• Bryon Harris

Steve McNaughton – ‘Eagles Aloft’

Steve McNaughton is a country/soft rock artist out of Sydney, Australia. His sound has garnered him high praise as one of Sydney’s best contemporary songwriters, high chart ratings, and airplay overseas. A seasoned artist, Steve has been writing and playing songs for over 20 years whilst performing with different bands around Sydney. He used these experiences to craft his own sound drawing influences from the likes of Tom Petty, The Eagles and other soft rock artist. His most recent album, ‘Eagles Aloft,’ takes a leap into the contemporary country scene, fusing Americana and Nashville influences resulting in a plethora of crossover country and soft rock jams.

The first track off the album, “Cross Country,” is the perfect introduction to his sound. With an arrangement of layers of both strummed and bowed strings accompanied by hand percussion, the instrumentals present an earthy soundscape. As Steve sings his love story of the one that got away, listeners will be warmed by his raw vocals that give an intimate feel to the mix. Adding in an infectious hook singing, “So I’ll go cross country to find you/I’ll go cross country to find you/I will go cross country to find you/And find you I will,” makes this a memorable start to this album.

Next up, the energy picks up with his track “One More Shot.” This track makes for a great follow up to “Cross Country” as showcases the rocking side of Steve. Taking a rock influenced, guitar-driven instrumental and infusing it with melodic phrases from viola, gives the arrangement a unique and captivating quality. With solo sections weaved between chorus and verse, “One More Shot” will have listeners hooked from start to finish.

Following up, listeners will love the energetic melodies and pop sensibility that Steve brings with his track “Floating.” As he enters for the first verse singing, “As I wondered past the graveyard where my friend was laid to rest,” listeners will sync into the groove of the infectious melodies and bass-line. This track continues to add to the dynamic line up of the album making it a solid addition to the album.

In his song “Running Dream,” Steve takes you through a journey of what seems to a nightmare whilst accompanied by up-beat instrumentals making for an intriguing music experience. The rhythm of the melodies in the hook capture the feeling of running away with its bouncy staccato notes and eerie harmony delivered perfectly by his emotive voice.

With the track “When you’ve got it good,” Steve takes acoustic-driven instrumentals and stellar melodic vocals to create one of the most memorable tracks off the album. The verses tell a relatable story that build into an unforgettable hook bolstered by lush backing vocals and thrilling instrumental arrangement. “When you’ve got it good” gives listeners yet another reason to fall in love with Steve’s sound.

Later in the album, Steve delves deep into his Americana roots with the bluesy feel of “Dreaming.” Steve adds a soulful tinge to his voice matching the arrangement of grooving electric guitar, keys, and bass. With compelling instrumental sections, more attention is drawn to the melodic guitar licks and pounding keys that make this track stand out as a jam. Once again, Steve shows just how dynamic of a writer he is by including a variety of influences in track list.

His song “Under the Sycamore” opens with a lead in by drums then accompanied by a melodic, whining guitar phrase that leads into the verse. Steve does a great job of painting a mental image in your head with his lyrics as he tells his story of falling in love by the sycamore tree. “Under the Sycamore” gives off an uplifting and soothing atmosphere in an easy on the ears arrangement that anybody can enjoy.

Ending with “The Navigator,” Steve makes sure to end with an unforgettable tune making a strong end to the album. The soft instrumental accompaniment on the verses shine the spotlight on the lighter melodies of the vocals. Picking up in the chorus as he sings, “Navigator, you’re up there on your own/but you’re not alone/the sky surrounds you,” with pop influenced melody that you will be singing along with by the time the second chorus comes along.

‘Eagles Aloft’ features a multitude of dynamic tracks ranging from country/folk-driven tunes, to rock ballads, radio-ready pop tunes, and grooving Americana influences. His music is available for fans via Spotify. For more information on Steve McNaughton and his music, make sure to visit his website.

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