Dr. Stephenson has been playing music in multiple genres since he was ten (he's 79 now). He is a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, both electric and upright bass, 6-string, 12-string, doubleneck and harp guitars, mandolin, 8-string uke, and drums). Although he gravitates towards classic/vintage blues and Americana, he has played folk, classical, pop, rock, R & B, jazz, Hawai'ian slack key, and liturgical music. He is a song writer and music arranger and records and produces in his own home studio. He is a finger-style guitarist.
Currently, he plays regularly at venues in Rochester, Shelby Township, and Oxford, MI. He also has played open mics and song writers nights in Nashville and Los Angeles as well as locally. While teaching at a university in Vermont, he played regularly at several university and local venues for many years. During his ten years in the US Navy, Dr. Stephenson played jazz organ and fronted a band that played regularly on base and in off-base venues.
His style is decidedly "old-school" but it is his own - he does not try to emulate any artist although many blues men and women of the 30s - 60s have influenced him considerably, particularly Jimmy Smith on jazz organ, Blind Willie McTell and Jontavious Willis for Blues (among many others), and Tyler Childers and Willie Nelson (again, among many others) for song writing.
His PhD is from Oxford Brookes University in the UK and has nothing to do with music. He has been referred to as a "colorful eccentric" which, hopefully, makes him fun, not difficult, to work with.
* From "Statesboro Blues", Blind Willie McTell, 1928
Traditional story of a bar room gunfight first recorded in 1929
On my CD, "Helpless Blues"
The ghost story related to me by the then owner of the Tudor House Inn in Warwick, England. I wrote it in one sitting at about 3 AM many years after I heard it. It uses honkey tonk style piano. I played all of the instruments and sang both melody and harmony.
The traditional story of a horse and an ill-fated gambler. I play it as more of a lament than a folk song. The "Savannah Bananas Jazz Band" is a virtual band. I play all of the instruments.
The story of a convict in a prison that overlooks a railroad track. The tradition has it that when the Midnight Special passes by the prison, the prisoner will be released soon if its light shines on him.
This is one of mine written in about 2018. It's a lament to growing older - not always a pleasant thing. As an old colleague once told me, "getting old is not for the faint-hearted".
This is an original I recorded with my virtual band as backup tracks. I played all of the tracks including my Tonedevil Guitars custom double neck (6 X 12) guitar, organ and bass. Drums are a Boss RC-10R.
My wife died recently and it just seemed that I ought to pull this little blues out of moth balls and dedicate it to her. This will be one of the tracks on an EP on which I'm working called "All Alone". It also is one of my entries for the annual Detroit Blues Society song writing competition.
(Image art by Aaron Andrew Ang on unsplash.com/s/photos/lonesome? )
* INDICATES AN ORIGINAL SONG
* INDICATES AN ORIGINAL SONG
Note that these are example set lists and ordering that I may or may not use. I have well over 300 songs in my collection and I create set lists that are suitable for the particular event and audience. I am adding new songs to my collection constantly. I mix originals and covers.
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