Steam Powered Studio is an audio workshop in Lancaster County PA,
featuring contributions from fine local artists.
Many of these projects have been funded by people like you!

A year in the making! All the songs from
Bill Nork's
Crazy Music
arranged and performed by Jeff Coleman.

Available for download at
CD Baby
Willie Marble is back, with Songs in the Key of Marble.

Willie Marble

Here's a track from the CD-

Cold Water
The Stray Birds

The Borderland EP began as demos for Maya to take with her to Berklee. It grew into something special.

Listen to
It was a blast recording Britten's War Requiem as conducted by Simon Andrews.

Britten Requiem

Here's a highlight from the performance.

Studio Blog
He's a busy guy.


Between live gigs and travels abroad Jamie O'Brien has begun a project here with an all-star crew.
She came here with a song in her heart. It took a while, but we pried it loose.


Linzi wants to be
The Last Girl

I'm the guy with the hammer and tongs-

Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman

-trying to make stuff in the workshop.

Check me out on iTunes!
Mr. Bobby and I started posting songs to the internet back when being folkie wasn't cool.

Robert Bobby

It's Not the Heat
that's gettin' to me...

for Vivian

Vivian. It all started when I read an interview with the now defunct band Vivian Girls. They were asked if they chose their name because they admired Henry Darger. I had no idea who he was or why they would ask that question.

Turns out he's a giant in the outsider art scene. He created thousands of pages of fiction, and hundreds of illustrations, depicting a war between children and adults. The heroes of the war were seven sisters called the Vivian Girls.

I've liked the name Vivian ever since I heard it in the song Too Much of Nothing. It has to be the Basement Tapes version however- other artists substitute Marion (for no good reason). Dylan rhymed thus:

Say hello to Valerie
Say hello to Vivian
Send them all my salary
On the waters of oblivion

(yes, Marion does rhyme, but it's the doubled vees that make Vivian a much better choice here. Otherwise, why not use "reptillian"?)

Googling Vivian gave me another odd connection- in this case, a Vivienne, the first wife of old T.S. Eliot. She may have been crazy, or not, but she spent the last part of her life institutionalised. She was a writer but it's difficult to find anything she's written online. Interestingly enough, old T.S.'s second wife was named... Valerie.

I thought I had done with somewhat outside artists connected to the name Vivian, but then a chance posting on fb laid open a whole new world- the world of Vivian Maier. My photo of a girl on pony is a sort of tribute to one of her photos, only she had a small boy on a big horse. I think she would have appreciated the joke- and the technique (shot from a moving car).


moon mission

On my timeline the major divisions aren't years, they are space missions. There are the big three- Mercury, Gemini, Apollo- but there were other names linked to specific periods.

Sputnik, of course, effectively launched the decade, but even before that I remember owning a friction toy in the shape of the X-15. Sparks shot out of it. I had no idea what it was about.

But Sputnik got everyone excited, probably nervous about the Russians dropping A-bombs on our heads. It went beep... beep... beep...

We had some spectacular failures in those days! Then along came Telstar, which had a song about it and everything. You could see watery TV from the other side of the world.

There were a series of spacecraft sent up to explore things. The one in this post was Ranger, an early attempt to hit the moon with something. After a bunch of misses we finally did hit it. My favorite mooncraft was Surveyor, the one with the scoop on it? It had to make a "soft" landing on the moon, and it did.

In a few years astronauts would visit the site of one of the Surveyor landings and bring back some pieces of it. It strikes me as being completely amazing that this happened, that people could get to the very same place- on the moon!

The artwork for the NASA report on the Ranger missions, resembling as it does an old German woodcut, is something else I find amazing. I wonder if the artist was more influenced by von Braun or Leary?


keeping time

This is my 60's timeline. The curse of living in interesting times is that everything else seems second-rate.

Sure, we didn't have fanatics crashing airplanes into tall buildings. We just had the Khmer Rouge and the Great Leap Forward and the Soviets, but of course, those disasters happened to other people. America was safe.


Talk about spam!

The Steam Powered website is isn't on Facebook, or Blogspot, or Garage Band, or Reverb Nation, or any of the hundreds of other "free" hosting services because I don't want my pages full of ads, flash graphics and other crap that detracts from a good browse.

It's pretty easy to avoid this stuff if you care and if you can read. The web happens to be full of websites that are NOT on "free" hosts, and it's easy to connect with people who know how to do things and who are willing to share what they know with you.

And it's pretty cheap as well. I'm paying less than $10 a month for more space and bandwidth than I will ever need, and that's with a website that is fairly graphics intensive and hosts hundreds of songs and some video.

Anyway, I thought I had more space than I would ever need, but things have been filling up lately. Last week I was notified by my host that I had exceeded the number of inodes and would need to reduce this or be barred from posting. Inodes?

For the first time I scrolled down to the bottom of my "usage" page on my website host, and there it was- a graph showing my inodes. Of the 150,000 I was allowed, I was using 225,000. Somewhat over the limit there... nice of them not to just throw me out and lock the doors. So I had to actually read about inodes to find out what they are.

What they are is links that the server stores to the files on a website. Now I know I have used a lot of graphics in the past, and I retain all of my old pages and the graphics that go with them, because nothing makes me sadder than trying to follow broken links, but there had been nothing close to a quarter of a million pictures, pages, and songs on my website over the past 14 years.

I scoured through my online files, pulling out all the stuff I had stored there "temporarily" or that wasn't serving any usefull purpose (ogg files?), and while I did cut my storage space usage by 2/3 (!) my inodes useage hadn't appeared to drop. Filed another help ticket.

They said it could be caused by the mail in my mailbox. I hadn't thought of that, mainly because I have never used the optional mail service that comes with my account. I wasn't even sure how to access it, but I created a password and logged into the default address.

There were 225,000 messages in my inbox.

This was for an address that didn't officially exist! I had never used it for anything, but by default any email sent to any address ending with "" that couldn't be properly delivered was saved.

It was so much mail that I couldn't even delete it. I had to get the guys at the hosting service to do it. Now I'm down to about 4,000 inodes used.

I learned that there is a setting that will automatically reject any email that isn't directed to an actual address. It should probably be the default setting, and maybe it is- I might have enabled it in my ignorance at some time in the past. Anyway, lesson learned.

That's a lot of spam!


After the big push to get Send Me the Bill out the door, things are getting back to normal.

I had young Joe K in here (not his real name) recording a very cool version of an old Doors song. Have a listen-

Moonlight Drive

Joe Ellis

Without a doubt, Joe Ellis has provided some of our most rewarding moments.

And we just
Slough it Off.

Who are these loonies anyway?

Woggi Noggi

Why, it's those cute lil' Woggi Noggi girls!

Find out why
Goats are Great!

Summer Thieves

I see the boys of Summer Thieves in their ruin. (that's poetry, you kneau)

Here's their song
You Can't Lie.

There's memes for everything that wingers love.
end gun violence

I made some to post if you're not crazy about guns.
and also...
Mission Statement:

Only pretentious asshats post mission statements on their websites. Be that as it may, I do have a mission here, and that is to discover if there's a better way to make a living making music than by selling little round pieces of plastic. Or charging big money for recording.

I'm looking for a bunch of small-scale sponsors willing to support my work as a musician, singer/songwriter and recording engineer, work that often includes recording up and coming artists for free.

If you like what you hear, and want to keep me going in the future, please sponsor the studio. It's that simple.
I got on a kick of making videos for a while. Here's one now-

Jeff Coleman
Save to Serve Her

It's a song about drinking...

...from a bitter cup.
This started out when I got curious how many bands there were around here. Click the map below to see the amazing, growing list of locals.

local area

Then click through to visit their websites...
There really is a history to this website. It started out with, then moved to onlinerock before I figured out how to just rent my own space.

One of Lancaster county's first punk/new wave bands
the Blame
the Blame had a good run back in the last century. Here's some of that for those who remember...

The Kids are Alright (live)
For Hire:
Yes, the studio is for hire. We will record your song, your CD, your steam whistle or your grandmother. Rates on request, generally vary reasonably.

Room and Equipment:
1,000 sq ft open space with way too many guitar amps and old keyboards, some drums and percussion, some interesting mics, a comfy couch.

It's all about relaxing and making good music. I sweat the tech stuff so you don't have to. We can get just about any kind of session player you need.

These gentlemen have recorded here-

The Gadjo Playboys
The Gadjo Playboys

We've done about 2 1/2 CDs worth of stuff.

Some of it is still unreleased!
Jenny's Diner
Jen and Charlie

Jen Starsinic went on to collect a songwriting award the year we recorded this.

Birdy in a Cage

Charlie Muench went on to join the Stray Birds.
Craig Wise is one of those good old boys.
He brought a lot of his friends in here.

Craig Wise

And they're

Still Makin' Sunshine

All the Marbles was the first Willie Marble CD.

Commit a Crime

We sure had some good times down in the basement working on this one.

There was a bunch of kids making interesting music...

Old Time Liberation Front
The Old Time Liberation Front

Feeder Mice Jig

Most of them still are...

Kenny was one hell of a songwriter. Back in Paradise, way last century, I managed to get a few of his songs recorded.

The Taking

Kenny Gross
Kenny Gross

A lot of music gets made here by a mixed crew known as-

The Stokers
The Stokers

You never know what to expect!

The Wreck of the Frisco Pier
Dark 30
This band had a good run, and made some good recordings in my tiny studio in Paradise.

Toward the Light

Listen to Bob and that Funky Snakefoot hook into the bottom!
the Sporting Hill Ramblers

I feel privileged to be a member of the Sporting Hill Ramblers, purveyers of fine

News and schedule at the link.
Night Wolf
Night Wolf

He's gone on to the other shore, but he left a couple of songs with us.

Walkin' Blues

Young Fashioned Ways

A guy came in with a couple of old reel-to-reel tapes his dad made in the '70's.
Ron Cook
Ronnie Cook

Dad played a 5 string electric fiddle. One of the tapes was a make-believe radio show.
Dave Francis has had some awesome jam sessions at his place. I recorded the Honeycut Brothers (and others) live.
9 lb Hammer

Foggy Mt. Breakdown

Stable Jam
Stable Jam

Olds Sleeper

Olds Sleeper has created a whole lot of good music in the wee small hours. I got to work with him on a few tunes at my old place.

Olds #3

Me and Ben recorded Blind Joe Death in a round building at a scout camp.

live at the round house

You Got to Love Somebody

Made a pretty good CD-
Live at the Roundhouse
Old Ezra Shade gets in here every so often.

Ezra Shade

Here's a little something seasonal...

Christmas Time
Dr Mo
Dr. Mo

We have stuff here going back years...

Junko Partner

...and new stuff in the works.
One of his recent songs has been animated by Brian McCall.