The greatest challenge for any band is to create songs that are accessible enough to be instantly appealing, but original enough to be genuinely unique. Stepanian accomplishes this feat with a deft blend of catchy melodies, instrumental virtuosity, and tasty harmonies, all combined with thoughtful and expressive lyrics. Band namesake Eric Stepanian is the group’s primary songwriter, with additional tunes and collaborations contributed by Michael Simon.
But this Boston-based quartet is much more than a songwriting project. From their inception in 2003 to the present day, Stepanian has been a hard-working touring act, bringing their distinctive stage performance and signature sound to club and festival audiences throughout the Northeast and Midwest. A Stepanian performance showcases the bandmembers’ multi-instrumental skills (between the four of them they play a dozen instruments), tight vocals, and energetic onstage persona. It’s an infectious combination that always leaves audiences on their feet and shouting for more.
Stepanian’s progress from the status of local favorites to that of a band poised for national recognition has been rapid and impressive. Their 2003 debut EP, For Lack Of Better Words—produced by Chris Keup (Jason Mraz) and Stewart Myers (Agents Of Good Roots) gained immediate critical acclaim. ABC Family also took notice, and chose the track “These Days” to include in a new sitcom pilot.
Taking advantage of the interest in the band generated by Better Words, Stepanian spent the next two years playing sold-out shows in Boston, as well as showcases at the NACA Northeast Conference and NACA Mid-Atlantic Festival. These performances led to even greater exposure for the group as openers for such national acts as Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and Rusted Root.
February of 2005 saw the release of Stepanian’s first full-length CD, Autumn She Leaves, produced and engineered by Dave Chalfant (The Neilds, Erin McKeown). Taking full advantage of the band’s strong writing, vocal, and instrumental skills, the disc was warmly received by their burgeoning fan base. Its broad appeal led to its inclusion on Awarestore.com’s Earsnacks Vol. 6 compilation.
Not a band to rest on their laurels, in 2006 Stepanian again collaborated with Dave Chalfant to produce their Wait Out The Rain EP. The five tracks on the disc displayed impressive musical and lyrical growth, demonstrating the band’s ability to offer songs that were as well-crafted and meaningful as they were catchy and listenable. Boston’s radio station 92.5 chose the track “Beautiful Disguise” for airplay in their “Homegrown Artist” series.
From 2006 through 2007 the band was back on the road, honing their songs and their live show to an even keener edge. A successful residency at Boston’s Paradise club in 2007 was followed by a stellar appearance at the 40th Annual Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the band ignited such an enthusiastic response from the crowd that they were held over for a second set. Other noteworthy appearances include spots on Comcast’s Backstage With Barry Nolan and Boston’s Fox 25 Morning News.
Fast-forward to April of 2008, and the release of the full-length version of Wait Out The Rain. Along with such well-received tracks as “Straight Up,” “Everything,” and “Beautiful Disguise” from the original EP, the new disc adds half a dozen new and exciting tunes that feature the quintessential Stepanian character: intelligent lyrics, well-crafted melodies, terrific vocals, unrivaled musicianship, and strong production.
With five years of enthusiastically received live performances under their belt, and an enviable body of recorded work to their credit, Stepanian can hardly be called an “up and coming” band. They’ve already come up. They’re here now—an important group poised and prepared for even bigger things.