Steve Pride

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Haint Review

by Bryan Thomas

Prior to recording Haint, singer/songwriter Steve Pride had led the Champaign and Urbana, IL-based Steve Pride & His Blood Kin. The band -- whom at one point or another featured future members of Poster Children, the Moon Seven Times, and Seam, to name a few -- played together for three years, mostly in the Midwest, but had only managed to release one song during their existence, calling it quits in 1994. They turned out to be a few years ahead of the insurgent country movement circa 1996, and even though they were alt-country precursors, they were hardly ever mentioned. Musicians like Wilco's Jeff Tweedy did their best to name-check the group in interviews (Tweedy even admitted to liking Pride's band so much that he "stole their guitar player.") In 1997, Steve Pride called upon a number of these friends to help him record this solo album, including Jay Bennett (ex-Blood Kin, then of Wilco), who helped out on dobro, mandolin, and warm harmonies. Backing vocalist Syd Straw also contributed beautiful vocals. Pride's rich, loamy baritone is an American treasure and as a songwriter he's right up there with many of his contemporaries. Following the recording of Haint -- originally released on the Spur label -- Pride moved to the Asheville, NC, area, where he built birdhouses and raised a family of his own. He continued to write and record music. In 1999, Bennett discovered a bag of eight-track Blood Kin demos that had been recorded in his dusty basement. He and Blood Kin bassist Don Gerard spent the next few months sorting, compiling, and restoring the tapes (various demos, stray singles, and live cuts of dubious quality, including the honky tonk original "The Devil Said," which had already appeared on Haint). The posthumous Blood Kin material was collected as Pride on Pride.

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