Check out the other interviews and articles by Golden Graham

 Steve Wariner  Steve Wariner 
Takes Five with Graham Lees

As a country artiste Steve Wariner's credentials go back almost 40 years, when he started playing bass in his father's country band at the age of 10 years. While in his teens, Steve sang with several bands and while holding a residency at a club near Indianapolis, the Star of the show Dottie West caught his performance and came on stage early to harmonise with him. After that Steve played bass in Dottie's band at the age of 17. Five years later Steve Wariner was playing for Bob Luman and Luman recorded several of Wariner's songs. A further two years on, Steve was playing with Chet Atkins, who took him to RCA Records as a solo performer in 1977.

Steve Wariner has had a bevy of hits with his first #1 being 'All Roads Lead To You'. In 1998 Steve Wariner received awards from both CMA and ACM for Single Of The Year and CMA Song Of The Year for 'Holes In The Floor OF Heaven', which he co-wrote with Billy Kirsch. Burning The Roadhouse Down, the album that "Holes" came from went Gold, as did the follow-up Two Teardrops, with Steve co-writing the title track with his Opry buddy "Whispering" Bill Anderson. The following year Wariner was also nominated for CMA Male Vocalist Of The Year, but saw it go to Tim McGraw.

On 11 may 1996 Wariner was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry and while I was visiting

Steve with Eddie Stubbs at WSM
Steve with DJ Eddie Stubbs

Nashville in March 2002, I was invited backstage at the Opry where I met Steve Wariner, who was the Star of the Friday night performance. Though he was anxious to leave after his performance, Steve was gracious enough to agree to an interview with me and invited me into the dressing room that once belonged to Roy Acuff.

Thanks for finding some time to talk to me Steve. You have many fans in the UK who have been listening to your music for quite some time. What are you doing at present?

" I'll tell you…I have really backed off the touring and I'm going to stay pretty much close to home and just do the songwriting just now. Producing a little bit, but mainly the songwriting and doing the Opry quite a bit, but staying close to Nashville. After twenty-something years on road, it really feels good to spend more time with the family and stay closer to home."

Is this the reason that you've cut down on the touring?

"Yes it is…it really is! You know my children are grown almost and I look back at all those years that I was gone; it is so nice to be around now and spend a lot of time with them. We've built a new studio this past year and I've spent a lot of hours in there. I love that songwriting and working in the studio."

Are you working with any particular recording artistes?

"No, not really! I've working a little bit with Brian White. I've just written a new song that Brian is going to be doing. I'm going to be playing on it in a couple of weeks. I sang with Kenny Rogers the other day on a song that he is recording that I wrote with Billy Kirsch, 'I'm Missing You'. Actually that is so much fun me…writing and then seeing who will make some response and be interested in it. My wife Karen runs our publishing business, so it is really a family thing."

Are we going to see a new album from you in the near future?

"That's a good question that I'm asked quite a bit. At the moment I don't have any plans. I've been on a sort of self-imposed hiatus from Capital Records for I guess for a year now, so it feels good to kind of step away for a while. I made three albums at Capitol…I believe it was three albums in three years. I did a lot in a short period of time, so it feels good to kind of step back."

What is happening with your songwriting at the moment?

Steve with Grand Ole Opry manager Pete Fisher
Steve with Opry manager 
Pete Fisher

"I'm writing quite a bit with a few writers…Bill Anderson was in a few moments ago. We write a lot together and I write with a guy called Billy Kirsch…we wrote 'Holes In The Floor Of Heaven ' together. I write with Allen Shamblin…'Where The Blacktop Ends' (Keith Urban 2001). I've got a circle of friends that love to write with. I write some by myself too, but I like to co-write with people who I'm comfortable with."

You have just mentioned 'Holes In The Floor In Heaven'. It became very popular and you performed it on the CMA awards.

"Yes! That was a big song and I'm very grateful for that and it really kind of brought a renaissance for me. I'd kinda been away for a while. Then again…I always tell young people…young artistes…that the songwriting is what can bring you back. A one hit song can turn things around for anybody."

Was there anything autobiographical about that song?

"Not that much. The first verse…I had a lot of visions of my grandmother who had passed about 4-5 years prior writing that song. I was very close to her…she was the only grandparent that I knew. For my part of it…perhaps Billy Kirsch will have his own viewpoint. But for my viewpoint, that first verse is kind of my reflections on my grandmother. But we took a lot of liberties to kind of make up a lot of stuff and make it fictional."

It worked and it was a very good song.

"Thank you!"

I know that you have to go, so I'd just like to thank you for your time, I much appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.