Patrick Ferrucci, New Haven Register Review, 25 January 2007
In 2007 alone, songwriter Steven Mednick released two full-length records, both of which had a few stellar moments on them. And now we have "Ambling toward the Unknown," a 13-song record that finds Mednick writing more rock songs than before. There's a clear Stones-like swagger on some tracks and obvious Dylan nods on others, but this is the record that sees Mednick go beyond the influences and become a more original songwriter.
Personally, the piano driven "St. Lucia Morning" has a really timeless feel, with Mednick's smoky voice straining, but sounding great while doing it. But while "St. Lucia" is the disc's best song, it's certainly not the only good one. "Rules of Order" also stands out as an engaging acoustic-guitar dirge...If "Ambling" is any indication, here's hoping we have another Mednick disc soon.
"St. Lucia Morning" gets air time on Landslide 105.7, The Netherlands. "Howard's Run" and "Rules of Order" are in the rotation on Mojo Dreams a Roots/Americana preogram on Radio ZRO 106.2 FM Belgium.
"Ambling" reviewed on www.rootstime.be
Soundwaves Magazine, January 2008 Review by Mark Gould *****
It is indeed gratifying when any musical artist has both the talent and the ambition not to stand on his albeit well-earned laurels, not to fall into the trap of repeating musically what has worked well in the past, but instead takes the creative leap to make even better music than he has before.
Such is the task eminently and expertly fulfilled by Connecticut musician/songwriter Steve Mednick on “Ambling,” his third release in what, judging by its growth and spirit, reveals the promise of what is going to be a long and interesting career.
Mednick had a ways to go to top the eclectic fortitude of both his first full-length release, “Bucket of Steam,” and the follow-up EP, “Dark Ages Reprise,” two stark, iconoclastic and powerful releases in their own regard. On both, Mednick brought his musical references to bear, and managed to sound like all of them, and, remarkably, none of them, at the same time. Stepping away from what works and pushing the envelope to something new, yet still, at the same time, making a logical musical progression from earlier work is a daunting task to bear, and it takes a strong, positive, confident artist like Mednick to make it work, as he does here.
Now, with “Ambling,” he has truly found his own voice, and what a splendid journey it is. For a listener, the real strength of Mednick’s songs and singing is that they are equal parts intelligent and far above board, all but requiring full attention. This is not your teenager’s Ipod background music. Yet, while the music can be, at times, light and fun, Mednick’s genius is in the details, be it the self-described twists and turns of “Wherever Paths Lead,” the earnestness and standing true and tall of “Words,” the ethereal righteousness of “Prelude to The Fall/Jacksonsville,” or the sparkling simplicity, yet depth of “A Lost Child,” the latter two songs which may be the finest of the many great songs Mednick has written.
You want a narrow, shallow repetition ringing with imitation? You better look somewhere else. You want the mature growth of an artist comfortable in his own voice and song? Then, grab this CD and listen to Steve Mednick.
New Haven Advocate Review by Evan Brown - December 27, 2007
Steve Mednick - lawyer, activist and former New Haven alderman - formed a band at the age of 50 and has released three albums. A this rate, he could hit it big by no later than 60. His superior lyricism finds a focus in modern American politics, but can be held back by a ho-hum generic quality to the protests. Despite being too derivative of Dylan, Knopfler, Petty and Springsteen, this is an entirely listenable album, with one great song: "A Lost Child," the haunting tale of a Parisian girl, captured in doleful piano and sotly-delivered Leonard Cohen-ish insistence.
Comments from a Fan:
"State Road 55" - love it!! The image of being stuck on a road, alone, wondering if there's even a way to get off, the feelings of vulnerability--being exposed with nowhere to hide, the couple in the next car laughing at you; the way you start questioning yourself, wondering if you missed the exit or why you can't look at a map...sounds like life, alright. Nice job!
"A Lost Child." The music is really beautiful and expressive. And the story is so touching and sad. I guess it's human nature to doubt things that can't be explained, examined, dissected. I think many people find it hard to get beyond those scientific, hard-wired impulses and reach that quiet place where they can realize that beauty, art, and truth do not need to be explained or exploited, but only received--like a quiet beautiful gift from the universe.
"Words." Very humbling. Sometimes language just isn't enough. Or rather, it's too much. And as we foolishly apply more words and more words, the meaning just gets more and more diminished. Sigh. Yet another human tool we rely on too much.
"Silent Surge." The music is very sensual and emotive. The lyrics have a simple, sincere quality--like the quiet musings of someone newly in love. Definitely just the right touch of words. It's very romantic and sweet.
INFORMATION ABOUT STEVE MEDNICK
Type of instruments I play: Martin Acoustic Guitars (6 and 12 string); Stratocaster; Ric 12; Limitless supply of Lee Oskar and Hohner Harps; Roland Keyboard; and assorted percussion toys. Music critic Mark Gould said that I sound “…at times like a cross between the best of Mark Knopfler and Warren Zevon, with a dash of Bruce Springsteen tossed in, for good measure”. If I did I might give up the day job…thank you, Mark. All I try to do is serve the song.
Type of instruments I wish I played: Hammond B-3 played by Steve Winwood (as if that would make a difference); and the fingers and soul of Jimi Hendrix (and that would make a difference).
The first album or single I ever bought with my own money: I would like to say it was “Bob Dylan” or “With the Beatles”…but it probably was Chubby Checker (“The Twist”), Neil Sedaka (“I Live Right Next Door to an Angel”) or the Four Seasons (“Cherie”).
First concert I ever went to: Larry Rifkin (B.O.O.M. drummer) and I went to see the Four Seasons and Jimmy Soul at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury in 1964.
Best show I saw at the New Haven Coliseum: Rolling Thunder Revue.
CDs I'm currently listening to: Leon Helm, “Dirt Farmer”; Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, “Raising Sand” Neil Young, “Chrome Dreams II”; Richard Thompson, “Sweet Warrior”; Robert Earl Keen, “Live at the Ryman: ‘The Greatest Show Ever Been Gave’”; Frank Carillo & the Bandoleros, “Someday”; Andy Bey, “Ain’t Necessarily So”; Marc Cohn, “Join the Parade”; and, demos from "Sunset At the North Pole” (homework, my next CD).
Music I listen to when cleaning the bathroom: The “Mr. Clean” theme song somehow does it for me.
Album (or song) that changed my life: I’d like to say “The Times They Are “a Changin’” or “Blowing in the Wind” but “She Loves You” was the beginning of a new world for me and almost anyone who came of age during the ‘60s.
Inspiration to start playing: The Beatles, Dylan, The Kinks inspired Larry and me to form our band “The Avengers” in the 7th grade in 1965 (although I think Larry was actually inspired by the Dave Clark 5).
Game I always win: Trivial Pursuit ‘60s Rock Version.
Game I always lose: Scrabble when playing against my wife.
TV shows that suck me in: Deadwood, Letterman, Charley Rose.
What I'm reading: Anne Enright, “The Gathering”; Walter Mosley, “Blonde Faith”; “The Letters of Arthur Schlessinger”
Some of my favorite web sites: democracynow.org; crooksandliars.com; move on.org; guacfund.ord (Guacamole Fund); landyvision.com; newhavenindependent.org; folkscene.com; and musicbenefits.com.
If I could join another local band for a day it would be: Steel Rodeo, Eddie Seville is a great rock ‘n roll soul and that band kicks.
A few of the most memorable local music shows I’ve seen (and/or played) over the years: Dylan at the New Haven Arena in 1965 and Toad’s Place in 1990; James Taylor and Stephen Stills at Toad’s Place; CSN&Y, Freedom of Speech Tour, 2006; Richard Thompson at Edgerton Park in 2005; Steve Winwood, Palace Theater in Waterbury, 2005.
What I do when I’m not playing/writing songs: Practicing law.