Steve Dickinson Revisits His Roots at Massie Hall

Local music fans, and particularly fans of Bob Segar, have a real treat in store this Friday at Massie Hall with a concert by Steve Dickinson.  This is a return to his roots for Steve, who grew up in nearby Elsinore, learning his vocal chops by listening to the records of Bob Segar among others.  He was the first performer to play at Massie Hall thirteen years ago when a local non-profit group bought the historic schoolhouse from the school board to create a community centre and local musician Pete Miller (May Contain Nuts) approached them with the idea of putting on concerts there.  “If I remember right,” says Steve, “I sold him the PA there.”

Steve served on the board of Summerfolk and performed there.  “For many people it seems performing at Summerfolk is seen as the pinnacle for them,” said Steve, “but I saw it as a launching pad”.  He went from there to showcases in Nashville and, over the years has recorded four albums of his own songs.

Steve had grown up playing music locally.  “Steve Richie (Tanglefoot and RPR) was the drummer in my first band,” he says.  He played around a lot with a group that included Rob Richie (Tanglefoot and RPR), Sandra Swannell (Tanglefoot and My Sweet Patootie), and Roger Williamson, who will be joining him at this concert.

“He is a great talent,” says Steve, “He and I have done some duos over the years and I feel very fortunate that he will be sitting in with me.”  Performing at Massie Hall this time around was suggested to him by Bryan Leckie (The Kreuger Band) and his is looking forward to the opportunity to play some of his own songs in an acoustic performance.  “I’m glad I’ve got some new material to play,” he says, “I’m going to tell some stories about my escapades and sing my songs.”

He also appreciates that this area is a hotbed of exceptional talent, and it’s changed since he was young, with a lot more venues open to original music.

And he has some great stories to tell.  His most recent adventures include singing on a tribute album of songs written by the legendary Glasgow songwriter Frankie Miller, joining a stellar international cast that includes Willie Nelson, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh, Huey Lewis, Kid Rock and many more household names.  The fact that Steve, the only Canadian and not exactly a household name, was included in the project speaks to his talent, particularly his powerful voice.

He had been working with Rick Hutt, a talented producer who has worked with The Northern Pikes and Anne Murray, and is working with Steve on a new album, when Rick pointed out to Steve that he sounds a lot like Bob Segar.  He suggested that Steve contact Segar’s band to see if they would be interested in working with him, since Segar had retired from touring.  He sent an audition tape and caught the attention of Bob Segar’s sax player, Alto Reed.  They began working together and released an album called ‘Tonight We Ride” in 2009.  The adventure took Steve to Detroit where he became aquainted with the musical community there.  That included Ray Minhinnett, long time lead guitarist for Frankie Miller’s Full House Band, and he and Steve became friends.

“Double Take” the Frankie Miller tribute album, had been initiated by Rod Stewart who had contacted Miller’s family looking for unreleased songs he might record.  He discovered a cache of eighteen songs and decided to pull together world-class singers to record them with Miller’s band.  Frankie Miller, who sang just one song on the album, had been forced to retire from performing in 1994 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.  When Ray Minhinnett was brought in to the project, he made sure the producers became aware of Dickinson’s great vocal talent, and the rest is history.  After the album’s release, Steve was tapped to be the lead singer in a supporting tour.

The trajectory of a promising career was interrupted when family matters brought him back home to our area and, luckily for us, to a concert at Massie Hall.  But the story’s not finished.  He’s still writing and recording and, in spite of the praise his vocals have inspired, still sees himself primarily as a singer-songwriter.  He also appreciates that this area is a hotbed of exceptional talent, and it’s changed since he was young, with a lot more venues open to original music.  “I’m seriously considering doing things around here,” he says, “At the end of the day I don’t sing any different in England than I do here.”

As with any talent, it’s all about connecting with the audience.

Massie Hall is halfway between Chatsworth and Walter’s Falls at 823688 Massie Road.

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One Response to Steve Dickinson Revisits His Roots at Massie Hall

  1. Iona & Robert says:

    Barbara has kept us informed of your adventures
    look forward to visiting her next summer and seeing you and Larry
    Iona currently incapacitated by migraines but coping
    take care
    Iona & Robert

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