summer thieves
Current Projects
The Stray Birds
The Stray Birds
Summer Thieves
Summer Thieves

Willie Marble
Willie Marble
Ruby Hummingbird
Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman
Studio Blog
June 28, 2012

There are now public and sponsor pages online for The Stray Birds. Little steps...
June 26, 2012

Studio Sponsors are beginning to reap the rewards- there is now a link at the bottom of the Summer Thieves public page that transports them to a wonderful land of sights and sounds that are simply not available to the rest of us. Sigh... it must be great to be a sponsor!


There's the beginnings of a good discussion about donor funding for arts and civic improvement projects going on now at Wood Stove House. Come on by and weigh in!
June 24, 2012

Just discovered my new theme...

I recorded a live benefit show last night- The Fish Within.

two lovers
Big fun old timey...

June 23, 2012

Three songs, recorded here via sponsorships, have recently played on WXPN!

Your search for Summer Thieves returned 2 results from the Regular Programming playlists
06-19-2012 10:59 pm Summer Thieves - Every Night -
06-18-2012 11:06 am Summer Thieves - Every Night -

Your search for Stray Birds returned 3 results from the Regular Programming playlists
06-19-2012 01:45 pm The Stray Birds - Sparrow - Borderland
06-12-2012 10:18 pm The Stray Birds - Sparrow - Borderland
04-18-2012 01:30 pm The Stray Birds - Sparrow - Borderland

Your search for Stray Birds returned 1 results from the Folk Show playlists
04-08-2012 08:01 pm The Stray Birds - My Horses Ain't Hungry - Borderland

June 22, 2012

Could this be the end?

Fun Drive is two weeks old. We've raised $320 through the widget and another $260 directly- better than half of our goal.

I think the button still works, for any of you latecomers who get converted to donors by the eloquence of my video plea! There are still more celebrity videos in the works, so we'll keep the widget up there at least through the weekend. Many thanks to those of you who have sponsored- I'll be working on getting special sponsors-only features together soon.

Tune in to the WPSU Folk Show this Sunday to hear them play my song Jesus Will Help You, sometime between noon and 2pm. Thanks Jeff and Steve!
June 20, 2012

Oh no- it's Dr. Mo taking one for the team.

Mo promo

Thanks, Eric, our latest sponsor. There's just a couple more days left in this thing, folks, so let's get to stokin'... We're actually about half-way there because of our "secret santa" sponsors who chose not to use the donate widget, and that's just fine. You can write to the address above to learn other (more private- shhh!) ways of becoming a sponsor.

There will be an exclusive release coming soon to sponsors- a new song I wrote called Pony Girl. Sadly it's about a week late for the bluegrass crawl, but maybe it'll get played tonight at McCleary's with the Ramblers.
June 19, 2012

Linzi stopped by and recorded this video for the studio-

Linzi promo

Linzi is just one of the artists whose recording projects you can help sponsor. Don't make us force her to listen to more of our music!
June 17, 2012

Thanks Bert for re-sponsoring. We also got a Secret Santa $100 sponsor who didn't use the button- thanks Steve.

Ya know, it isn't all about music recordings here at Steam Powered. One of my favorite things is creating ambient sound clips and posting them up on freesound, where they are available for anyone to use in their projects. I've had sounds used in film soundtracks, and some crowd noise from our own Barnstormers stadium made it into this podcast (Baseball among the Stumps)

I've got a lot of antique music box sounds, and whistles, and sirens, and birdsong and whatnot that I'll be working on upcoming. And we gotta get a boing for Ruby!
June 15, 2012

Robert Bobby was one of the very first people I recorded. He may not remember it, but we had a session in my studio in Paradise, PA, which I called Cat Ranch Studio. (cat ranch in the sense that actual cats were being raised there, not in some other sense, which other connotations I only learned about after the fact)

Years later, with the advent of, we teamed up to produce a couple of songs as an outfit we called MP3 by Midnight, recording and uploading stuff to the website during the course of a single evening. This evolved into an ongoing, practically continuous recording project at my old Steam Powered Studio resulting in songs that ended up on some of his CDs, songs that got some radio play here and there.

Well, Mr. Bobby stopped by the new place, and here he is, revealing the real reason he keeps coming back...

Robert Bobby promo
June 14, 2012

Sort of late in the day for a posting, but hey! We were busy!

Ruby Hummingbird was here working on a couple of new tunes (each one beginning with the letter B). In the morning I remixed the latest Stray Birds song, Welcome Mother Jones, and at noon mailed off percussion mixes from the Willie Marble project to- Willie Marble.

Computers were crashing left and right as we edited and uploaded the latest promo video, from Ruby this time...

Ruby Hummingbird promo

Donations to the studio make these projects possible.
June 13, 2012

Happy day- thanks for the donation, Dave!

Joe was listening to WXPN last night and heard them play Sparrows by the Stray Birds. It's a sweet song, recorded here with help from studio sponsors. I'm sure they would play it again if you requested it. 215-573-WXPN

I wasn't listening to xpn last night, because Willie Marble was in here recording percussions with Gary. Willie made a video for the studio- He Likes the Vibe

Help us reach our Fun Drive goal- please support the work we do for folks like Willie and the Stray Birds!
June 12, 2012

Whoo-hoo! Another sponsor- thanks Jason!

I did get together with Summer Thieves last night, and we did make a video for the studio. Check it out here-

Summer Thieves promo

You've long been curious about who these guys are- well, now you'll know.

We also started in on a new song by the taller one, and we also have a new mix for their latest song Oh What A Fool, which I think is going to be an exclusive for sponsors. So click that donate button! 10 days to the goal!

Tonight, it's a session with Willie Marble, and tomorrow and Thursday dear Ruby will be in to record some new things. Stay tuned...
June 11, 2012

It seems like sponsorships are all the rage these days- here's an article in our local paper about special funding.

It works for individual projects, provided that there's general interest (games, movies) and/or perks provided. What we're trying here at Steam Powered is more open-ended- sponsors keep the doors open for whatever projects come along.

So help us out! You can hear some of the quality results we've been getting with the Stray Birds and Summer Thieves and Ruby, as well as giving me the time to write and record my own stuff.

Sponsors- there will be a new Summer Thieves song coming out for you soon. Maybe I can get the guys to do a promo video for the studio tonight.
June 09, 2012

Hey- I see we've kicked off the Fun Drive already! Thanks Mike! Thanks Wayne!

I'm going to be busy getting ready for a Bluegrass Crawl in Marietta tonight, but I managed to get a page written for Summer Thieves this morning- check it out (click their link on the row of current projects) and listen to/download their song 17 Ways. This is the sort of fine work your sponsorship makes possible.
June 08, 2012

Let's see how much trouble I can get into with this Fun Drive!

I'd like to raise a grand in the next two weeks. I hope I get to see your e-mail addresses so I can give you all sponsorship privileges. If you donate, please drop me a line at the email address shown at the top of this site.

I'm using this WePay system, because I have some issues with PayPal. WePay offers several ways to classify the fund raising activity, and this method may not be the most effective, but it looks like fun. They take a 3.5% cut- seems standard for card services.

Anyway, the pitch is simple- help me pay the mortgage on the studio, and you'll be helping people like Linzi and The Stray Birds make beautiful music in a low-pressure environment conducive to the creative process. The widget starts at $100, but hey, we've always accepted the $20 sponsor, and that's still true.
June 08, 2012

Linzi now has her own page. You can read a little about her and about our recording project there.

June 07, 2012

I read this review of a collection of letters of Hemingway. It's a good review, and got me thinking about him differently, because one of the reviewer's points is that Hemmingway fabricated much of himself. Odd, isn't it, that the man who wrote that truth was paramount, should treat it flexibly when it applied to himself?

Maybe not so odd. The teller of truths called Hemingway WAS his creation, his myth. He truely did brave and adventurous things, but maybe the reasons he had for doing them were hidden, and so he made elaborate excuses.

Mostly though I'm inspired by his powers of creativity. He wrote great novels in as little as 8 weeks. That is an awesome ability.

June 06, 2012

There were some good old war movies on last night. Wish You Were Here is actually better than I remember it being, and while on one level I realise that it is simply pro war propaganda, it does its work really well on an emotional level. So hard to separate one from the other, to hold the idea that war and the reasons for war are all about maintaining the elites and dealing mindless death, while at the same time knowing that the people who get caught up in these things can behave well and bravely. Like the song says, when will they ever learn?

While watching that I put together some things I've had lying around the studio and made a small key chime. Boy, nothing says the '70's like the sound of a key chime, unless maybe it's a rain stick. I learned that you need to use fishing line- not wire- to hang the keys, otherwise they don't ring very well. I used some 8 lb stuff I had lying around. For supporting the keys, some old stripped-out rack rail works great. You can see the results here.

June 05, 2012

I recorded Jesus Will Help You this morning. I thought the verse structure would be weird, but I sort of like it now.

Loaner mandolin courtesy of Suicide Dave

Jesus Will Help You
June 04, 2012

I was falling asleep last night when the first line of a song popped into my head.

I heard you prayin'
In a gas station restroom
Down on your luck on the interstate

Now I've got most of it written- it's called Jesus Will Help You, and no, it isn't satirical... just has a little twist.

More links below!
June 03, 2012

There's now a link to one of the "older" projects. It's that Woggi Noggi Day page. When the links go active, the background color around them will change.
June 02, 2012

Some early changes this morning... still haven't got any projects pages done. I'll be writing a prototype page first, and check out how it works for sponsors.
June 01, 2012

I have an idea. I'm going to have "project pages" for each of the... projects.

All I have to do now is write them...
Older Stuff
The Stray Birds
Jeff Coleman
Save to Serve Her
Jen and Charlie
Jen and Charlie
Woggi Noggi
Woggi Noggi
Stable Jams
The Stable Jams
Summer Thieves
You Can't Lie
Willie Marble
All the Marbles
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Twenty Twelve
Fender Twinns
Fender Twinns
Jeff Coleman
48 eagles
Ezra Shade
Ezra Shade
Craig Wise
Craig Wise
Dr. Mo
Doctor Mo
the Gadjo Playboys
That Ain't Right
Robert Bobby
Kenny Gross
Bill Nork
the Stokers
The Stokers
Blind Joe Death
Blind Joe Death
Olds Sleeper
Night Wolf
Night Wolf
Big Red
Big Red
Gil Smart
Gil Smart
the Speedboys
Wooden Nickel
Wooden Nickel
the Blame
the Blame
Dark 30
Dark 30
Death Clowns
Jason Mundok
Jason Mundok
Robert Bobby
Jeff Coleman
Keeping Time
Big Red
11 songs
Ralph Toro
various artists
West of the Dial
Jeff Coleman
Love's Algebra
hello. this is a multi-purpose studio that is trying to operate without charging for work, without ads, and without selling anything. how can that possibly happen?