Reviewed by Kit Burns
Steve Pichan/Am I Here Already?
I had become so fond of singer/songwriter Steve Pichan’s Am I Here Already? that actually writing about it proved to be somewhat difficult; after all, what new words could I use to praise a CD that is now so familiar to my ears? The last decade has seen artists that nobody has ever heard of, many of them musicians who once dreamed of a rock & roll life, releasing their material to the global online community. Of that constantly growing population, Pichan is among the best. Am I Here Already? is the kind of consistently superb record that can create positive competition between regional artists. In other words, it raises the bar in terms of songwriting, instrumentation, and singing. Pichan knocks this baby out of the park like Barry Bonds pounding a 100 mile-an-hour fastball.
Pichan grabs us quickly. The opening cut, “The Line (Voter’s Lament),” greets us with the same winter melancholy vibe that envelopes the pictures on the CD’s packaging. Set to twangy guitars and a shuffling beat, Pichan addresses the State of the Union, namely the confusion and lack of confidence felt by voters during the presidential election due to previous broken promises by politicians. “Tell me no lie/Tell me the truth/Tell me the things I can expect out of you,” Pichan sings, his voice carrying the weight of disillusionment. The powerful “Iron Man” is charged with images of 9/11: “Watch with unbelieving eyes/The scene as it unfolds/Bricks and steel fall from the sky.” The “Iron Man” of the title seems to represent everyday heroism, the courage that bursts from us during times of great tragedy.
Pichan’s haunting, pensive vocals are definitely in the mold of Neil Young, especially on the desolate “Mile” and “8th Day.” There isn’t a single tune here that I would throw off the island; it’s as close to perfection as it gets.