 8, Thompson Rivers University PO Box 3010, Kamloops, BC, V2C 5N3 Ph: (250) 377-3988 Fax: (250) 372-5055 Website: www.thex.ca Tracking: Wed 10:30-12:30, Tues/Thurs 2-4 PM Pacific