Parkite Steve Schuffert releases new album that will ‘Resonate" with fans
A few months ago, songwriter "Classic" Steve Schuffert felt the need to make a new album.
The Park City resident, whose songs have been recorded by country greats including Kenny Rogers and the late George Jones, as well as bluesman Tommy Castro, hasn’t released a new album since 2010’s "Destination Anywhere."
Schuffert credits his life partner Joni DeYoung for pushing him to record his ninth album, "Resonate," which features 16 new blues-based rock songs.
"This is something that just kind of came up," Schuffert said during an interview. "I talked with Joni one day and mentioned that I could maybe make a new record."
"I’m always the one who says he should do one once a year," DeYoung said. "That’s my thing because it’s so much fun to have an actual CD.
"Another reason is because he has so much material that he has written," she said. "Also, when he comes out of the studio, he’s just bouncing with joy and that’s so much fun."
While many musicians spend their lives preparing for their debut album, Schuffert took a different tactic.
"I blew all my best songs on this one," he said with a laugh. "No, really. You know, this album was written over a period of two years.
"I’m a songwriter and I love doing that," Schuffert said. "I also love working in the studio, especially in the off-season, because I do play my live shows so much."
The 16 songs on the album came to Schuffert through different means.
"They just fell out of the sky," he said. "It seems as soon as I stop playing so many live shows that I become Steve the artist, not Steve the performer, and I feel really energized.
"I’ll get up in the morning and pour a cup of coffee and plug in the guitar," he said. "A riff will come and, intuitively, I’ll know when the first thread of the song forms and the next and the next. It’s like little steps. So, for me, it’s finding the first step and it goes from there."
After a while, Schuffert will start hearing the production.
"At that point, sometimes the lyrics come, and sometimes they don’t," he said. "It’s a matter of taking the energy and getting the microphone up and putting on the headphones. Then you’re in that world and then everything comes at me."
Unlike some professional songwriters, Schuffert never had to adjust his writing style to fit the styles of those he wrote for, which made it easy to write songs for himself.
"I had the privilege of writing for people who were soulful and true artists, so it wasn’t hard to get them to follow a road in a song that wasn’t the most commercial," he said. "I never did find myself in a situation when an artist would tell me to write something. I mean, art should be art and in the perfect world, the pursuit of that art should be pure."
Still, when Schuffert gets a collection of songs together to record, he is "brutally honest" with himself.
"I’m my harshest critic," he said. "However, I found I was especially happy with the last five or six songs that I had written. I liked what was happening, and I felt good about this because I went back and listened to songs from ‘Destination Anywhere’ a couple of weeks back and I was able to honestly say that I’m getting better.
"That’s great, you know, when you’ve been writing songs for as long as I have," Schuffert said. "I would say I’ve been writing songs for close to 40 years, but still can say I’m getting better."
"Resonate" was recorded in Schuffert’s home studio.
"I’ve always been a home-studio guy, because that’s the best," he said. "I can go in when I want."
The challenge is self-producing.
"You try to do the very best you can and always try to get into that mindset so you can check the lyrics, the parts and the mixing," he said. "It’s nice to have someone with you whom you respect and trust, but I don’t have that right now."
Originally the album was going to be called "Resonating."
"I started looking at titles when I was recording because I knew we needed to get there," Schuffert said. "You come up with six or seven or even 10 ideas, and most of them are crap. But you know it’s in there somewhere. You just start throwing the others away. We shortened it to ‘Resonate’ in the end."
One thing he didn’t do was Google the title.
"That’s a no-win situation, because I know there are albums called ‘Resonate’ out there, but that doesn’t matter," Schuffert said. "That word means a lot of things and it’s a current term, anyways. It was also very personal to me and Joni and reflective of my life in the past two years."
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Park City Library director Adriane Herrick Juarez hosts the Library Leadership Podcast that helps and inspires librarians across the country to strengthen their libraries.