Rockbrat Remembers: Steve Young 1942-2016

220px-RenegadePickerLife is indeed, uncertain. I only blogged a couple of weeks ago about the greatness of Steve Young, and then I read on the weekend that he passed away last Thursday. His music maintains a quality, a richness, and a humility that you would expect from someone of his vintage and era in country music. It’s a realness that is hard to find nowadays. He never rose to the heights of his outlaw country peers, but in my mind, he was every bit as good as Kristofferson, Guy Clarke and the like. According to the press blurb, “Singer-songwriter Steve Young, who was best known for writing the song Seven Bridges Road, died on Thursday, March 17 at the age of 73.  Young was born in Newnan, GA and grew up in states across the south. Throughout his youth, he was influenced by the southern sounds of blues, country, folk and gospel and incorporated it into his first songs which he wrote in his late teens. Returning to Alabama, he started to make a name for himself in the local music scene before moving to the west coast in 1964. Steve initially worked with the likes of Van Dyke Parks and Stephen Stills before joining the early psychedelic country band Stone Country. In 1969, he released his first solo album, Rock, Salt and Nails which included contributions by the likes of Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons and Bernie Leadon. Over his career, Young recorded twelve solo albums but it was his actual songs for which he became most famous. Seven Bridges Road, from Rock, Salt and Nails and the title song from his 1972 album, has been recorded by a long list of artists, most notably by the Eagles on their 1980 live album. Young said that he started writing the song in the mid-60’s and it evolved over several years. Others who have recorded the song include Eddy Arnold, Joan Baez, Tracy Nelson, Ian Matthews, whose version the Eagles based their track, Dolly Parton and Alan Jackson.  Young’s Lonesome, On’ry and Mean was used as the title song for Waylon Jenning’s 1973 album while Hank Williams, Jr. recorded his Montgomery in the Rain. Young, himself, also charted with the album Renegade Picker (1976 / #48 Country Albums) and the single It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way (1984 / #84 Country). Steve’s son, Jubal Lee Young, posted the following on Facebook: “Turn supernatural, take me to stars and let me play. I want to be free, Alabama highway.” My father, Steve Young, passed peacefully tonight in Nashville. While it is a sad occasion, he was also the last person who could be content to be trapped in a broken mind and body. He was far too independent and adventurous. I celebrate his freedom, as well, and I am grateful for the time we had. A true original. Scroll below for the article I wrote a couple of weeks back, and if you haven’t seen it already, go and watch Steve in ‘Heartworn Highways’. RIP – the great Steve Young.

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