Played By the Rules
2001 saw the release of David Stephens' debut CD 'Played By the Rules,' 12 songs recorded in the home studio of manic banjo player/maestro producer, Mike West, in New Orleans, LA. When this CD was recorded, Stephens had just finished his second term in the cold climate of New England, where he was working on a Masters in puppetry from the University of Connecticut. Several of the songs ('Connecticut Snow,' 'Connecticut Redneck Song') reflect some of the culture shock this South Alabama boy went through during that time. 'Pocket Change,' 'Simple Man,' and 'Cabin Made of Logs' are love songs. Knowing that every bluegrass songwriter has to 'write one for mama,' The title cut, 'Mama Tried to Raise a Good Boy,' is about leaving home and cutting the apron strings. Mike West provides beautiful madolin and guitar work besides being the ears behind the mixing board. He is joined by members of the British delta-blues band The Hot Tamales, whose studio time happened to overlap with Stephens. Stewart Carr's slide guitar and his wife's Lesley's washboard only add to the textures of these songs. This CD has received praised from listeners representing a wide scope of musical tastes. You don't have to be a bluegrass lover to enjoy these songs. Some will make you laugh, a few may bring a tear. Hopefully it all comes down to good music. Stephens now lives in Atlanta where he peforms regularly with bassist Will Robertson in their duo, Banjolicious.