|Heeding the call from a higher power, Tulsa vocalist and harmonica player Steve Antry (pronounced “Ant-tree”) poured his heart and soul into this debut album “Devil Don’t Care.” After spending most of his life building a business and raising a family, Antry is now following the dream of creating his own music and sharing his faith, vision and inspiration with the world.
Antry partnered with producer Peter Carson (also Antry’s manager) to record ten tunes in Nashville that propel him into the emerging genre of Gospel Blues. The pair recruited several A-list players including bassist Michael Rhodes, acclaimed steel player Dan Dugmore, Academy of Country Music Drummer of the Year Award winner Greg Morrow, guitarists Rob McNelley, Pat Buchanan and Bret Mason, along with very special guests, vocal powerhouse Shaun Murphy and blues/rock guitar ace Anthony Gomes.
When Antry and Carson began outlining the tunes for the album a theme emerged which resulted in the writing of the title track, ‘Devil Don’t Care,’ a straight forward blues rock shuffle with a message of clarity and direction guided from above. The other nine tracks are songs of inspiration, dedication, faith and redemption. Beginning with the smooth R&B-styled love song ‘Always With Me,’ then shifting the mood to the fire and brimstone filled ‘How Far Down,’ with Ms. Murphy adding her wail to the rumbling chorus outro. The acoustic driven parable ‘Fishin’’ is a tale of solace and wisdom Antry found while on the open water with his father. The raucous 1970 Southern Rock Gospel hit, ‘Prince Of Peace,’ composed by Leon Russell, has a powerful message of accepting one’s fellow man and opening your heart to others that is very poignant in today’s xenophobic climate. The powerful ballad, ‘Borrowed Angels,’ attempts to explain the loss of a child and is a ministry of comfort to those who have suffered through that ordeal. The funky sermon, ‘Devil Gone Fishin’,’ is a stern warning to the wicked with scorching lead guitar from Anthony Gomes adding to the testimony.
Antry then reflects on the many gifts he has received from on high in the soaring ‘Sending Me Angels.’ The tent revival chorus of ‘Get Up’ urges us all to lift ourselves out of depths of turmoil and back onto the path of righteousness through good work and self-empowerment. The album closes with sentimental favorite ‘Special Angel,’ covered here close to the original crossover hit that made both the country and pop charts in the 1950’s and early 60’s, allowing Antry to flex his vocal chops while paying tribute to the teen idols he grew up listening to and rounding out the angelic theme of the album.
Rick J Bowen
One of Steve Antry’s earliest jobs was working as a track laborer for the Frisco railroad in Tulsa. He was underage, but claimed to be 18 to get the job. This turned out to be his defining “Woody Guthrie moment”, as he describes it. While driving steel with much older gentlemen with nicknames like ‘“Stokes” and “Bones” (who actually played the spoons), Antry became entranced by the music that was sung out in the country while repairing old railroad track. Everyone would sing along to the rhythm of the maul hitting a spike. That was Antry’s first unwitting exposure to the Blues, in its purest form. Now a singer songwriter, he remembers the circuitous path that got him to this moment. He grew up accomplished in sports, from wrestling and mixed martial arts to ice hockey, while getting his hands dirty doing just about anything manual. Then, as fate would have it, an unlikely mentor crossed his path.
In high school, when work, wrestling and the outdoors were occupying most of his free time, a buddy said to him “the girls in the church choir are pretty cute, we should go.” While attending his first rehearsal his voice caught the attention of the church Music Director, who happened to also be the Dean of Music at the University of Tulsa and Director of the Tulsa Opera. The director took him under his wing and became his music mentor, giving Antry free vocal training every Saturday for years. “I received more inspiration and life lessons from him than any sports coach I ever had,” says Antry of his inspirational classical voice teacher from whom he learned music theory and correct projection and breath control, while developing his three-octave range. Antry was offered a music scholarship from Dr. Sowell, but fate led him to a degree in finance and a career building businesses and supporting a family. But he always sang, purely for the love of it, at weddings, memorial services and in Gospel choirs, which always brought back those railroad track gang memories of Stokes and Bones and the crazy rhythm of the spoons. “The Southern Gospel choirs are where I learned that presentation is as important as content. There was a lot of movement while singing, which was half the fun,” says Antry of those years.
He discovered the harmonica (and guitar) as an adult, but found he had a natural aptitude for the Blues Harp. He advanced his skills in short order by applying his vocal training to his new obsession; and now travels with a Seydel pouch of Hohner Special 20s everywhere he goes. He regrets never attempting to master the spoons like old Bones.
Antry had the opportunity to fulfill his musical dreams and begin a second life with fire and gusto, when he partnered with Peter Carson in 2015 to produce his debut solo album, “Devil Don’t Care,” in Nashville, diving head long into the process of recording and writing his own music for the first time.
In 2016 Antry formed Joyride Blues Band with local seasoned players, quickly winning over Tulsa Blues fans and scoring headliner spots at the famous Cain’s Ballroom and Mayfest, one of Tulsa’s biggest music events of the year. His love for performing shines through every time Antry hits the stage.