A good way to describe Steve Saunders' music is a cross between Jason Isbell and Jimmy Buffett. People have a good time and still get some meaningful lyrics with his original songs.
Steve was raised in Paintsville, KY which was the home of several people like Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers. He was surrounded by music his whole life. “I started out singing In the church. My mother was probably the best singer I had ever heard. If we ever visited another church within a 75 mile radius, they would completely redo their program. They would always say “We see that Alice Saunders is visiting today, would you mind singing something for us? She would. My mother had four octaves and hit these really high notes and then go even higher. I would hold my breath every time she would soar up there and she never missed.”
Steve sang at the high school talent show in sixth grade which caught the attention of a local musical family in town. They asked him to join the band The Del Tones and Rhythm Kings where they would record on Wednesday evenings and the show would air on Saturdays on WSIP radio for several years.
Steve joined a couple of bands in Paintsville during High School and his brother Mark bought him his first guitar.
In those days (before the internet) we had to find someone who knew a song and have them teach it to you. My poor mother was probably sick of Lying Eyes (The Eagles) at least the intro, because I just learned the intro and the verse. I never learned the chorus. I would get tired of trying to learn other people’s songs, so I wrote my own. The Del Tones and Rhythm Kings recorded one of his first songs he ever wrote.
Steve moved to Greater Cincinnati area and went to school at Northern Kentucky University. He worked in the media services dept where he was introduced to multi track recording. Steve played in bands around Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for years. At one point he met and developed a friendship with the Joe Walsh band during his Confessor tour traveling with them to several cities. Steve became close with Rick Rosas (aka Rick the Bass Player) and Waddy Watchel. When Joe went back with the Eagles, Rick became the bass player with Neil Young and Waddy has played with just about everyone and is currently the band director for Stevie Nicks.
Joe Walsh, Steve Saunders and Waddy Watchel
Steve married and had children and a business that supported the family and his musical habit. He released a contemporary Christian CD in 2000 that received regional air play and did some local touring, but business took most of his time. Fast forward a few years found Steve as an empty nester. “One day I realized that my daughter has a daughter and my son is career army. They are on their own. So I started playing out locally and found that it’s so much fun.” In 2015, Steve released “The Basement Tapes” with great acceptance
Waddy and Steve a couple of years later
Starting with the country rock song “Fly” and ending with his only recorded cover “Heat Wave”, Steve played all the instruments as well as produced the CD. “I had my friend Jeff Monroe from Group Effort Studios do the mastering. He has such a great ear.” “These songs all have stories of how they came about. I wrote “Burnt Coat Harbor” about a working lobster fishing island in Maine. “Always” was written about this fascinating Asian couple we saw in San Francisco. “Nobody Likes You” was written in honor of someone whom I worked a day job with. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I wrote “Run To Me” from witnessing what appeared to be fallout from a domestic violence situation. “Alison” was about my daughter and “Seems Like It’s Over” was my friend Rick Rosas’ favorite song of mine.
Steve moved to Columbus, OH for a couple of years following his wife Peg. He started getting involved with the local music and then Covid-19 hit. “The world shut down. I wrote quiet a few songs and now I’m in the process of another CD. Again, all with stories that go with them.
Rick Rosas (Rick The Bass Player)
Steve Saunders Music ©2021