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
On 11 may 1996 Wariner was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry
and while I was visiting
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
What is happening with your songwriting at the moment?
with Opry manager
"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
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.
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.