Have you ever listened to an album that has made you want to flee to a cottage in the country and spend countless nights by the fire, with nothing but your thoughts to keep you company?
I recently came across an album just like this from Southampton based singer/songwriter Steve Lowis as he courses through feelings that span a lifetime of musical passion with Chapters. This is an album deeply rooted in family values, from 11 year old Lowis picking up his father’s acoustic guitar, to the influence of his brother’s CD collection that helped to shape his sound. This was just the start of a life fueled by a passion for music and how it brings people together.
Released as a lyric and photo book, Chapters is a reflective collection of songs, opening with ‘Rescue’, which Lowis wrote aged 17. There is something very traditional about the album, which lends itself to profound feelings of solace when simply listened to, but pushes more personal plains when delved into. This is where the book format comes in handy, adding a touch of context to the story that is beautifully told within the lyrics; for me, the driving force of this album is Lowis’ passion behind it all. There is an ever present emotional strain in Chapters for almost anyone to relate to, but more important is the context of it all. That it came from a man who has gone through the majority of his life surrounded by music, and so a comfort of his has led to an album that may go on to comfort others along the way.
Lowis’ journey started at home with the support of his family, and since living in Southampon, he has surrounded himself with the support of fellow musicians, developing a community across many venues in the city over the years. Music builds such a strong connection between people and this comes across strongly in Chapters even if it is not explicitly explored. The warm tone of the album is incredibly welcoming with a notion of feelings being understood and expressed in such a way that people can connect with Lowis without even having met him.
Recently Lowis has been managing Southampton’s Sofar Sounds, a community for music lovers, playing intimate shows in everyday places such as living rooms or retail shops. Sofar happens in 403 cities across the world and it means the world to me that I live in one of them. Now I just have to make sure to actually go to one…