The Steam Powered Studio is a listener sponsored music studio.

Sponsors get access to all the music we've recorded here.




Musician Sites:

J Mundok

Craig Wise

Olds Sleeper

Old Time Liberation Front

Robert Bobby

The Gadjo Playboys

Joe Ellis

Blind Joe Death

Doug and Dave

R&B Studios

Jefferson Pepper

Great Big House

Hot Club du Jour

Inca Campers

John Terlazzo

David SanSoucie

Crossing North

Eric Athey

Claudia SanSoucie

Art Wachter

The Innocence Mission

Tom Witmer


D.C. and Company

Rhyne McCormick

Bill Nork

Sweet Nancy Productions

Zan Cantwell


Music Related:

Pretty Much Amazing

Just Plain Folks

Drums Etc.


The Music Snob

Music For Everyone

The Freesound Project

Relive the 80's

Whole Wheat Radio

The Kenny Gross Project


Legit Sound

Right Coast Recording


Humor Me:

Roadside American

August 30, 2008

jam keys

Now, this is one doesn't have a name yet. This one is just for fun- something I can throw in the car and go jam with.

Dave Bronson actually turned me on to this concept- treating a keyboard like a guitar. Before that I was only familiar with big bulky keyboards that were a pain to lug around. I knew that these portables were out there but I was never very impressed with them- they just seemed too cheesy, and unlike cheesy guitars, cheesy keyboards didn't appeal to me.

But Dave always managed to stay within the parameters of sounding good with his axe, and so I knew it was possible. When I played this thing I knew I could make it work for me. It has velocity-sensitive keys, which really makes it playable. It also has two little knobs there on the left which clinched the deal. They allow me to change various parameters of the sound like a "real" synth. Not a lot, just a little, but enough.

So what should I call this thing? It looks very "spacy" doesn't it? It also has the fun feature of being able to play entire songs with one finger- like the Magic Genie... hey, wait a minute- maybe that's it. Magic Jeanie?

August 29, 2008

Here's a funny and insightful post about The Futility of Flogging Music, Brit style.

And how about another featured song- this one by Mr. Robert Bobby, as summer fades into fall...

August 26, 2008

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and started writing this song- Finish Line.mp3

Sure, right now it sounds like a cop from The Band but that's the way these things work. To get through the writing part there needs to be a model of some kind. Just ask the Counting Crows if you don't believe me!

I was thinking that Craig could sing this- and if he does it, it won't sound like The Band anymore. It might sound a bit like Willie Nelson if Craig sings it.

August 24, 2008

blue baby

Say hello to Vera the blue Yamaha bass guitar. She's the latest to join the pile of sticks and strings here at the studio, and boy, can she sing. She's got a little microcircuit inside her that makes her almost noiseless on practically any setting, so goodbye Mr. BassBuzz!

I'm looking forward to posting some classic rock music by Ralph Toro's local outfit Toro and the Lawnboys, and Zane Trace, from back when he did his California thing. Like other projects I've done here these will be "restorations" from cassette tapes.
I worked with Ralph many years ago on a different project in a studio owned by The Wizard, who didn't believe in channel EQ or pan pots. He told me I wouldn't need EQ if I knew what mics to use and where to put them- and that pan pots just added unnecessary noise to the signal. Well, he was right, but that ain't rock and roll, now is it?

August 22, 2008

The replacement CD-R for my Yamaha digital recorder arrived from Germany yesterday and is working fine so far. I had been having some trouble with the original one, and as it's a SCSI drive, a replacement was a bit hard to find. This one was used, and at $79 plus $35 shipping was less than half the price of the next lowest-priced one I could find.

Sponsors, you've got a new song! Check your mail...

August 19, 2008


In a universe far, far away, there were robots who "remembered" music on long ribbons of plastic coated with iron. These robots could be programmed to repeat what they were told. Well, we recently discovered one of these robots, broken, in the basement studio of Jason Mundok, and on repairing it, it gave us this song:

A Dying Man

mp3   ogg

(thanks, Jason, for letting me do this remix of your demo. I love the Cure-like guitar and the tone of the bass guitar. It's so fat!)

August 16, 2008

ball park

We attended a ballgame tonight. It was weird- we were late and missed the first inning, in which the home team scored 10 runs.

I got some nice ambient recordings, including this battle cry-

Everybody Hits! mp3

(I believe the Hitchcockian gentleman there in front in the red cap was the instigator of this)

So how about a new featured song today- Willie Marble doing Born Blind

August 15, 2008


This went well- the Old Time Liberation Front CD release party. Full house and a good performance. Cookies and punch in the basement.

(extra) There are many more photos from this gig here. If they aren't on the first page there, click on the set "Bands and musicians". Oddly enough, Flickr sorts the photos in reverse order and I don't seem to be able to change that, so you can see the whole show from end to beginning...

August 14, 2008

We are pretty much amazing around here- that's why we've been listed on the Pretty Much Amazing website.

Thank you so much for adding us!

August 13, 2008

I am going to join this Technorati thing...

Technorati Profile

I had to post that link to make it work. Set free the robots!

I got my piano back together, only to find a new problem. One key always played at top volume, no matter how lightly I played it. I was disgusted, because I had fixed the dead key problem. I wanted to hurl the thing into the trash, but my better judgement took hold, and I completely disassembled the damn thing once again and fooled around with the contacts on that key. And it worked- must have been some dirt lodged in there somehow, with all the moving the thing around. I'll never move it again!

August 12, 2008

Thrilling new photo adventures as I repair a Kurzweil electric piano.

I've also ordered a replacement SCSI CD writer for my Yamaha digital recorder. The SCSI kind are harder to find than the ordinary variety- I found one in Germany. No guarantees, because it's used, but it's 1/3rd the price of the used American units I've found, and 1/5th the price of an unused one. I won't say "new" because I think they stopped making these things years ago.

I'm also trying to bring an old Mac Classic ii back to life, and have found that running the logic board through the dishwasher is recommended. I haven't tried that yet... but thank grits for the internet, right? Where you can shop internationally and share what you know and nobody can tell you what to think. (and where you can still find some ad-free sites like Steam Powered)

August 08, 2008


Springs sometimes come loose and make keys stop working in my electronic piano. This happened often enough that I wrote a web page about it, and it's helped a few people over the years. So it's a common problem. But here's the evil part.

They made the part of the keyboard that holds these springs out of a sort of plastic that was invented in HELL. I've repaired a bunch of things over the years, but this stuff is one thing that can't be repaired- no glue works on it, you can't melt it together, and it cracks and shatters if you look at it funny. It's some sort of "filled nylon" I believe, if you're into that sort of arcania...

The piano is perfectly functional other than this. It was moved maybe three times in its fifteen year life. I don't pound on it, and even if something had fallen on it, this part is protected from key strikes by the fact that there's these springs between the key and the evil plastic part- no, the part just couldn't handle the stress of these springs pulling on it and it cracked. Nice work, engineering department.

So I'm probably just an old man yelling at the sky, but can't we expect a little better than this? I may be able to patch this up and eek a few more years of service from the thing. I didn't really expect my piano to be a disposable item...

August 07, 2008

I've asked Monica to sing on my song Come What May, because Trance thought I ought to have a womans' voice on it. In order to play the song for her, I thought I'd record an acoustic guitar part for it, and when I did that, it inspired an entirely new mix.

And now I really want Monica coming in on the second verse... this sort of rocks.

Come What May.mp3    Come What May.ogg

August 06, 2008



Here are some beauties... Thanks to Craigs List and our sponsors we've now got a classic Audio Technica 4033a vocal mic and a pair of 4041 small condensor mics. Those little guys are exceptional on acoustic guitars- and having two of them gives us the ability to try different stereo micing tricks on drums and such. Good times...

August 04, 2008


August 03, 2008

Well, that was easy... I've created a password-protected page for sponsors, so hopefully the vast music library here at the studio will be safe. If you're a sponsor, look for Sammy the Sponsorship Salmon ™


who will take you to the login page for the catalog of songs. (you did get that password I sent you, didn't you?)

Sponsors, please let me know if you experience any trouble with this- Explorer was giving me some odd stuff for a while...


If you're not a sponsor, you may be wondering what you're missing. Well, in addition to complete "albums" by:

Willie Marble
Joe Ellis
The Gadjo Playboys
Blind Joe Death
Kenny Gross
The Old Time Liberation Front

there are several "albums" worth of material from

Robert Bobby
Jeff Coleman
The Stokers

and assorted songs by

Dr. Mo
Ezra Shade
Bill Nork
Gil Smart

as well as some unique recordings of classic local bands

The Blame
Big Red
The Speed Boys
Dark 30
The Fender Twinns

and live local jams at The Horse Stable.

And while that's a nice thing to get in return for sponsoring the studio, what our sponsors really get is the satisfaction of knowing that they are directly helping to create even more recordings like these. If I get enough of you folks signed up I can go at this full-time. Then you'll really see some music coming out of here! I've got a backlog of songs waiting to be finished and several new folks chomping at the bit, like Olds Sleeper and Craig Wise.

So sign up and get your password already!

August 02, 2008

My song Come What May is getting a positive response from sponsors. I don't usually go in much for song competitions or contests, but I went ahead and entered it in the Our Stage contest for August as an indie-pop song. Right now it's ranked number 378 out of 493 entries in that catagory, but I suspect that ranking is meaningless because it hasn't yet been "rated".

The way Our Stage works is that you listen to two songs- at least 30 seconds of each- and then choose which one you prefer. It's fun as long as the songs are half-way decent, and most of the time they are. You can keep rating songs this way as much as you like, or just listen to the various channels.

Winners in each catagory get money prizes, and the artist with the overall top song each month can rack up some nice swag.

Featured Song:

Robert Bobby
It's Not the Heat (It's the Humidity)

mp3  or  ogg

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Studio Archives:

July, 2008

June, 2008

May, 2008

April, 2008

March, 2008

February, 2008

January, 2008



Repairing a Kurzweil piano key.

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