Steve Balsamo and Rosalie Deighton met over 10 years ago at Grammy award winning producer Martin Terefe's London recording studio where he was working on their respective major label debut albums. Bonding over a love of 70's singer/songwriters, country music and cake, they vowed one day to record together as they felt their voices would blend and give what Emmylou Harris calls 'the rub'.
Several times around the world in various musical guises and Balsamo Deighton's paths crossed again when Rosalie supported Steve's highly regarded country/rock band The Storys. Having returned from touring with the likes of Elton John, Santana, Celine Dion and Joe Cocker, The Storys asked Rosalie to join and help write and record for their 3rd album, 'Luck'.
When The Storys decided to call it a day, Steve and Rosalie took it as a sign that the time was right to make some music together. They called on friend and ace songwriter Julian Wilson of Grand Drive, and slowly and quietly kicked some ideas around at his South London studio.
Tell us about yourselves and what you do?
Rosalie - I'm a singer songwriter, addicted to Nutella, cake and food in general - I have to eat every two hours otherwise I get grumpy. I'm a keen runner, have run a few marathons for Macmillan in memory of my sister. I grew up on the road playing music with my parents and brother and sisters. I live and breathe music, I grew up listening to blue grass, country, rock, and American folk. I love singing with Steve.
Steve - I'm a singer, songwriter, artist and tarot reader. I was born in Swansea, South Wales to an Italian Father and Welsh mother. I have 2 younger brothers who both sing. We grew up listening to Opera, Jim Reeves and Led Zeppelin. I once played Jesus. With my old band - The Storys - we appeared in a film with Jason Statham. I like beer and real ale. I'm interested in the paranormal and magic, and even captured a 'ghost' voice (or EVP) that we mixed into our song, ‘The Ghost Of You And Me.’
How did you get together?
Steve - We met in Grammy winning producer Martin Terefe's London studio, when he was working on our respective major label albums. We bonded of 70's West Coast music and the love of cake.
Rosalie – I also supported Steve's old band, The Storys, opening up for them on a couple of tours, and then joined when a member left. I helped write and record their 3rd album Luck, and when the band called it a day, Steve and I started work on Balsamo Deighton.
What is your current release?
Rosalie - We are releasing our debut album, ‘Unfolding’ on February 5th, which we are very proud of.
Steve - It's taken us 4 years to get it together! We liked the freedom and the gentleness of kicking ideas around, starting in Julian Wilson of Grand Drive's South London studio and finishing off in Tim Hamill's south Wales studio. We are signed to earMUSIC, a very cool German label, and are hoping to get out to Europe to support the album.
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/songwriter?
Rosalie - Getting to travel, perform and meet amazing people. It's such a colourful way of life. It's a lovely feeling to be able to sit in a room start off with a note, a chord, a word and with the right chemistry create something that gives me joy and energy.
Steve - I think it is a privilege to be able to witness something, write about it, record it, and hopefully hear it on the radio. It's a strange kind of alchemy I think; sitting in a room with other players, distilling feelings, fashioning them into something ear wormy, recording the feelings and then if we get lucky, watching the reaction when others hear it. It's magic!
What is your most significant moment yet?
Rosalie - There are so many - I can't think of anyone in particular - I think once the interview is finished, I'll remember that one!!
Steve - There have been a few amazing moments, but I think the most significant is when Robert Plant called me up and asked me if I'd help him with his harmony singing. I kid you not! I'd met him a few times and he really liked our old band, The Storys, after seeing us playing at (lord) Bob Harris' 60th birthday party. He's such a nice dude. Growing up as a huge fan, I almost had an out of the body experience when we got into the studio for the 'lesson', as I could hear my 15 year old self saying, "how the f**k did you get us here!"
What are your biggest musical influences?
Rosalie - Emmylou Harris (my mum would play her to me before I was born), Bill Monroe, Chris Thile, Maria McKee and Bruce Springsteen.
Steve - I have loads of influences, too many to mention here, but here's a few... I love Plant, Paul Rodgers, Springsteen, Tom Waits, the Finn brothers, Maria McKee, Petty, Ryan Adams, Bryan Adams, Dan Reed, Maria Callas, Lisa Gerrard, Emmylou, Marc Cohn, Ozzy, Dio, Bryn Terfel, Deep Purple, Jane Siberry, Willie Nelson, Bessie Smith, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, Jackson Browne, Don Henley.
What venue/gig do you most want play?
Rosalie - Royal Albert hall / Carnegie hall, Madison square garden
Steve - Hollywood Bowl
What is your best/favourite song you've written?
Rosalie - On this record it would be run back to your life - followed by blue- I love them all!
Steve - The song I'm probably most proud of is the title track of our debut, Unfolding. When we toured with The Storys, a guy used to come and see us a lot with his son. He was a soldier and was unfortunately killed in action. We got the news the day before we were returning to play in his town, and before the show his dad came with a member of his squadron to collect one of our songs to be played at his funeral. It was devastating and humbling to be part of his story, and his unfolding. Rosalie and I while writing the song with Julian Wilson, was inspired to build his story into the song as a small way of honouring him.
What is your favourite album of this year?
Rosalie -The Temperance Movement - White Bear and Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop
Steve - Blackstar, Bowie. An incredible, deep, artistic and magical way to leave earth. Real genius and inspiration.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
Rosalie - Hitting the road, touring this record and spending a lot of time with Steve - sorry Steve!
Steve - I think we will be out and about supporting the release of Unfolding, hopefully playing gigs and festivals all over the place.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Rosalie - Still creating music, touring and baking in my huge kitchen that I'll have in my huge house that I see in my future…
Steve - Hopefully still making music, creating, writing songs and touring planet earth - and maybe beyond!
What is the best thing about Americana - UK?
Rosalie & Steve - It's a fantastic dedicated resource to discover new Americana music, run by - like us - lovers of the genre