Interview to STEVE SHIVE




Monte Adkison, aka “the Blues Stalker,” has been listening to the blues since her teenager days . Along with many other young perople who grew up in the southern United States in the early 60’s, she listened to powerful Nashville, Tennessee WLAC radio deejay “John R’s” popular blues radio show after midnight every night.

As a high school social science teacher in Florida during thirty years, Monte was the recipient of a scholarship in 1995 from the Florida Humanities Council to study blues music at the University of Tampa where she met the late Tampa Bay harmonica, Rock Bottom, and the late “Diamond Teeth” Mary McClain. Amazed that “Diamond Teeth” Mary had been written up in European blues magazines but not in American, she vowed to change that.

Taking a summer pilgrimage to the Delta to study at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, she spent time researching Mary in the Blues Archives and met David Nelson, then editor of Living Blues which is based there on the Ole Miss campus. She asked David if he knew Mary and he said he had seen her perform at the W.C. Handy Awards in Memphis in ’92. When asked if indeed his magazine was true “Living Blues”, if she wrote about Mary performing on her 95th birthday, would he publish it? The answer was yes and Living Blues did and then went on to write an article on Monte’s Blues in the Schools program in a ’97 issue.

Monte began writing a regular column for the Suncoast Blues Society newsletter, the Twelve Bar Rag under the moniker “The Blues Stalker.” She is still writing about talented blues artists who are under appreciated and often ignored by the mainstream press. She also covers other aspects of the blues music industry besides the musicians themselves. Her photographs can be viewed on the Suncoast Blues Society website as well as photographs of the popular annual Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
Monte’s commitment to keeping the blues alive is evident in her articles and photos, and was present in her classroom in Ocala, Florida where every inch of her walls were covered with snapshots and autographed posters of blues musicians that she has met. As she puts it, “It’s my way of sneaking the heritage in -when you’re bored with the lessons and look up on the walls and see Kenny Neal, Eddie Kirkland, or Sista Monica- you might just give a listen later in live and fall in love with the music just like I have. It is another small way of keeping the blues alive”. You can visit her personal website site too.

I am really satisfied and proud to have at “La Hora del Blues” staff, directly from USA, the valuable support, help and collaboration of this great blues expert and lover, known as “The Blues Stalker”. I am sure you will enjoy this page with all her interesting and juicy interviews and photographs, so I can only encourage you to visit it regularly.
Welcome aboard! Monte….

Vicente Zúmel

Entrevista Steve Shive en La Hora del Blues

“Hard Bargain”
by Monte Adkison aka the “Blues Stalker”

Entrevista Steve Shive en La Hora del Blues

The blues music world is a small world indeed. I have been a fan of bassist Stephen Dees (Hall and Oates, Todd Rundgren, The Wild Roots, Novo Combo) and Grammy nominated blues keyboardist Victor Wainwright for years from hanging out on the east coast of Florida and listening to them play live for years. So, when I read Vicente Zumel’s review of Steve Shive’s debut disc “Hard Bargain” that he had assembled these and other musicians called the Urban Saints, I knew I had to familiarize myself with this musician.
Steve grew up in suburban Philadelphia where, as a teenager, he opened for bands such as the Delphonics, Brenda and the Tabulations and the Intruders. He currently lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His wife, son, and daughter all contributed to this new project.
Steve not only is an experienced touring and session drummer and multi-instrumentalist, but also an accomplished songwriter and producer.  Some of his past credits include Daryl Hall, Tim Moore, Kingfish, David Lindley, and Robbie Dupree. He has also worked with Grammy nominated producers Ken Scott (Beatles, Bowie, Jeff Beck) and Joe Hardy (Ry Cooder, ZZ Top). He founded the indie-rock group Vermilion with his son and daughter and also wrote for and produced with his daughter, the roots band Brooke Shive and the 45’s. The title song from that record “Way Past Gone”won the Robert Hazard Award for Best Song in 2012, & the single from that record hit #5 on the AOR charts as well.
His newest project showcases his eclectic style -a touch of soul, blues rock, roots, and americana-. The musicians are a Who’s Who of American music. The Urban Saints feature such artists as bassist Bob Lizik (Brian Wilson, Mavis Staples), bassist Stephen Dees (Hall and Oates, Todd Rundgren, The Wild Roots, Novo Combo), keyboardists Glenn McClelland (Ween, Blood, Sweat and Tears) and Grammy nominated Victor Wainwright!  On lead vocals and harmonica Mikey Junior, his son, Ryan Shive on rhythm and lead guitar, Matt Daniels on lead and slide guitar, and Edison Wilson and Tanqueray Hayward on backing vocals. All of the songs are written and produced by Steve Shive, who also plays a little guitar and keyboards on the recordings as well as backing vocals and all the drums & percussion. 


Blues Stalker: You have been immersed in the music scene for quite some time. With your songwriting talent and access to such stellar musicians, what took you so long to release your own music?

Steve Shive: Probably lack of self-confidence as a writer. That being said, this is not my first record, I did 3 before this. The Bluescasters, then Brooke Shive & The 45’s – Way Past Gone, with my daughter on lead vocals. And then Vermilion which was a digital EP with my daughter again on lead vocals and my son on rhythm & lead guitar. Those songs I wrote with my son. The previous 2 records were all collaborations too, which was great, but I’ve always wanted to get my own individual vision out there. We had a great line up on The Brooke Shive & The 45’s record as well. Andy Goessling on lap steel, guitar and tenor sax, (from Railroad Earth & Hot Tuna), and Jay Davidson who’s worked with too many to name (Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Daryl Hall just to name a few) on keyboards, tenor sax & harmonica. I’ve worked with so many great writers that for me as a drummer, I had a real fear of coming out and putting my innermost emotions and feelings out there. Plus, I started down that path late in my life and between a period of taking a hiatus from music and starting a business and raising a family, music in general kind of took a back seat for a while.

Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del Blues

B.S.: I grew up in a small town. What was it like growing up in Philadelphia and at the age of 13 opening for and being exposed to some of the biggest names in the business at the time?

S.S.: Well, I grew up in suburban Philadelphia in Levittown, PA which had a tremendously fertile music scene, and all these great bands hired opening acts, and the band I was in at that time was a soul band and had a very smart and talented sax player/arranger who was very savvy at booking the band into the right venues. We opened for these fantastic bands who had successful records out and we played every kind of venue from dances (remember those!) to proms, nightclubs, concert venues, you name it. And we always played to packed houses! It was an amazing time in my life.
I was making a living in high school playing drums, and I was learning from some of the best musicians by watching them play and realizing, yeah I can do that too!


B.S.: Your son and daughter are very talented musicians. What was it like to play, write, and produce with your own children? I can only imagine the dinner table discussions at your house.

S.S.: It was a great feeling, although they did not share my seriousness about what I was trying to do and how I wanted them to learn from me. Differences in musical taste as well. I guess it’s a Dad thing. They both have successful careers outside of music now, and I’m very proud of both of them and that they chose their own paths. Plus, they gave me and my wife Shelle, currently, 3 beautiful grandchildren!

Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del Blues

B.S.: How would you personally describe your own style?

S.S.: Well, I always say soul, roots, blues, americana. The thing is I can’t force myself to write in any particular style. The songs just come to me and they sort of follow their own path of development somehow. I have to admit, I couldn’t tell you how I do what I do. A good example is a song called Pardon My Love, which I actually dreamed, woke up, ran into my studio, and had the song in literally 10-15 minutes! I can’t explain it. It’s just inside and it just comes to me. I recently came across the best songwriting advice I’ve ever heard, “go into that room everyday because sometimes God walks through.”


B.S.: What are you currently listening to? What is in your player or playlist that you listen to for pleasure?

S.S.: God, probably a little of everything. Delbert McClinton, Sly, Miles, Gil Evans, Little Feat, Steely Dan, Tony Joe Williams, Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown, all the old northern soul artists, classical, you name it. I love it all. My taste is very eclectic. If it’s good music, then I listen and absorb it!

Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del Blues

B.S.: Any plans to tour to promote your debut disc, “Hard Bargain”?

S.S.: That’s a hard question with the situation in the music business today. I’m just trying to write good and meaningful songs and record them with my friends, and if an opportunity comes up to do that, I’m certainly open to it. Getting on radio though is important to me and what I am hoping for is other artists wanting to do a song, and opportunities for placement in TV, movies etc. My web site is


Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del Blues Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del BluesB.S.: How did you choose Mikey Junior to do lead vocals on this project? Good choice, by the way.

S.S.: That was serendipity! I ‘ve known Mikey for a number of years, and I had heard him doing a song by a friend of mine, I was impressed with his vocal style, and it just happened to be what I was looking for stylistically in a lead vocal for a number of my songs. Mikey is a great blues singer, and my songs are not typical blues, and he was really open to my vision of his voice branching out and interpreting my vision. I’m not a singer in that sense. I do write the melodies and phrasing, then cut a guide vocal, then coach the lead vocalist, using his/her voice to get what I’m hearing in my head. It’s been a great experience because I’ve been working not only with Mikey, but also some other great singers like, Miranda Louise (Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, Maria Muldaur) out of Nashville, Edison Wilson, (Ween, Chris Harford) who I write the backing vocal parts with, which he or both of us sing the parts along with Tanqueray Hayward, my daughter Brooke & my wife Shelle. Also, Tanqueray just finished a new track for me, singing lead and killing it on an upcoming single called Raw Emotion. She and I did all the backing vocals on that one.  Edison also is a great lead singer too, and he’ll be doing a new one called The Woman She’s Become.


B.S.: Steve, care to comment on the state of the music industry today? Technology certainly is changing the way that we listen to music. How do we keep support for live music when streaming and the pandemic have affected the closing of so many venues?

S.S.: What’s really disappointing to me is that for the most part music doesn’t hold the same value today as it did when I was coming up. You couldn’t wait to get the latest record, read the liner notes and play those records till they wore out. Now, unless you’re a huge international act it is really hard to sustain a career. People can get it for free.  That being said, the technology has enabled me to be able to produce and record my music in my own studio, and that’s a huge advantage.


B.S.: You are an extremely talented songwriter. What is your next project?

S.S.: I’ve got a big backlog of material, and so, right now I’m working on finishing up edits and production on another group of 8 songs which I think I am going to release as singles every 4-6 weeks. The newest single will be Raw Emotion, featuring Tanqueray Hayward on lead vocals! Then I’ll probably release a full album of those singles and additional songs that are in production now as well.

Entrevista Steve Shive para La Hora del Blues

B.S.: If you could take the stage with anyone, living or now deceased, who would you most want to perform on stage with?

S.S.: That’s hard, but Mike Bloomfield or Joni Mitchell, maybe the original Blood, Sweat & Tears.


B.S: Steve, best of luck with “Hard Bargain.” I have a feeling this is just the beginning of Steve Shive and the Urban Saints. I am now a big fan.

S.S.: Thanks so much Monte, I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about my music with you!  It really means a lot.