Steven Keene: “It Is What It Is” (2020) CD Review

From “Michael Doherty’s Music Log,” February 8, 2020

“Steven Keene is a singer and songwriter who has a talent for storytelling as well as a talent for tapping into the hungers and longings that so many people have but perhaps don’t express. We deal with many of those feelings through drink, and his new album is, among other things, a great drinking album. Titled It Is What It Is, this CD contains all original music written by Steven Keene, songs that deal with lost love and the sometimes less-than-lofty sides of romance. By the way, this release is being referred to as an EP, but it contains thirty-four minutes of music, which qualifies it as an LP. Joining the singer and guitarist on this album are Joseph Chiarolanza on bass, Joseph Napolitano on pedal steel, Matt O’Ree on guitar, Rich Scannella on drums and Arne Wendt on keys, as well as several guests on certain tracks.

The disc opens with “Can’t See It When You’re In It,” which begins with some work on keys. Soon a strong groove is established, a groove that works to quickly pull us in. Steven Keene’s vocals have something of an intimate quality, like he is speaking directly to us, from right next to us…”