Young has never fit comfortably into categories. He follows his own musical
and spiritual quest, weaving together Southern roots with a wide experience
of life, and creating new traditions in American music.
Young was born in Georgia and grew up in Alabama, Georgia and Texas in
a family which moved frequently in search of work. By the time he had
completed high school in Beaumont, Texas, he was playing guitar and writing
songs which incorporated influences of folk , country , gospel, and blues
musicians and people like Hank Williams , Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins
and others. Once as a teenager he was blown away by seeing Carlos Montoya
, a Flamenco Guitarist. He managed to use that too!
By his late teens, Young was back in Alabama, where he established some
reputation on the local music scene. However, the wandering spirit soon
took over again. He immersed himself briefly in the Greenwich Village
folk scene, at a time when Bob Dylan and others were just being noticed.
Returning to Alabama, Steve found that "my New York folk-protest
songs didn't fly in the South." Searching for more receptive audiences,
he made short forays to California and other locations before moving to
the West Coast in 1964.
In California, he worked with musicians like Van Dyke Parks and Stephen
Stills, at one point holding a day job as a mailman. A major-label record
deal led to a short-lived stint with a psychedelic country-folk band,
Settling into a solo career, Steve Young became an integral part of the
movement which defined the California country-rock sound. Appearing on
Steve's 1969 classic album, Rock, Salt & Nails were fellow pioneers
like Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon and Gram Parsons.
Through 12 albums and countless live performances, Steve Young's music
has remained fresh and aggressive, with a sense of deepening spirituality,
and a consistent intellectual and artistic challenge, to himself and to
Many of the stars of the music industry have recorded Steve Young songs,
and in some cases forged a career image around them. "Lonesome, Orn'ry
& Mean," for example, became the signature tune for 'Outlaw'
Waylon Jennings. Hank Williams Jr.'s cover of "Montgomery In The
Rain" remains a classic.
the most-covered Steve Young song of all is "Seven Bridges Road,"
which has been recorded at various times by artists like Joan Baez, Rita
Coolidge, Iain Matthews, the Eagles, [Ricochet, and, most recently, Dolly
While Steve Young songs have brought commercial success to others, Young
has never been close enough to the mainstream to sustain his occasional
brushes with stardom . He has been unwilling to accept the loss of artistic
control that the industry expects of its stars.
while Steve has lived in country music towns like Nashville and Austin,
and his songs have had a strong impact on the direction of country music,
he rejects the country label for himself. Young is in many ways a cultural
dynamic in himself.
[Part Cherokee (from his father) by birth,] steeped in Baptist fundamentalism
as a child, yet attracted to a Zen spirituality, the young man from the
South with a nomadic spirit went on to create a unique form of American
roots music with a truly global perspective.
Steve Young has literally toured the world. He has performed in many countries
of Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, in Micronesia, China and Mongolia,
in Egypt and East Africa and beyond. Wherever he has gone, he has filled
the dual role of ambassador for American music and student of the cultures
Young's live performances express the depth and power of his vision. He
draws on his own songs, on Southern folk songs from varied traditions,
on collaborations and on the best of contemporary songwriters such as
J.D. Loudermilk, David Olney and others.
Steve continues to tour extensively in the U.S., Canada and Europe, as
well as more distant portions of the globe. As a writer, recording artist
and a live performer, he is an artist at the very peak of his powers --
quite simply , not to be missed.