Athanas coming home to lead ‘Parade’Written by Michael Punsalan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Singer/songwriter Steven Athanas, aka Steven Jay, has been entertaining Toledo for decades, from his popularity as a WIOT-FM 104.7 radio personality to his role in bands such as The Best, Loved By Millions, the Infamous Raisin Band and most recently, the Homewreckers.
Following a recent divorce, the 53-year-old musician resides in Baltimore as an art teacher. Through new and difficult life experiences, Jay spent the last two years writing and recording his first solo album, “We Are Our Own Parade.”
Returning to Toledo for the new album’s CD release party, Steven Jay will perform at the Village Idiot on Dec. 23.
What took the veritable rock veteran so long to go solo?
“The idea of a solo album hadn’t come to me because I was always in a band with that band mentality,” Jay said. “[The Homewreckers] found a niche doing cover stuff. It’s kind of a tired vehicle. We did it for over 15 years. There’s not a lot of creativity to it. At this point, I think I’ve sang ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ more times than Van Morrison. It was a wonderful thing, but it was time to move on.”
Weaving together a tale of hardship and perseverance, “We Are Our Own Parade” peeks into Jay’s recondite mind. All 15 tracks showcase Jay’s delicate word choice while revealing a sentimental vulnerability.
“The songs are predominantly about what I went through with this divorce, which was very hard,” Jay said. “But I felt blessed that I had a guitar in front of me so that I could expound on my feelings.”
While “Now I Know” overtly confesses tragic regret after a lost love, a similar-themed “Little Fish Tattoo” carries an offbeat sensibility resembling something heard on a Cameron Crowe movie soundtrack.
“Even though the album was conceived regarding a very hard time in my life, I don’t think it comes off as a ‘Woe Is Me/I’m stroking my violin-type of thing,’” Jay said. “I tried to touch on all aspects of what happened when someone goes through that. Maybe I didn’t get to all of them, but there’s some anger in there, frivolity, some serious downright heartbreak. I’m kind of proud I touched on all of those.”