In 1982 I bought the album Men Without Women by Little Steven. Except for when he played with the E Street Band, the first time I saw him play live was at SXSW in 2015 when he participated in a tribute concert to Ian McLagan. In August this year he played at the Notodden Blues Festival with his fifteen piece band, The Disciples Of Soul, and yesterday he visited Rockefeller in Oslo with the same band. I am already looking forward to his next visit.
“Everyone” know that Little Steven, or Steven van Zandt has been Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist and sidekick since 1975, but more people should know about his own work as a producer, songwriter and artist. First with Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes, Gary US Bond, and the on his own solo albums, starting with Men Without Women in 1982 and up to his newest album from this year, Soulfire.
Here in Norway Steve van Zandt got recognition as an actor in the late 90’s with the character Silvio Dante in Sopranos. He became a household name when he appeared as Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen in the series Lillyhammer between 2012 and 2014. The series was a big success and was also featured in many countries on Netflix. In the series van Zandt wrote the score and was also heavily involved in the manuscript and the soundtrack.
In 2015 he came to the Notodden Blues Festival for the first time, to deliver the Blues Price to Daniel Eriksen, and he liked the town. The Blues Festival has had a seminar for young musicians in the week before the festival starts for many years, and in 2016 the seminar was renamed Little Steven’s School of Blues, giving the seminar a well deserved publicity boost. During the seminar van Zandt inspired the young artists and musicians and also produced recordings of their songs.
This year at Notodden the focus on the Blues School was even stronger, and he was also a headliner at the festival with The Disciples of Soul. I attended the concert and was impressed by the tight sound from the 15 piece band with Little Steven as the maestro in front.
Music Director of the Disciples Of Soul, Marc Ribler
Yesterday Little Steven and his band returned to Norway and played at Rockefeller in Oslo. The venue was practically sold out, and Little Steven and his musicians delivered a two hour plus show with songs from the Soulfire album plus earlier albums and also songs from his work with Southside Johnny and Gary US Bond. The audience was enthusiastic, and with his involvement in the Norwegian music scene, we feel that Little Steven is part Norwegian.
Lowell “Banana” Levinger
It is always good to hear real musicianship, and with Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul you get it in full. Their songs span the history of rock with songs like The City Weeps Tonight (remembering the doo wop of the late 50’s), the soul of James Brown in Down And Out In New Your City, Chicago blues from Etta James in Blues Is My Business, the excellent Love On The Wrong Side Of Town, cowritten with Bruce Springsteen and on and on.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.