Veteran South African rocker Steve Louw announces his sophomore solo release Thunder and Rain, available November 11, 2022 through BFD / The Orchard, with the release of the first single and title track today. The album was produced by Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Robert Cray Band, the Black Crowes) and features contributions from guitar wizards Joe Bonamassa, and Doug Lancio.
Thunder and Rain follows hot on the heels of Headlight Dreams the 2021 album that found Steve Louw returning to active duty after a thirteen-year absence. After this prolonged period away from the spotlight, Louw discovered an audience who was eager to hear new music from the singer/songwriter: Headlight Dreams received strong reviews and earned a nomination for Best Rock Album from the South African Music Awards in 2022.
On the album's opening title track, “Thunder and Rain,” it's possible to hear and feel bad weather creep in over the horizon. “The world is navigating through a fraught time, economically and politically,” explains Louw. “The geography of where I was coming from crept into the music; fire, wind and rain.” Those elements also creep into the video created by Jacqui van Staden.
While it’s an ominous beginning to the album, waiting for light to emerge after darkness is a thematic undercurrent on Thunder and Rain, a record where Louw balances these opposing impulses with strength and compassion. He may open the record with a sense of foreboding—a feeling that resonates strongly in 2022, as the world picks up the pieces left after a global pandemic—yet he doesn’t dwell in the darkness.
“It’s about love,” Louw explains of the album, “we’re born with love, we’ll leave with love, and it heals along the way.”
Louw celebrates the restorative, nourishing love on “Mother, Don’t Go,” an insightful, insistent tune graced by guitar wizard Joe Banamassa, who brings out the song’s incandescent spirit as he intertwines his playing with that of Doug Lancio, a guitarist who has just entered Louw’s orbit. The album winds its way through "The Road Fades from Sight," a ballad built upon the soul-sustaining power of longtime love, then reaches the finish line with “I’m Coming Home,” an invigorating conclusion that leaves no doubt there’s room for optimism in these troubled times. By finding space for this full range of emotion, Thunder and Rain operates on a refreshingly human scale, emphasizing deep emotions and interpersonal interactions—it's music that's meant to be felt as much as heard.
ABOUT STEVE LOUW: South African musician Steve Louw’s career began with his first band All Night Radio who released two records including 1986's The Killing Floor, the album where he first collaborated with Kevin Shirley. Louw came to stardom as the leader of Big Sky, a group who put out their first album, Waiting for the Dawn, in 1990. During their time together, Big Sky released five albums, a discography highlighted by 1995's acclaimed Horizon. The band earned accolades from the industry, including winning the FNB Music Award for Best SA Rock Act in 1996. At the end of their run as a band, Big Sky was the opening act for Rodriguez on his valedictory tour of South Africa, a journey captured in the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. The tour raised Louw's international profile, leading to his collaboration with Queen's Brian May and Eurythmics' Dave Stewart on "Amandla," a song on 2003's Nelson Mandela-inspired AIDS awareness project 46664.
Following the release of Big Sky’s Trancas Canyon in 2008, Louw retreated from the spotlight. He broke his silence with his solo debut Headlight Dreams, a rousing comeback delivered in 2021. Thunder and Rain, his sophomore release, will be available November 11, 2022.