Steve Vansak and the Joe Roberts Band
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Steve Vansak and the Joe Roberts Band

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Steve Vansak has been a hidden gem here in the NW Indiana/Chicagoland area for years. On his third full-length release, "The Other Side Of America", he brings some powerful and well constructed lyrics delving on social issues all brought together with a roots/classic rock sound. Where as most bands today have been playing bubble gum pop music marketed for a teen generation that cares about nothing more than a new ringtone, Steve has made a LP for the rest of us who are looking for music that touches on life lessons and social issues that the media tends to forget.
If you're looking for mature music with a mature message... such as Tom Petty or John Mellencamp... pick up "The Other Side of America" today. by One Kind Radio
http://www.onekindradio.com/indie/music.html - One Kind Radio


Steve Vansak is one of those troubadour types – someone with words in their head and tunes in their heart – who must release them or explode.

Fortunately for us, release them he does. Vansak is a very talented rootsy, folky, edgy rocker with an abundance of style and warmth.

At the risk of sounding cliche’, at the end of the day, it’s always been
all about the song for this artist. That is why his CDs have a special place in my personal music collection.

Whether playing solo acoustic as he often does, or with that
accompaniment of his backing combo, The Joe Roberts Band, emotion leads the charge,
conviction delivers the message and sweaty fun leaves the memories.

With the capable instrumental and vocal backing of the Joe Roberts Band – bassist Aaron Yakovetz, drummer Zach Malasto, and guitarist Steve Rempis – Vansak recently released his finest album yet, “The Other Side Of America.”

Perhaps this album is so impressive because of the time and care the
artist took while recording it and the focus given to the songs themselves.

“We set up all these old, vintage amps and just went to town,” he
recalled of the sessions. “This is an album for fans of the old vinyl records, young and old. Musically, we went for warmth. Lyrically, the same characters show up in different songs at various stages of our lives. There are many layers
to uncover in these songs should the listener care to take the time to do so.”

While Vansak has always had a great knack for telling stories on the
songs that filled his previous albums – “A Different Road” (2002) and “Permanent Red” (1997) – many of the dozen songs that flesh out on this latest release are more topical and emotionally charged.

“It’s the times we live in,” commented Vansak on pushing down the throttle on his social consciousness.

“I don’t try to, or like to, get political with my music,” he said,
adding that sometimes thoughts, views and emotions just come pouring out when a songwriter sits down to put pen to paper. Point in case, the new CD’s caustic
“The Patriots” number, directed at the Bush Administration and underscoring the composer’s views with authentic news sound bites.

But before you get the misconception that Vansak aspires to be the Dylan of his generation, let me assure you that this Gary-born rocker’s head and
style are more akin to the straight ahead rock of say Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen than to Minnesota’s Mr. Zimmerman.

In fact, both of those artists are well represented during Vansak’s
energetic live shows, where he blends together selections from his own impressive songbook with ones by some of his favorite (and hopefully yours) artists.

“The ratio of covers verses original songs depends on the show we’re
doing and the audience we’re playing to,” noted Vansak. “I play the kind of cover songs that you don’t hear in local clubs.”

Aside from tapping the Springsteen/Petty catalog, other covers in Vansak's live sets can include –– Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” Jeff Buckley’s “The Last Goodbye,” The Neville Brothers’ “Yellow Moon,” Springsteen’s “Because The Night,” Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Couldn’t
Stand The Weather," and many other equally deep cut selections.

While his interpretations and treatments of other artist’s material is generally impressive, Vansak is at his best when performing his own songs.

That said, don’t let him get away from you without playing “Angelina”
and “Come Home” from his new album, and “Rocks And Bone” from his “A Different Road” album. These are all outstanding songs from his own pen. - Tom Lounges - The Times - Saturday Spotlight


Reviewer: Pete Berwick
A Different Road, the latest offering from talented and inspired Indiana artist Steve Vansak, joins my list of recordings that are too damn good and real for the music industry to ever care about. The greatest music has always been that which no one has heard of, and maybe that's a good thing, because it is the frustration of being ignored that often makes an artist great. I personally saw Steve perform songs solo from this album at a sold out musical awards show in Griffith, Indiana recently, and his performance was so solid I didn't even miss the band. Do yourself a favor, turn off the radio and turn onto A DIFFERENT ROAD. - Midwest Beat Magazine


Reviewer:Tom Lounges
Arriving at press time to cap off the flood of local releases with a bang was "A Different Road". This latest 10-song set from singer/songwriter Steve Vansak is the best this talented Gary native has done yet. - The Times - Local Scene


Permanent Red is the debut CD from Steve Vansak and the Joe Roberts Band and it packs a whallop, especially in it's newly remastered version which features three bonus tracks - Back To Indiana (a rockabilly raveup), Loose Ends ( a garage/pop kiss off) and I'm The Man ( a retro - cool ode to male ego gone amuck).

Vansak and the band rock hard on the explosive I Reach Out, with it's paradoxical lyrics of isolation and brotherhood. Naked And Slow is quite simply an erotic poem set to mainstream rock music. In yet another stylistic turn, 70's funk horns appear on Testify, with an opening soul scream from Vansak that begs to be heard at peak volume. In another retro outing, bassist Aaron Yakovetz brings an innovative groove to the disco/motown pop of Dancin' With The House On Fire.

Steve Vansak and the Joe Roberts Band hail from Gary, Indiana just outside of Chicago, IL and can be found on many Midwest stages. Vansak is the sole author of all songs, sings lead vocals and handles all guitar duties. - Great Lakes Publishing


Vansak CD Release Party

by Matt Arroyo

May 19, 2006

The best performers are only at home on stage, in front of the lights, in front of a good, enthusiastic crowd. Steve Vansak excels as a musician when he is performing.

This was more than evident at Vansak’s CD release for The Other Side of America, held May 20 at Romano’s Pizza in Schererville. The venue has become one of the most important stages for original musicians in the area because they value the spirit and creativity of the art and don’t require bands to play mostly covers.

Vansak played a slew of originals in his two-hour set, leading off with a deep-cut from his new album, “You Can Never Come Home.” This song, as well as “King/Queen” and “Heavy Stuff” best displayed Vansak’s powerful, classic rock-and-roll riffs and rhymes. Live, the songs really jumped out at me in a way they didn’t while casually listening to the tracks at home.

Although I still dislike his classic rock style of rhyming his lyrics when they would better served without, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, despite not normally listening to Springsteen/Mellencamp-esque artists. Vansak likes touching on large issues in his songs and that’s hard to do when you have to fit the ideas into rhyming lines.

Several times Vansak and his excellent backing band broke down a song to give extended time for guitar solos and other musical deviations. And although Vansak claims they haven’t played together much, their sound said otherwise.

The Other Side of America is available at www.stevevansak.com - newSlang magazine


Gary native Steve Vansak is a passionate guy, though at first glance you might not guess it. He walks and talks like a man who knows what he believes in. And as a musician and person that means he doesn't have to wear a t-shirt to proclaim his beliefs.

Vansak's third full-length album deals with some "heavy" issues of class and social justice in America. Its title, The Other Side of America, sums that up pretty well.

The album reminds me of another Indiana-bred rocker, John Mellencamp, who also added a heavy dose of three-dimensional characters into rock songs with a pinch of lyrical social justice for good measure.

"Angelina" and "Come Home" stand out for their melodic qualities, making them two of the best and most complete tracks on the album.

Musically, Vansak and his band (including Aaron Yakovetz on bass, Zach Malesto on drums/backup vocals, and Steve Rempis on guitars/backup vocals) provide upbeat, solid rock instrumentals to support Vansak and his lyrical musings. - Calumet Press - newSlang Magazine


Discography

The Other Side of America - 2006
A Different Road - August 2002
Permanent Red - April 1997 (re-released with bonus tracks in 2003)
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'The Other Side of America' picks up three awards from Midwest Beat Magazine Readers 03/07:

Best Chicagoland Album Artwork:
1st Place: The Other Side of America - Steve Vansak

Best Chicagoland Album:
2nd Place: The Other Side of America - Steve Vansak

Best Chicagoland Songwriter:
2nd Place: Steve Vansak
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Music Video: The Patriots debuts in rotation on Canadian Music TV 02/07
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Track "Back To Indiana" featured on Late Show with
David Letterman 11/04
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Track "Rocks and Bone" becomes a regular feature on Night Rock radio on Midwest rock station X-ROCK 103.9 07/04
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A Different Road is voted Best Chicagoland Album by the editors of Midwest Beat Magazine 03/03

A Different Road receives multiple awards for Best Chicagoland Album, Best Album Artwork, Best Songwriter by readers of Midwest Beat Magazine.
03/03
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Track "I Reach Out" wins Adaptec song contest and bundled with their "Born To Burn" CD authoring software, reaching 10,000 listeners. 06/98
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All albums on iTunes and most major download sites.

Photos

Bio

S.B.V. Records
2448 West 63rd Avenue
Merrillville, IN 46410
Bookings: 219-985-0353
info@stevevansak.com

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Vansak was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, home of steel mills and the Jackson 5. Sandwiched between Chicago and miles of farmland, Vansak experienced many different lifestyles and musical styles. A veteran of the Midwest music scene, his bands have run the gamut from rhythm and blues, folk, Motown soul, pop, and rock.

His latest release, "The Other Side of America" is deeply rooted in the classic rock groove, while still sounding contemporary. The new CD was recorded with the Joe Roberts Band who nailed the blistering album opener "Come Home" in one glorious take. "It was like hitting the "easy button" on a few of these", says Vansak. "Three and half minutes later and bam, this perfect storm has been created. I was very pleased with the band's passion during these sessions".

Many of the songs are socially charged and Vansak's guitar skills have never been captured quite like this before. "We set up all these old, vintage amps and just went to town", he says. "This is an album for fans of vinyl records, young and old. Musically, we went for analog warmth. Lyrically, the same characters show up in different songs at various stages of their lives. There are many layers to uncover in these songs should the listener choose to do so".

The group brings the passion from studio to stage playing new songs Heavy Stuff (a rocking tribute to social changers past and present) and Brooklyn's House (a fun and incredibly catchy song about a house party) along side the folk rock of "Rocks and Bone" (from A Different Road) and funk rock of Testify (from the debut Permanent Red).

"The Other side of America" (as well as the older titles) is available at all the major download stores such as iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster and more. The real find is the vinyl like CD release, with it's photo filled lyric book and a written introductory of each track from Vansak, who is the sole author of all the songs. "You've got to give people more than they bargained for", states Vansak. "That's our philosophy in the studio as well as onstage".