Twenty albums into his five-decade career, Steve Wariner still has plenty of musical tricks up his sleeve. Born with an innate proficiency for music, Wariner’s musical beginnings can be traced back to as early as age 10 when he was playing drums with his father’s band. A multi-instrumentalist in the making, Wariner then picked up the bass and moved from his hometown in Indiana to Nashville, TN where he joined Dottie West’s band at the ripe age of 17. A few years later, Chet Atkins signed him to RCA and produced his first recordings. Wariner went on to enjoy an illustrious career that includes more than 30 Top 10 hits, 14 No. 1 hits, 16 BMI Songwriter Awards, 4 Grammy Awards, 4 CMA Awards and 1 ACM Award.
Forty years after signing his first record deal with RCA, Wariner’s passion for writing, playing and singing music remains undiminished. The Kentucky Music Hall-Of-Famer and Grand Ole Opry Member has produced radio smash-hits like “Holes in the Floor of Heaven”, which garnered him the 1999 ACM Award for “Song of the Year” and the CMA Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Single of the Year”.
On his most recent project All Over The Map, fans will hear him like never before. The cutting edge, emotion-packed album displays, for the first time, the astonishing breadth of Wariner’s talents all at once. All Over The Map, produced through Wariner’s own SelecTone Records, showcases not only the dazzling, innovative guitar work for which he is so well known, but his command of other instruments as well. Throughout the album’s five instrumentals and seven vocal songs, Wariner brings a sense of joy to his music that rings out as an expression that is at once deeply personal, but also universal.
As the album title aptly captures, stylistically, the music is exhilaratingly diverse, spanning country, bluegrass, rock, jazz and pop – all unified by Wariner’s adroit playing and singing. Wariner, who wrote 10 of the 12 tracks, collaborated with musical friends and legends from all over the world. Among his top collaborators is the late, legendary Merle Haggard. In 1996, the pair co-wrote the heartbreaking, traditional ballad “When I Still Mattered to You”, and he revisited the track in 2016 after Haggard’s death. Joined by Tommy Emmanuel and John Knowles, three of the four original CGPs – a term meaning “Certified Guitar Player” that was lovingly bestowed upon them by Chet Atkins – pay tribute to their friend and mentor through the album.
Wariner also enlisted a league of top-flight musicians, making All Over The Map his most guest-laden album since his acclaimed instrumental set No More Mr. Nice Guy (1996). The album features musicians like acclaimed guitarist Eric Johnson in the lilting, jazzy instrumental “Meanwhile Back In Austin”, Rock & Roll Hall-Of-Famer Duane Eddy in the twangy “Nashville Spyline”, and Jack Pearson in the rollicking album opener, “Drop Top”, a remake of Billy Love’s 1952 Chess Records cut. Kentucky Headhunters’ Greg Martin plays on the swampy “Way It Goes”, which features a rare social commentary from Wariner, while his longtime buddy Ricky Skaggs provides exquisite mandolin accompaniment on bluegrass delight, “Down Sawmill Road”.
“I was every bit as enthusiastic about recording this project as I was the very first day I went in with Chet Atkins in 1977 and recorded my first stuff. I will get as excited, especially when the room is full of great players. The joy is in creating for me, and it never goes away.”
– Steve Wariner