Rabbi and Cantor Steven Blane are a Pop-Jazz-Americana Singer-Poet in the style of Leonard Cohen, Jon Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Roy Orbison who released his newest album, “The Met” on June 15th.
It features ten newly written songs set in a retro-cool 1940s American Songbook vibe, keeping with the sophisticated, jazzy style of songwriters like Jimmy Van Heusen, Richard Rogers and Irving Berlin.
The album is sincere, but not without its cheeky moments. The closing track, “The Best Things In Life Ain’t Free, is a play on an old adage (and Sinatra song). Lighthearted and relatable, the lyrics advise that “Happiness may be found on the cheap, but it can be quite expensive to keep.” This thread of humor runs throughout the album and Blane’s overall body of work.
While attempting such a distinguished and complex style of songwriting may appear daunting, Blane is blessed with both a suitably rich and sonorous voice for this kind of material and a finely honed skill for navigating the compositional side, with a natural flair for melody.
The album’s quality should come as no surprise to those who know Blane, a soulful New York-based creative.
He is also a Rabbi and Cantor and as such sings and writes from a place of intimate familiarity with the human condition. As Rabbi of the Jewish Universalist Synagogue Sim Shalom, he leads regular and High Holiday services in which the universal language of music plays a prominent role. Listeners of all backgrounds would do well to peruse his playlists of Jewish liturgical music.
Blane is no stranger to the New York City gig scene (for a flavor of his live shows, check out his collection of videos). Steven Blane‘s work is truly in a class of its own.
What makes your business different from any others doing a similar thing?
Well, in my younger days I aspired to become a songwriter. I actually got on the road and headed towards Nashville. But I turned around and build a different life. About eight years ago, I jumped back in and to date, I have published 8 albums of my work.
If you had a magic wand, what would you change in the world?
Wow. The nastiness. The cruelty. The mean spiritedness. I would basically like to delete the past 6 years.
If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
My work as a singer-songwriter and Rabbi Cantor.
How do you cope with stress?
Stop listening to the news. And, just accept what is happening and not try to fight it. Yet.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What would the closest person in your life say if we asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you, and the one that drives them insane?
Ha. My being an artist- a singer and songwriter.
What are your success habits?
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?
I would not waste about 7 years of my 20’s trying to produce an off-off-Broadway show
How did you find your definition of success? What is it?
A good idea. Timing. Luck.