Not just an ordinary dude!
This is the Canadian-born singer/songwriter's thirteenth full album, and whilst he may have missed the radar of a lot of folk, you may well be aware of the female singer Jewell, with whom Steve co-wrote for, and opened up on many occasions for. The title for this album is Noineen Noiny Noin which having spent time in Australia, was how he heard someone saying Nineteen Ninety Nine and as a lot of things, this tickled Steve into using it as the title.
There is a real earthy feel to this album, from the classic Folk opener Spirit Hands, to the foot-tapping Country of Croatia that is as catchy as Hell and showcases Steve's tongue-in-cheek humour well. I Pray It Never Comes To This is a laid back sweet Folk tune whilst Slovenia Breeze sounds like harmonic Country that could well have been recorded in the 1970's.
Conversations With The Moon and Giving Thanks are quiet acoustic tracks that gentle swings back and forth, before the high-pitched vocals of Check Your Head which is part Stones, and part Kravitz that again could well have come from a few decades ago, and possibly stands out for being so very different to everything else.... Next is the Celtic-Folk of Ordinary Dude that will have you dancing and smiling like a fool, then Trash is a slow epic track that goes on for over seven minutes!
Once again we see the leaning towards the Sixties/Seventies Pop in the mellow Dreams 23 that has the old school barbershop harmonies and an experimental twist. Then the album finishes on a high with the fantastic Shuck-n-Jive Country-Rock of Sucker Punch, before the wonderful lyrics of Some Things About Me You Should Know that lists many things that are true of the singer. Steve has said that this is his most personal song to date which is therefore a nice end to the album.
As a welcoming addition we have a bonus CD with six further songs. The first is Killin' Myself To Be With You which whilst the lyrics are a bit silly, it is a lovely song with the great line: "My pants are on fire // I'm full of desire". Indeed sir. Then in Salt Suit we have one of those talking Country tunes (more known as tear-jerkers) that were most common place in the great 'Trucker' songs of years ago, like the 1976 classic by Red Sovine Teddy Bear. Next is the acoustic-hymn of From The Top Of Her Head, then Medical Career explores what might have been should Steve have swapped his guitar for a stethoscope, before the Beatle-esque Pop of 22 Love Avenue. The last song is great due to how it is recorded like an old vinyl 45. Dog In Bosnia is slow and thoughtful and reminiscent of the wonderful musical abilities of the underrated Davey MacManus from The Crimea (and The Crocketts).
So all in all we have an abundance of songs that are Folk classics with a Country leaning. Steve can write a great song with seemingly such ease that he probably writes a song whilst singing another. He keeps it simple without messing around with layers and distraction from cheeky, but clever, lyrics. There is nothing ground-breaking here, but that's okay, lovers of this type of music want it played like this: well, not tinkered around by some musical mad-scientist maverick to try and be different. This is good stuff. No, scrap that, this is great stuff!