Monday Music Musings: Steve Wariner

I was driving home from work Saturday listening to the radio, and Steve Wariner’s “Holes in the Floor of Heaven” came on. Probably one of the more sappy songs to come out from any country artist, but I always liked it anyway…
But something hit me as it was playing…it’s been almost ten years since that song and cd was released. I remember it like it was yesterday…1997 and early ’98 was a bit of a time for renaissance for the Christmas baby from Noblesville, Indiana. Two No. 1 hits to his credit as a songwriter in 1997 (Clint Black’s “Nothin’ But the Taillights” and Garth Brooks’ “Longneck Bottle”) and a third to come in 1998 as a singer with a duet with Anita Cochran, “What If I Said.” Steve got signed to Capitol Nashville sometime in late 1997 or early 1998 partly because of that resurgence, and “Holes” was the first single from that first Capitol Nashville album, Burnin’ the Roadhouse Down. I remember that cd very well…I bought it the day it came out, and I was just absolutely floored. If you’ll remember, Wariner’s hits from the ’80s mostly had a very strong adult-contemporary feel to them, with not that many exceptions — “Life’s Highway,” “What I Didn’t Do” and “Some Fools Never Learn” come to mind. (In fact, that last one’s actually my favorite song of all time…) But “Burnin’ the Roadhouse Down” was a world away from that, with some great old-school honky-tonk, guitar-driven country-rock and even a little Western swing with the title cut (which was actually another duet with Garth Brooks). Quite honestly, I never thought Steve actually had it in him to do an album like that, but boy, was I ever wrong. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend you change that…

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