Little Steven’s new solo album, SOULFIRE, is available today on 180-gram black vinyl via Wicked Cool/Big Machine/UMe. The album, released digitally and on CD on May 19, is presented as a double LP housed in a gatefold sleeve with the music on sides 1-3 and a unique etching of Steven Van Zandt on side 4. The vinyl is available to purchase here: https://ume.lnk.to/LittleStevenSoulfire
SOULFIRE, Van Zandt’s first solo album in close to two decades is without question his purest and most uniquely personal artistic statement thus far. His return to the spotlight has garnered rave reviews from fans and critics alike with Rolling Stone exclaiming, “rock’s ultimate sideman reclaims the Jersey Shore sound he helped invent,” and USA Today remarking that the album’s “incendiary impact just about makes up for his long absence.” Adding, “Cynicism, irony and cultivated hip detachment have taken their toll on rock ‘n’ roll. With SOULFIRE, Van Zandt aims to blow all that out and lead listeners back to its more passionate essence.” American Songwriter enthused, “It’s hard to imagine a more joyous and revelatory contemporary blue-eyed soul recording. The appropriately titled SOULFIRE is a tough, tight and clearly inspired project as well as a most welcome return from the musical shadows for Steven Van Zandt.” Billboard declared the album “hearkens back to Van Zandt’s classic first solo album of gritty, greasy, horn-accented ‘60s-style rock and soul,” while Paste proclaimed, “rockier than Motown or the Sound of Philadelphia, this a joyous invitation to live and love.”
SOULFIRE sees the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer revisiting songs that span the length of his career as artist, performer, producer, arranger, and songwriter, focusing directly on the hugely influential “soul horns-meet-rock ‘n’ roll guitars” approach he first pioneered on Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’ classic first three albums.
Each of Van Zandt’s prior five solo albums had seen him expressing his utterly personal songwriting through a changing variety of sounds and approaches, an ambitious adventurousness that has fueled much of his creative output these past two decades. He expanded his parameters, as an actor on The Sopranos and Lilyhammer, as host, historian, and rock ‘n’ roll advocate on Sirius XM’s one-and-only “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” (not to mention creator of Sirius XM’s long-running “Outlaw Country” format). Van Zandt kept his skills sharp by composing the score for all three seasons of Lilyhammer and continued to work as producer and songwriter, lending his distinctive craft to records from an array of international garage rockers, but couldn’t kick a lingering sense of unfinished business.
“I felt a bit guilty about having walked away from Little Steven the artist,” he says. “I left that part of myself behind and I shouldn’t have done that. I let the material down by not continuing to perform it,” he says. “I betrayed the work and I want to fix that. I didn’t give up on the material – there were a lot of other factors – but I do have a sense of wanting some redemption for it.”
Van Zandt – who will remain a touring and recording member of The E Street Band – is currently touring Europe with his band, the Disciples of Soul. A full-scale North American headline tour will be announced soon – for regular updates and ticket information, please visit http://littlesteven.com/index.php/tour-dates