Stephen Inglis’s latest offering–his seventh album, Learning You By Heart.
Music has been Stephen’s life. So what has he learned in all his years of living? And what is at the heartbeat of his music?
To begin at the beginning: he was born in Hawai’i, where just by breathing, you can breathe in music.
At four, he played in a piano recital in a concert hall in Honolulu. Until his voice broke, he sang in a boys’ choir, harmonizing his heart out amongst the other little altos [?}.
Then his ]older brother gave him a Pink Floyd album. And from that moment, the guitar was it. Electric, but acoustic too–and Hawaiian slack key, which he spent years learning, from the best.
In his twenties he took off for the west coast, and out of his time in the Bay Area came two albums of singer-songwriter originals, Driftwood and Fringes Of The Highway.
Back in Honolulu, he took a big artistic chance, putting slack key together with rock. It worked. Slacking On Dylan won a Hawai’i Music Award.
His slack key playing had grown to be good enough for him to tour with the traditional masters, and to record with one of the alltime great Hawaiian guitarists and composers, Dennis Kamakahi. Waimaka Helelei won a Hoku Award, the Hawai’i version of the Grammy. The album is on permanent display in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
So we come to Learning You By Heart. Stephen is in singer-songwriter territory again, and all his years of living the music life are here. The freedom of the road. Younger days. Crazy ways. Wrong turns. Moonlit miles. Tides and seasons changing. The speeding train called yesterday, the pool of dreams called tomorrow, the endless book called true love.
This is Stephen, forever learning life by heart, and taking joy in turning it into music–