During the Shivering Songs Festival in January, Owen Steel could be found at Officer’s Square playing his guitar beside a warm fire. On Feb. 20, the venue will change for Steel as he is set to perform at The Capital, this time with a backing band.
“This upcoming Capital show will involve a band that’s never played together as one,” said Steel. “It will just involve everyone being on their toes a bit more while simultaneously letting loose and not taking things too seriously.”
Steel was born on Prince Edward Island, but spent a lot of time in St. Andrews at his father’s home. At the house, which became known as “Salty Towers,” a wide range of travelling musicians would stop by, inspiring a young Steel.
Steel says he feels similar inspiration from the current artists based in Fredericton.
“The local bands have had a major impact and influence on me. Once you start digging a bit, you begin to realize the community and talent is endless,” he said.
Along with playing shows, Steel has been busy writing and recording new music. He and his girlfriend are working on a home recording of cover songs, and he also recently started a new project in France and has plans to release an album of songs that right now are recorded on GarageBand from when he was travelling.
“I write a lot for myself and don’t show people,” said Steel. “I’m still figuring out the secrets to both playing live and recording.”
While Steel has a tough time deciding if he prefers performing or writing, live shows have given him the opportunity to tour extensively.
“The influence of travel comes out in the lyrical content more than the style of tune,” explained Steel. “I may sing about an experience in Mexico or Central America, giving detail of my surroundings.”
For the performance at The Capital, Steel expects the show to sound something like “roots meets ragtime.”
“We’re basically looking to have fun with everyone there and expose them to some music they may not often witness. It’ll be a bit more raucous, loose and jumpy, compared to when I play solo.”
Along with Steel, local artist Will Pacey as well as Kate & Rich will be performing. Doors for the show open at 10 p.m.
“Eight bucks, a million fantastic memories,” said Steel. “Is that a promise? Absolutely not.”