The Sound Cafe
Steve Jinski Releases New EP 'Hope Street'
Steve Jinski is a songwriter, singer, performer, and musician. He has toured the UK and Europe as a solo artist and more recently as one half of the acclaimed acoustic duo JINSKI. Steve’s music is for the head and the heart full of passion, meaning and originality. He is also a music educator with many years’ experience of working in the youth and cultural sectors, delivering, managing, leading, and championing musically inclusive practise for people of all ages.
The five new songs featured on his latest EP, Hope Street, have emerged over the last few months and are both a direct and yet still a subtle response to all that has been happening in 2020. Steve had been planning this project before the pandemic struck, but, lockdown in the UK and worldwide meant a radical rethink. Whilst remaining true to the songwriter tradition, necessity meant a little more technical wizardry was required. The theme of the EP is positive, we will get through this, something good will happen.
Guest Musicians: Karen Tweed, Dave Maughan & Tom Chapman. Backing vocals: Paige Temperley, Ashleigh Lowes, Gillian Maughan, Kerry Green & The FMP Singers. Source recordings were developed mostly at home, engineered, and produced by Dave Maughan at Face Musical Productions. This EP can be listened to in its entirety (no it is not a concept album!) or as individual pieces.
Steve was born in Liverpool, the son of a Polish father and a mother whose family came from Ireland. He had no formal musical education but being raised in the city that spawned The Beatles, meant that music was never more than a backbeat away. He moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne and the north east of England in his late teens for what might loosely be called education purposes ! ‘For me music is rarely for its own sake but a means to communicate. It seems I am at my best when I work through music rather than solely within it.’
For a few years Steve was in a number of local bands playing gigs in all kinds of venues throughout the north of England. This included the Working Men’s Clubs circuit where you do not get any second chances. Steve says it was these experiences that probably toughened him up to be able to perform to any audience. This was good while it lasted but the music was mostly ‘cover’ versions and as Steve began to write more and more of his own songs, it soon became time to move on. Floor spots and support slots as a solo performer gave Steve the chance to take his own songs out there, they were very well received and from that point on there was no turning back. It wasn’t long before a debut album emerged ‘Eventually’ on local label Projects UK and distributed through Rough Trade.
A guitar and a suitcase in the back of a beat up old Ford took Steve to folk clubs, arts centres, student unions, alternative cabaret, concert halls and festivals throughout the UK. An opportunity to play a couple of gigs in Denmark was the springboard to quite a few years playing all over Europe and Scandinavia, to paraphrase Paul Simon the railway station became Steve’s second home, he saw them all !
More recently a chance meeting with guitarist Dave Kennedy grew into a stronger alliance and the JINSKI duo was born. Dave played on and helped put together two albums ‘Hurry Home’ and ‘Down Here’ on Lucky Smile Records/Proper Music Distribution. During the last few years they have toured all over the UK making friends wherever they play with music that touches the borders of folk, country, and pop, keeping alive the song writing tradition not to mention a bit of humour in the mix. This duo is currently ‘resting’ but may surface for some ‘live’ shows at some point in the future.
Whether performing solo or in the JINSKI duo Steve has opened for and shared the stage with a whole host great acts including Joe Jackson, The Proclaimers, David Gray, Richard Thompson, Kathryn Tickell, and Martin Carthy. Steve has also made a number of ‘live’ television and radio appearances in the UK including the nationwide prime time BBC 1 The One Show television programme.
Growing hand in hand alongside and intertwined within his development as a musician, performer and songwriter has been Steve’s involvement with youth work and music education in the widest possible sense. As well as working in schools with young people of all ages he has run music sessions in youth clubs, community centres and other informal detached settings. To do this successfully means an acknowledgement and understanding of the importance of the youth voice. For Steve real engagement comes from a sense of ownership, working alongside young people where learning is both shared and reciprocal. Academically the model is one of social pedagogy where music is the common third. The musical journey and the wider transferrable skills are just as important, if not more important than the musical outcome.
Finally a word or two from Steve about song writing …“I know that I do not want to be ‘the vengeful little troubadour with the grit between his teeth’ with a level of self-indulgence that is almost claustrophobic. How do I try to avoid that? One of the things I do is ask myself, will this mean anything to anybody else, will it touch them, will the song be able to live beyond my own little world? The contradiction of course is that any songwriter worth their salt will also be looking to develop their own distinctive voice and style. This is why I love the art of song writing so much and it feels to me that just to gain entry onto the ground floor in the Tower of Song means spending time, having patience, and feeding on your influences. For me, this list is endless but some of the many people whose work I admire would be Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Josh Ritter, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Nick Cave. When it comes to bands the list is never ending too but let’s just say it started and for me always ends with The Beatles.”