Saturday, December 16, 2017

Steve Conte at the Bowery Electric

Steve Conte was born in New York City to a musical family (his mother, Rosemary Conte, is a New Jersey jazz singer) and began playing drums at age seven. At 10 years old, he started composing songs on his brother John Conte's guitar. One year later the Conte brothers recorded their first "album" in the family living room with Steve writing the songs, singing, playing guitar and drums, and "producing." Throughout his school years, Conte played guitar at church "folk" masses, teen dances and school variety shows, and more professionally backed his mom in Jersey Shore venues. During his college years, he and his bass playing brother formed a jazz-rock band, Conte Brothers Fusion. Upon graduation he moved back to New York City and toured in Blood, Sweat and Tears. He later became a session musician and played in many local bands, many with his brother. Perhaps his highest profile gigs were with Paul Simon, the New York Dolls and Michael Monroe. Conte's most recent album, International Cover-Up, released on June 9, 2016, is a collection of cover songs.

Steve Conte loves to play guitar, so his local gigs are frequent, often at the Bowery Electric. Backed tonight by bassist Keith Christopher and drummer Phil Stewart, Conte sang some of his favorite originals and several covers. Originals like "Junk Planet", "Gypsy Cab" and "OK DJ" often wind up in his live set, but the covers (a rocking version of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie," Fleetwood Mac's " Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite," and the Rolling Stones' "Happy") were more revealing in that they acknowledged the sources of his inspiration. Conte played stinging leads like those found in 1970s classic rock, but they are not nostalgic. His leads were new and fresh, and they sizzled and smoked from the first song to the last. Conte's set was a timeless rock and roll nugget.

Next up, Steve Conte & Blues Deluxe will pay tribute to Rod Stewart & the Faces by playing Stewart's entire Every Picture Tells a Story album at the Highline Ballroom on January 20, 2018.

Visit Steve Conte at www.stevecontenyc.com.