Steven Finn

Steven Finn

BandBluesSinger/Songwriter

A one man folk and blues train with harmonica, guitar, footbeats (with tap shoes) and more! An artist who sings from the heart with lyrics that reach into the darkest recesses of the soul

Biography

Blues harmonica ... Bottleneck Guitar ... Vocal ... Tap shoes

Singing a mixture of self-penned and traditional songs like Spancill Hill, The January Man and Leadbelly’s Bourgeois Blues, Steven began playing in the folk clubs of Northern England when he was seventeen, two years after picking up a guitar on hearing Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. His second ever public performance was supporting Isaac Guillory, a brilliant guitar player from New York, in the Poynton Folk Centre.

Around this time he started playing guitar for British Harmonica Champion Dave Aston. Armed with his uncle’s harmonica Steven began learning tunes by Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson and Rory McLeod, who he met at the World Harmonica Championships in Germany. How did they whoop, holler, sing and play at the same time?

After touring as support with The Beautiful South, Steven formed a band with bodhran player John Joe Kelly (from Flook) and Andrew Dinan on fiddle. Together they recorded the album ‘Before the flood’ on Small World Records in 1999 and went on a tour encompassing Ireland, the UK, America and Hong Kong.

In 2003 Steven moved to London and began playing guitar for Emiliana Torrini. They toured Europe, America, Australia and the Middle East. Amongst the highlights of this time was playing support for Elvis Costello at the Montreaux Jazz festival, playing to a packed Guardian tent at Glastonbury and performing to thousands in an old boat shed in remotest Iceland with Belle & Sebastian.

As a solo performer Steven has supported Martin Carthy, Rory McLeod, Paul Brady, Labi Siffre, Isaac Guillory, Mary Coughlan, Kathryn Tickell, and Capercaille.

Spring 2008 was spent recording his debut solo album ‘Houdini’s Blues’, sung and played live, influenced by the early field recordings he listens to made by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins.

The album has received amazing reviews from folk, blues and roots music reviewers - reflecting its wide range of influences - and in 2009 he became an endorsed artist for Hohner Harmonicas, one of only 3 in the UK (the others being Paul Jones & Paul Lamb)

Lyrics

Hail to the thief

Written By: Steven Finn

I’m all for peace but I’ve never heard a white dove sing,
I’ve heard it yearn in every speech on every step at every corner of every world,
angry man’s a hungry man might come a looking for trouble or something worse.
I’m all for freedom but the chains are running through my veins,
I’d sell my soul at the crossroads but I’m told that there’s a queue to see the man,
Now if you’ve a dark face on a bad day in the worst place it might be the last train you chase.
I’m all for love but I’d sure like to feel it’s pulse,
if I raise my finger to the weather the wind doesn’t sigh it moans,
if you want to win my mind and my heart the best thing to do’s to straighten up.

All come to reap the goldrush

Written By: Steven Finn

Sun rises in the east, another normal day for me, do my job earn my pay then turn it all off, hope that I can stand the pace of another blood mad city day as another gone mad city man falls by the way.
He came to reap the goldrush, I came here for just as much and found myself out of luck in a broken wishing well,
All come to reap the goldrush
A crystal gull flies to the shore and breaks it’s wing and as it falls, at the air it tries to claw but it tumbles down, toss away this wishing well and these hopes on which I dwelt, I played the cards which I dealt but they came up low.
All come to reap the goldrush
Sun rises in the east as I rebuild it piece by piece, I’ll not be fooled by what I see not anymore, as another flock of gulls fly to the shore, break their wings and as they fall at the air they try to claw but all tumble down.
All come to reap the goldrush

Talktown

Written By: Steven Finn

Singing songs to keep our spirits high, spirits that wander and howl like ghosts at times
my old man told me not to sing so loud,
I could be picking up pieces reaping rewards and stitching seams to carry my hoards
and talktown has all the answers.
Shaking hands striking bargains and with eyes wide open to break them when the time comes
and talktown loves me with one hand under the table, the best way to defend myself is to keep one step ahead of the rest of them
Dusty roads on either side of me, skipping out cargo all the poor and unsuccessful souls
and talktown told me they were all caught red handed,
pulling down fences ripping out bars he says they’re criminals but they look more like prisoners of war
and talktown has all the answers.
Singing songs to keep our spirits high, spirits that wander and howl like ghosts at times
my old man told me not to sing so loud,
I could be picking up pieces reaping rewards and stitching seams to carry my hoards
and talktown has all the answers.

Houdini's Blues

Written By: Steven Finn

When I find you I’m gonna bury you and when I’ve done that I’m gonna dance for fun.
It’s a low life when you’re sinking deep, a high life when it tastes sweet,
it’s a life line when you’re sinking deep and a real high when it feels real.
There’s been a done deal upon a barren hill, if my love won’t hurt my hatred will.
There’s not a fine line between love and hate, if there’s a fine line then I must be fake.
It’s a fast ride and a bad break a guaranteed heartache, there’s not a fine line between love and hate,
if there’s a fine line then I must be fake.
When I find you I’m gonna bury you and when I’ve done that I’m gonna dance for fun.

Dad's conscription blues

Written By: Steven Finn

Smoke and strong whisky
Come on over here and kiss me
‘Cos I’m in trouble deep

My baby boy turned seventeen
Been turned into a killing machine
Drafted up to fight for foreign soil

I went down to the base to wave him off
And hug the bones of him
I told him so and to keep his rifle close

He said ‘Dad don’t you worry
I’m trained to kill and that’s an order
I’m the farmer of these killing fields’

The letters came thick and fast
And I held each word
And felt each breath
Whilst I waited like a hanging man

From tanks and shells, cries and moans
To bullets and tears and I want to come home
This war could be the death of me

A crack, a thud, number’s up
It’s the devil’s brew
These streams of blood
And a thousand wounds that never scar

Flags, salutes and shining brass
And medals in memory of
Whilst the marching band plays me out

Let these murderous and political thieves
Get down on their own two knees
And beg me for mercy and not Him

Smoke and strong whisky
Come over here and kiss me
‘Cos I’m in trouble deep

Discography

Album - Houdini's Blues
Track listing:
Houdini's Blues
I wish I had a friend
Struggle
Dream song #1
Heroes and movie stars
Hail to the thief
Talktown
Strong storm rising
All come to reap the goldrush

Set List

Typical set length is 45 mins - 1 1/2 hours.

Steven's set list comprises mostly original material although he also includes songs such as Odetta's 'Another man done gone', Si Kahn's 'What you do with what you've got', and Johnny Cash's 'Get rhythm' on harmonica and vocals.