- “Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Steve Gates (Caledonia) is as spare and beautiful as anything touched by either Neil Young or Daniel Lanois in his solo work.” PopMatters
- “one of the finest acoustic based albums I’ve heard this year. Steve Gates has got a winner on his hands” No Depression
- “Gates presents his music with a truth that most artists lack, laying down the album as a collection of stories. … an album that doesn’t disappoint, with each song delivering what’s needed on cue.” McGill Tribune
- “…this release has reinforced the infectious sounds with skilled and surprising lyrics and musicianship. Not only that but the catchy toe-tapper songs are counter-balanced with compositions of darker spirit and different tempos. An album that doesn’t rest too heavily on country and folk music of yesteryear but tips its hat to it and pushes passed” CKUA
- “…this one is definitely done right. Heartfelt, and with some good variety between the songs, “A Bee in Her Mouth” is a strong debut by a promising artist.” Bloody Underrated
- “Gates’s storytelling is strong and the instrumental touches (clarinet, pedal steel, various strings) are subtle; they never call attention to themselves. There’s not a weak one in the bunch but Down To the River and Godforsaken stand out as tracks that exemplify his wry, ruminative lyrical perspective.” Tom Murray (Penguin Eggs)
- “Steve Gates has jacked up the rustic vibe for his first solo release…Lyrically, it moves through emotional extremes, from the outraged “Godforsaken” to the intensely romantic “Lost Balloons,” but frequently strikes a balance, tempering criticism with humour, as on the acid-tongued “Keepin’ People Out.”…this is yet another first-rate offering from Halifax’s outstanding folk and roots scene.” Exclaim
- “You can always count on the Maritimes for some of the best revival country folk in Canada. Steve Gates is case and point. The velvet soft texture of Steve Gates voice has an undeniably therapeutic quality… Invested with natural imagery and personal resolve, songs like “Lost Balloons” shuffles the listener through the complexities of romance.”Argue Job
Press for Hello Jesus! (EP)
Hello Steve Gates (The Take Media)
By Portia Favro
I have a confession. Please don’t tell my boyfriend…but I have completely fallen in love with Steve Gates after listening to his debut EP, Hello Jesus.
On some debut albums, the sound of the artist can get lost in the bustle of too much percussion, sounds and tracks. Gates doesn’t get caught up in this–focusing on the quality, not quantity of tracks, which comes out in his vocals and melodies.
The Halifax singer-songwriter’s EP plays like a four-course meal, with each track representing an exquisite dish.
Sneak Peak::Steve Gates Hello Jesus (Herohill)
Of all the local bands made good, I’m always surprised by how little attention we give Caledonia. The boys write solid songs, stand for something and aren’t afraid to pile in the van and tour the shit out of their songs. In this era of blog TUMBLR-born and praised bands, it’s refreshing to see a band still go out and earn fans the old fashioned way.
The band has taken a pause, but refuse to idle. Zac Crouse just completed an epic Ottawa-Halifax sea kayaking journey to show we don’t need to rely of gasoline (watch the webisodes, they are fantastical), and Steve Gates has been holed up in vans touring with The Warped 45s to introduce friends and fans to his new solo material.
Gates will release the full length LP in 2012, but in a few days you can pick up the Hello Jesus EP and I suggest you do. The four-song trailer shows why Gates is such an engaging performer and song writer. The songs offer a sense of humor and compassion alongside his appreciation of where he comes from and the songs that helped him find his voice. The title track oozes Prine; Gates sings of true love, passion and drunken stumbles without regret or judgment. Life is meant for living, and whether that’s an extra drink or the shameless display of making love under the stars you can feel the warm embrace Gates offers our city by the sea.
The most immediate song on the EP is the touching tribute to the women that have disappeared on Highway 16. I first heard the song at Crouse’s solo LP launch, and I’ve been waiting for a year to hear it in recorded form. The “oh oh ohs” added to the chorus will warm the hearts of any Caledonia fan, but the message will tug at your heart strings.
The cherry on top of this audio Sunday is the sincere rework of the Brenda Lee classic, “You Were Always On My Mind.” Gates shares vocal duties with the criminally underrated Catherine MacLellan and while their version might not reach the same stratospheric heights of Willie Nelson or Elvis’ take, it represents what a solo record is all about. It’s a chance for Steve to share songs that mean a lot to him and sit outside of the Caledonia sound, and if these four songs are an indication of that love, we are in for a treat.
Coyotes in the Room-Hell Young Man & Steve Gates – Hello Jesus (Eps)
I thought it’d be cool to combine a Hell, a Hello, and a Jesus in one post. Plus, they’re two terrific EPs. “Hello Jesus” is Steve Gatesʼ debut EP–three originals and a cover of Willie Nelson’s “You were always on my mind” as a duet with a lady named Catherine MacLellan. It’s mellow country rock, well written, well performed…And Steve’s got a really cool voice. I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as Bob Dylan, but it also isn’t as good as Lyle Lovett. It’s unique, special, and perfect for the songs he plays.
Caledonia’s Steve Gates Branches Out with New Solo EP
By Luca Morellato
The EP was recorded in his apartment and then mixed John Critchley (Dan Mangan, Elliot Brood). It features four tracks, including a cover of “Always on My Mind” with Catherine Maclellan (the song was originally by Brenda Lee and made famous by Willie Nelson) and a tribute to the missing women of Highway 16 in British Columbia (“Highway of Tears”).
You can listen to the EP’s title track below. According to the press release, “Hello Jesus” is one of Gates’s first songs and was written years ago while busking on Vancouver’s Granville Island. “It is a mildly blasphemous love song dedicated to the city of Halifax with the friendly wit of a John Prine song,” the release adds.
Gates is set to tour in support of the Hello Jesus EP in select Canadian cities this fall. He’s also gearing up for a full-length, which is to be released in 2012.
1. “Bright Blue Candy Suns”
2. “Hello Jesus”
3. “You Were Always on My Mind” (ft. Catherine Maclellan)
4. “Highway of Tears”
“What’s in the water back East? Steve Gates is yet another singer-songwriter living in Halifax, and making absolutely stunning records. His new one, “A Bee in Her Mouth,” was produced by Dan Critchley (Elliott BROOD, Dan Mangan), and sees Gates joined by Maritime heroes Jenn Grant, Dan Ledwell and Rose Cousins. Gates’ day job is as a social support worker – a job that’s taken him all the way up to Watson Lake – so he knows sorrow, and knows redemption too. It’s no surprise, therefore, that this new album is sensitive, tasteful and true. We hear echoes of Tweedy, Cohen and Lanois in the tunes, and are eager to get to know Steve Gates.” – Dawson City Music Festival
“‘Hello Jesus’ acts as a hello to Steve Gates. The four song E.P., his debut, can trace its birthback to a public talk given by Daniel Lanois. Steve Gates was there and soaked up the methods Lanois used to create Emmylou Harris’ ‘Wrecking Ball’, taking on the speaker’s challenge to be reckless. For Steve Gates, that meant recording in his apartment and crafting an album that captures the intimacy of the surroundings that gave it life. The title track dates back to Steve Gates early Vancouver busking days, the rapid fire of the verse brings to mind one of those long-winded John Prine word strings that always land on a punch line. “You Were Always on My Mind” gets an excellent Indie Americana makeover as a duet with Catherine MacLellan. Steve Gates voice rises and cuts a path along the “Highway of Tears”, giving the pain of loss no restrictions, as the song plays as a tribute to the women who have gone missing along Highway 16 as it stretches from Prince George to Prince Robert, Nova Scotia.”
“a sparsely tinted emotive feast…there is an inherent darkness, possibly quelled from hours of Leonard Cohen or Wilco consumption…Sometimes you reach resolve by not resolving anything.” -Shain Shapiro reviewing “Lost Balloons”, – Leeds Revue, UK
“You know, for a folk singer and songwriter, Steve Gates really knows how to piss people off.”
Ottawa Sun defaming and slandering Steve after a perfectly nice phone call…excerpt from “Steve Gates shows the mean side of Folk Music”