Jester (jes-ter); noun; a personage in medieval high courts typically adorned in a cap with bells and whose sole function was to critique royalty. Why? Because kings knew they were prone to yes men, and so the wise kept a reality check close at hand. And Steve Minotti’s CD titled THE GALLERY (2005) is just such a reality check for anyone interested in the royal aspects of song writing.
All nine tracks on this CD were beautifully written by Steve except for track eight – LULLABY – which was written by him and Mark Barovich. Now keep in mind that I have seen Steve perform live many times and I can only describe his incredible voice as both a lullaby and an awakening. Steve is, after all, the only person I know who can out sing Men at Work’s Collin Hay on Overkill, which is quite a feat as Collin wrote the song and perfomed it with such gusto on the album Cargo (1983, Epic).
To scratch the surface for you, the CD starts out with LIGHTNING STRUCK, a track which Mumford And Sons, or any other prairie rock group would be proud to play. This is followed by the title track – THE GALLERY – with magnificent violin work by Robin Roslund which harps back to David Lindley’s awe inspiring fiddle on Jackson Browne’s recording of Danny O’Keefe’s The Road (Running On Empty, 1977, Asylum). Next comes the astounding track three – BUTTERFLY – which contains a wonderful bridge that was also uniquely employed over forty-five yeas ago by the Rolling Stones on Play With Fire (Out Of Our Heads, 1965, Decca).
And then there’s IN THE DEFINITION, my personal favorite. It is quite possible to say that an entire college level course on song writing theory could be based upon this one track. It has incredible lyrics, including – You’re The Heart That Beats With My Obsession – You’re The Drug That’s Feeding My Addiction – And The Cross That Carries My Conviction – Love Defined As In The Definition. I daresay you’d have to look back to Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965, Columbia) for this type of outstanding monograph.
Perhaps the only picture missing from this gallery is Steve’s own voice on TASTE OF YOU. Now you can’t fault Steve for wanting Carole Berphiaume to sing lead on this track which she did beautifully. But like I said, I’ve seen Steve perform live many times before, and most recently I saw him sing this song by himself. It was enough to raise tears in my eyes.
So joker, jester, or magical music maker, Steve Minotti is one reality check that is really worth checking out. You can see Steve perform regularly at great acoustic venues in Delray Beach and throughout south east Florida.