\ TORONTO \
A veteran Toronto recording producer, multi-instrument player and music teacher who is hailed by artists from several varied genres is being honoured at a special tribute concert on Thursday, May 28 at the Seven44 club.
Steve Sherman, owner of Steve Sherman Productions in Toronto’s east end area for the past 16 years, is also a songwriter who has released three of his own albums. But he’s best known both for his “studio ears” producing and mixing acumen and uncanny playing ability to add note-and-vibe-perfect accompanying guitar and bass to a mind-boggling array of musical styles.
He’s recorded many Pop, Roots, Country, Blues, Rock and Jazz acts over the years and often ends up being asked to also perform on at least some of their tracks as well as frequently at live shows. D.C. Music Studios, a teaching and rehearsal company in Etobicoke, calls Sherman “a local legend” in noting that one of their featured instructors learned his craft studying under him.
Pete Otis, owner of the SongTown musical enterprise that is mounting the tribute show as the latest in a long series of Honouring Our Own concerts aimed at recognizing contributions by members of Toronto’s musical community, now also includes Sherman in his own band for live appearances.
“He is a great guitar player and teacher, versatile in any style of music,” says Otis, who writes songs blending Country, Pop-Rock and Blues elements and is currently recording a new album at his studio.
During recording, Otis enthuses, “he has great ears and knows how to listen to an artist’s vision. He has an abundance of creativity and continually adds new ideas to any song. He makes musical dreams come true.”
Corey Lueck & The Smoke Wagon Blues Band, three-time nominees for Blues Album of the year at the Hamilton Music Awards and Maple Blues nominees for best new artist, features Sherman on It Ain’t Easy, which reached #1 for Blues in Canada and #3 for Roots in 2013. They also chose him to mix their 2013 live recording, Live in Hamilton.
Folk artist Nicole Coward, whose 2013 debut album Why Don’t You Care was produced by Sherman and features his playing, says that “he respects your music, your vision and your time.” Country songwriter Glenn Reid has released three albums recorded at Sherman’s studio and raves about his “outstanding bass playing, guitar work and production ear.” Pop piano-playing Drew Winters, a solo songwriter and member of Bob Segarini’s Cats & Dogs band (which Sherman also recorded), simply refers to Sherman as “my musical better half.” Adult contemporary artist Mike Neill, who has released six albums that Sherman produced, calls him “a top jazz guitarist and one of the best session players around.” Rock songwriter Pat Little raves that he’s “a fabulous guitar player, dynamite producer and sweetheart of a friend.”
Indeed, Sherman’s personality is a large part of why he is so sought after by musicians looking to sound as good as they can when recording. “He happens to be one of the easiest guys to talk to and share your ideas with,” Otis notes, and Coward comments that “he has been one of the most enjoyable people I’ve had to work with in the music industry.”
The May 28 tribute concert, which gets underway in the club at 744 Mount Pleasant Avenue (formerly known as Chick’n’deli) at 7 p.m. (doors at 6) will feature many of Sherman’s clients and musical compadres performing and is hosted by Ken Stowar of CIUT 89.5FM.
The roster, which is still being added to as more artists find out about the event and offer to participate, features Otis, Winters, Lueck, Little and Neill along with an eclectic lineup that also includes Pop-Roots songwriter Harpin’ Norm Lucien, the Dunai Ukrainian Band, keyboardist Lawrie Ingles, Turkish-Rock songwriter John Romas, Folk artist Don Suitor, Pop songwriter Michael Bar and performers, Bill Dickson, Dave Pleasance, Anthony Garcia and Andrew Parton.
For the full lineup visit www.songtown.ca, where advance tickets can also still be purchased for $15.
-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca