Aware of his status as an unknown opening act for the ever-popular John Hiatt, young Steve Moakler reached out to the sold-out City Winery house with a sincere and humbling “I hope I don’t suck.” However, behind his apparently honest attempt at being modest, I can’t help but believe that the Pittsburgh-born and now Nashville-based singer-songwriter made that comment fully aware of the answer. Not only didn’t he suck, but after his solid and fully-satisfying 30-minute set, I felt that I had just seen one of the most promising young-artists I have seen in quite some time.
I am still puzzled that it took a trip to NYC for me to finally cross paths with Steve’s music. Speaking with him after his set, I learned that back here in Music City, he has previously gigged at Third & Lindsley as well as headlined the Nashville City Winery. Moakler moved to town some eight years ago to do the writing thing and can now boast of a recent co-write with Travis Meadows that is the title track (“Riser”) on the latest Dierks Bentley record.
Tonight, Moakler revealed himself as a versatile writer with the ability to be both sensitive and witty without forgetting a clever hook and a slight touch of his faith for good measure. His playing and vocals fall nicely somewhere between country and rock. With his easy-going stage manner and between-song banter, he presented himself as an engaging talent with a comfort at performing well beyond his years.
If I were you I’d keep a watch out for this guy who to my surprise already had three CDs for sale at the merch table. Music City Mike will go out on a limb and say that Steve Moakler is someone whose career we will all soon be following. Watch for an upcoming monthly Wednesday night residency at The Basement. I know I will be there for sure.
Here’s a taste of a song from Steve’s latest record:
- Damn, Do I Think About You
- Rather Make a Living
- They Don’t Teach You That At School
- Humble Operations
- This Ain’t Rock and Roll
Steve Moakler – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar