The Steve Riley Band,
Miles from Nowhere
(self-produced, 2002)

This is mysterious CD, but it's well worth the effort to listen.

Miles from Nowhere opens with "Let's Make it Clear," a track that immediately grabs the attention. The tune is captivating and the lyrics include "there's a novel here tonight, a songbook here tonight." From this we prepare ourselves for a session of story songs.

The second track, "Born on a Holiday," is a very good piece with some excellent guitar work. "Starr Light" is a more ambitious production with some driving guitar energy. There is a "House of the Rising Sun" feel about the style used here.

"Where Do the Children Play" is a Cat Stevens composition and this betrays the influences on Riley. For the uninitiated, Stevens was a very popular writer and performer on the UK contemporary folk scene a few decades ago. This ecological lament is every bit as necessary -- perhaps more so -- today. "We've come a long way, changing day to day, but where do the children play?" "Summer Rain" is another excellent love song, again tinged with the sadness of parting.

Many of the tracks on this CD are personal. "Lady of Gold" was written for the writer's wife. It is beautifully composed and obviously heartfelt. The lyrics include lines like "She'll always be brave, chase monsters away, you'll never see her pain," extolling the virtues of the real wives and mothers everywhere. Riley also writes of his experiences in the Vietnam War. Again, this is a very personal track but with universal resonance. As someone once said, the most universal stories are those written about small, local happenings. The CD ends with an excerpt from another Stevens song, "Miles from Nowhere."

This is a good album. The tracks have meaning and depth. You will need to do a little work to seek it out, however, as the band is still looking for outlets. You can contact for more information.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 1 November 2003