Honolulu Star-Advertiser
November 5, 2010
‘Labor of Love’
Steve Grimes
CD Cover

By  John Berger

Hawaii resident luthier (guitar maker) Steve Grimes steps forward as a recording artist with this eclectic aptly titled collection of original songs. They range in style from soft acoustic ballads to swinging electric blues. The subject matter from love and loss to incisive social commentary.
Grimes, a Maui resident for almost 30 years, speaks for many on the Valley Isle with “Moving To Maui,” an unflattering commentary on wealthy newcomers whose concept of progress is cutting down trees, building McMansions, and speculating in real estate. The swinging blues arrangement is a perfect platform for Grimes’ lyric commentary.
He also comments on current affairs with “That’s News To Me,” a playful yet insightful piece on what constitutes “news” these days. “Don’t want to stay at the Paris Hilton, or the Brittany Hotel,” Grimes complains in one verse while a seven-piece band lays down a funky blues-rock groove around him.
Grimes shows his imagination as a lyricist with “What They Say” — almost every line is a cliche of one kind or another.
Grimes was a musician before he started constructing instruments. He emphasizes his talent there with “Olinda Na Chuva,” a beautiful piece of instrumental jazz that features several talented guests. “Timeless Love” also strips things down to feature Grimes’ guitar playing, although he sings on this one as well.
The other love songs are no less remarkable. Uptempo or down, they address the myriad permutations of the ever-fascinating emotion in articulate style.
There are also some songs that sound like requiems, but if they are Grimes doesn’t share that information in the liner notes.
“Labor of Love” is available at


Maui News
June 24, 2010
‘Labor of Love’
Steve Grimes

by Jon Woodhouse

As a master luthier, Steve Grimes has worked with many famous musicians often creating unique designs for them. So it’s no surprise on his new CD, “Labor Of Love”, distinguished friends contributing include guitarists Larry Coryell, Rick Vito, of the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, and Pat Simmons of the Doobies, keyboardist Jon Cleary and bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson from Bonnie Raitt’s band, and the late great Norton Buffalo on harmonica.

“I was really lucky to have such a deep well of incredible talent to draw from”, Steve says. “It was a nice compliment that they liked the songs enough too”.

Norton, who performed for many years with Steve Miller, joins Pat (playing a “Beamer” model) on the sweet track “Perfect Stranger”, and contributed to “Over The Waves”, a moving homage to Mana’o Radio founder Barry Shannon and one of the albums highlights.
“I’ve been a good friend of Norton’s wife Lisa for about 35 years, and they showed up at one of my gigs with Barry Flanagan at Borders, and we played at my studio and he told me he’d love to record with me sometime. He came back to the studio when he was here with Steve Miller. I’ve dedicated the CD to him”.

Musically Steve journeys far and wide on the CD. “I have a collection of styles”, he notes, “bouncing between bossa nova and funk, and folk and blues, and latin and rock.” Acclaimed jazz guitarist Larry Coryell plays his Grimes “LC” model guitar on the elegant Brazilian instrumental “Olinda Na Chuva”. “I thought with a sultry bossa nova he’d would want to play an archtop with a pickup, for that warm jazz sound,” he says, “and I was surprised he played the ‘LC’ model flat top, doing an acoustic solo. He’s such a great player! I’m working on a new model guitar for him”.

Taking a swipe at our celebrity obsession, “That’s News To Me” finds Steve in a funky talking blues mode, enchanted by Rick Vito’s great slide playing. “I’m really cynical about what’s fed to us as news”, he explains. One of the lines in the song is, “news is just show time”.

And the hilarious blues “Movin’ To Maui” satirizes the Califorication of our island, engulfed by massive mansions. Bob Jones, who years ago performed with guitar legend Mike Bloomfield, plays drums and guitar on the track, and provides a perfect vocal style for the sardonic subject matter.

One Response to “Reviews”

  1. Kate Sample says:

    Fantastic! Loved every song- the lyrics are brilliant, the music is subtle and sweet. Usually on a new CD I skip through a few songs after hearing the first 20 seconds. Not on this CD- every song is unique and speak to the truth and heart of life.
    Steve’s voice changes with each song style- Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, Grateful Dead, Dan Fogelberg all came to mind…
    Mahalo for the touching tribute to Barry Shannon….adds to the creative inspiration and living your dream theme.
    Glad I “slowed down” to listen to this – I thoroughly enjoyed every track!