LATEST NEWS … from Steve Dunfee- 11 Jun 2019 -
Image: Steve Dunfee, Singer Songwriter from Mountain City, Tennessee
In this interview, we catch up with Steve Dunfee about the recent release of his LP Lookin’ Back.
First of all, tell us about you, Steve. When were you first introduced to music?
My first introduction to music was watching the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show on television as a very young boy. According to my mother, I fell in love with the show and the music, and I was devastated when the show was cancelled in June of 1961. Moving ahead a few short years, my first introduction to learning to play music was in the school band in the fourth grade where I entered into the world of being a musician as a baritone player.
Who’s been the greatest influence on your sound?
Easily, the greatest influence on my sound is my all-time favorite artist, John Denver. Certainly, there are others who I have derived subtle nuances from, like Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce, Kris Kristofferson, and more, but the greatest – John Denver.
When did you start work on this LP? How was the process?
Answering this might take as long it took me to complete this album – well, not quite. I started working on this album in November 2017 with a planned release in late spring 2018. I released the first single “Darlin’ It’s Been A Long, Long Time” on New Year’s Day 2018. It was about that time that my family discovered that my father was suffering from dementia, was no longer capable of handling his personal affairs, and we needed to move him into an assisted living facility. This forced me to suspend this album project indefinitely while we organized his affairs. I felt that we had it mostly under control by summer and I was able to produce and release a second single “She’s My Everything” in August 2018. Following that release, I worked hard on writing more songs for the project and then in late September 2018, my family was rocked by my next younger brother committing suicide. This project was once again put on hold. His suicide did inspire me to write a couple of songs, one is a Christmas song that was released as a single (not part of this album), and the final track of this album “Lookin’ Back (Scott’s Song). After the holidays, I began recording the remaining songs for the album, and released “Being With You” as the third single in January 2019, and I announced an official album release date of May 31. Everything fell into place, and I finally finished the album and it released as scheduled on May 31, 2019.
What’s been the reception from listeners so far?
So far, the reception from listeners of this album has been fantastic; far beyond anything I ever expected. By far, I have received the most praise and positive feedback for this album than for any other project I have released.
Can you sum up the album lyrically and musically?
As the artist, my goal for this album was to lyrically and musically create a reflection of who I am, to create a series of musical “short stories” looking into various aspects, emotions, events, and observations of my life, so that the listeners might feel a connection with me as not only an artist, but as a friend. I wanted the collection of songs on the album to take listeners on a journey, and to leave them to wonder what might come next.
How do you work on your lyrics? Do lyrics or the music come first?
When it comes to song writing for me, there are no rules. If I am inspired to write a song about something, then the lyrics generally come first. I usually just grab a pencil and my notebook and start writing. Once I have a song written, I always find myself going through it several times over the course of several days, or even weeks, making changes and cuts until I am completely happy and sold on the lyrics. There have been songs, though, that just evolved out of messing around playing my guitar and finding a catchy melody, humming along, and then the humming morphed into lyrics.
How did the LP title come about?
The album title “Lookin’ Back” originally came from the first track on the album “Lookin’ Back (At the Love).” This song was meant to be the title track of the album and be the segue into the series of storytelling songs as I described earlier in this interview. After my brother committed suicide, I wrote a second song, “Lookin’ Back (Scott’s Song),” in remembrance of our life together, and as the final track of the album. So, through the extended process of this project, the album unusually ended up with two title tracks “bookending” the song list.
What’s your favorite song to play live and why?
My answer might surprise you. “How Great Thou Art” is by far my favorite song to perform live. I love singing it because it praises JESUS, God’s almighty power, and HIS great sacrifice. When I sing this song I feel a positive energy that I never feel while performing any other song. It is truly special.
Finally, what’s next for Steve Dunfee?
I have had it in the back of my mind for quite some time to produce an acoustic Gospel EP or LP, so I am leaning toward doing that next.