Steve Moakler has been making a name for himself in Nashville for 10 years now—and on his new album, he’s returning to his roots in Western Pennsylvania.
Steel Town is a country record, but the stories it tells and the characters it elevates are very much rooted in Pittsburgh—the Steel City—and its surrounding areas. For Moakler, this homecoming is paired with a liberation, one where his songwriting and his performing are a full reconciliation of who he is.
You’re walking into a blind date with our readers – how do you introduce yourself?
How you doin, I’m Steve. Should we get appetizers? I’m pretty hungry… So anyways, you know how most country songs takes place in a small town? Mine take place in a steel town. Yeah, let’s get a side of honey mustard too.
For those who aren’t familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
At a cross roads between John Mayer and Eric Church with my thumb up trying to hitchhike to Bruce Springsteen concert.
What song should they listen to first?
If you want to party, turn on “Love Drunk,” if you want to take a drive and think about life, maybe turn on “Wheels.”
What were your goals going into the writing process of Steel Town?
I wanted to make a record that people could listen to start to finish and not want to skip any songs. To do so, I wanted to cover a full spectrum of emotion like longing, excitement, attraction, hope, heartbreak, gratitude, nostalgia, reflection etc. I wanted every song to matter and to help complete the picture.
Is there any one song on the record that you feel is crucial to the overall story of Steel Town?
I think Wheels is crucial… it really ties it all together to me. Half the songs on the record take place in the moment and the other half are songs about looking back at the past. Wheels is the only song that does both at the same time and marries the past and the present.
You’re headed out on the Highway Finds Tour this spring. What can fans expect from your live set this year?
I think they can expect our best show yet…We will be playing all the songs off the new record and we’ll also be sprinkling in songs from each of my 3 previous albums.
A little for everyone! It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
What else is on your calendar for the rest of 2017?
This summer we’ll be playing a lot of fairs & festivals and we’ll continue to play some headline club shows in some new towns. Then in October, we’ve got a weekend on the Soul 2 Soul tour with Tim and Faith through PA, VA, and NC. That’s all we know at this point, but I’ve got a great feeling about the rest of the year!