They sing passionately about smoky dancehalls, 18-wheelers, burning love, and broken hearts.
On their debut CD, Straight Up, Steve Elliott & Lucie Walker charmed fans and critics with their soulful harmonies and original, high-octane Rockin' Country Blues.
Their songs have found their way onto the big screen: 9 of their tunes in 3 feature films (3 in Malcolm McDowell's 'The Barber', and 3 in the independent feature, 'Little Boy Blues', and 3 in 2005's 'Rapid Fire').
Another song, 'Tumblin' Down', also from Straight Up, now has its own Country Line Dance, choreographed by Michele Perron, and taught internationally (Canada, USA, UK, Australia).
Steve Elliott and Lucie Walker could change their names to "Leather and Lace" with the wonderful sound their contrasting voices create when blended together. Steve's earthy voice is the perfect compliment to Lucie's soft and sultry vocals. Together, they make a song come to life.
Steve hails from Vancouver, B.C. and has been a musician since the age of 5. When he was 10, he picked up the banjo, at 14, the guitar and at 16 he was writing and performing with his own group. His first Top 40 writing success came with Jamie Donald's version of "You're The Only One." No stranger to the music buisness, Steve has had his music recorded by artists such as B.C. Country Music's Entertainer of the Year, Bing Armstrong, 'Loverboy' rocker, Paul Dean, and Nashville country star, Ricky Van Shelton.
A French girl from Quebec, Lucie moved with her family to Ontario when she was 8. At age 12, she was accepted into music school where she sang with the award-winning St. Peter's choir. It was there that she became inspired to write songs. She won a singing contest at 19, which gave her the boost she needed to join a band and hit the road!
Lucie is the main vocalist on most of the songs and Steve sings lead on three of the ten songs, plays lead guitar on all songs and wrote eight of the songs on the album. Lucie also has her penmanship involved with the two songs that she wrote. Altogether, Steve and Lucie have created one dynamic duo and an impressive first album in "Straight Up".
Rather than use their names for their website domain, they chose to describe their music instead, calling it "rockin country blues dot com". That covers the biggest part of it as there is no one classification for Steve and Lucie's styles (and yes, I meant that in the plural sense). They go from the deepest country roots ("Borderline") to a rockin' fever of honky tonk ("Tumblin' Down") and finally meld into country blues ("The Truth In Your Eyes") that is nothing short of hit material. There's no one nitch to place them but to say they are country covering the gambit of Americana, country, rock and blues. Hence the title of their domain which I found very interesting, then understood completely when I heard their music.
The muscians who graced this work of art are first rate and are worthy of playing in any studio on any album. Their expertise was more than a compliment to Steve's and Lucie's singing, they were all so in sync it's as if they were one. They certainly deserve to have their credits involved for their wonderful work... artists one and all.
Bass: Bob Becker
Piano & B3: Michael Creber
Steel Guitar: Charlie Hase
Acoustic Guitar: Steve Elliottt
Drums and CD Production: John Cody
Fiddle: Frankie Rodgers
Mandolin, slide and electric Guitars: Jim Foster
Guitar Solo on "It's Everything to Me": Mike Crozier
Another treat is that the CD liner is a small booklet filled with all the credits, photos of everyone as well as the lyrics to all ten songs. This entire creation makes for a very beautiful package of talent.
The bottom line is, somewhere along the line, Steve Elliottt and Lucie Walker came together to make music. I can only believe that it was meant to be. Their sound is unlike any other, their talents, respectively combined, know no boundries. With it's broad-based appeal, "Straight Up" is one of those albums that will enrich any music lover's collection.
There's a redneck ball at the Veteran's hall
And the telephone spreads the news
The country folk get together at night
It's a cure for the summertime blues
Everybody here knows everybody's car
It's a big city night in a small town bar
And everybody's rocking to a steel guitar
And they just take it as it comes
Vancouverites Steve Elliott and Lucie Walker sound like they've spent a lot of time channeling some errant Austin vibe bouncing off the Aurora Borealis. Listen to Straight Up once and you'll instantly comprehend why they styled their website as www.rockincountryblues.com. Straight Up, another album pointed out to us by Australian disc jockey Eric Black ("Blue Country Radio"), is a warm, friendly, unpretentious, imminently listenable roots rock Americana album full of roadhouse jump and grab-your-partner, dim-lights, slow-dance tunes that would fit in the Broken Spoke or Ginny's Little Longhorn as well as any of the current Austin faves.
Elliott and Walker trade off on lead vocals (Elliott is the rough-edged Bad Cop while Walker is the pure-toned, angelic Good Cop in this duo). Their singing is the centerpiece the songs are built around, and their zippy, tongue-tripping, double-time, now-what-did-they-say duets on several tracks may be the most appealing musical element on the album.
Elliott is the primary songwriter and whether it's a rocking, cocky-male-attitude barnburner or a bluesy, swinging love song, he understands the value of a well-placed hook. His songs have the savvy groove and that tell-tale infectiousness that imply that Mr. Elliott has paid his dues in the bars and knows what works (and what causes a singer to duck behind the chicken wire).
She got every little thing about love that a man could
She got the face of an angel, moves like a debutant
You're settin' me up with that red-hot love
She knows how to love me, knows how to rattle my cage
And when she opened the door
You could feel the fires rage
On several tracks it's also understood that Elliott knows his Canadian musical heritage includes the likes of Ian Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot and George Hamilton IV, so, no matter how hard you rock or how blue you get, you owe it to yourself and your audience not to stray too far from a certain rural element that has always been present in the best of Canadiana. Mission accomplished.
Ms. Walker also takes a turn at songwriting with two tracks and hers is a sweet country-girl style. Where Elliott's songs are more "primal," Walker's are reflective, contemplative, and mellow. She's a deep thinker.
It's all right, just the way it comes
A little rain, a little sun
Life unfolds as it should
It's all right, baby, it's all good
It only hurts when you resist
Then you need your Poor Baby kiss
The did what they could
It's all right, baby, it's all good
One of the keys to Elliott and Walker achieving their rocking country blues sound is the expanded ensemble they play with. They employ steel (Charlie Hase), slide guitar (Jim Foster) and keys (Michael Creiber) on the jumpier rocking numbers, while on the country tracks they use Foster on mandolin and fiddler Frankie Rodgers along with Hase and Creiber. With producer John Cody on drums and Rob Becker on bass, this combo distinguishes itself with the wide variety of styles it plays with ease and familiarity.
Straight Up may never make it into the Billboard Top 10, but I have a different scale for measuring a record. I put it on and open the door so that people walking by (and trust me, these people come in all persuasions) can hear what's being played in my office. In the past month, Straight Up has caused more people to stop and stick their heads in and ask, "what's that you're playing?" (and "where do you buy records like that?") than any record I've received. I attribute this to its being a straight ahead, good-time, accessible album. Imagine making a record like that in this complex age of circus gimmickry.
*When people ask where I get music like Steve Elliott and Lucie Walker's Straight Up, I tell 'em www.rockincountryblues.com Or else they could position themselves under the Aurora Borealis and just wait for the bounce.