What: Delicate Steve
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: Moe's Original BBQ, 3295 S. Broadway, Denver, 303-781-0414
More info: moesdenver.com/south-moes-englewood
If an instrumental track doesn't have a thumping dance beat, a lot of people shy away from it. Not so with Delicate Steve.
There's no struggle to find a melody to grasp, even without lyrics and vocals, because New Jersey's Steve Marion gives his guitar a voice. It's not just that the guitar is at the center of the music, carrying the melody, though that's certainly part of the appeal. The guitar is just as expressive as a human voice -- its wailing, moaning, cooing and whispering; its ooh-ing, ahh-ing and enunciating.
"I never really tried to sing with my voice and I've been playing guitar since I was a kid. And I kind of started by making music by playing the guitar and playing in bands, and recording other people's bands and adding guitar tracks, so I've always been a guitar player and had that mentality," Marion said. "So when I felt inspired to make my own songs, it just never felt like even an option to sing or anything like that. I'm always kind of thinking about guitar because it's gonna be the most comfortable form of expression of music."
In fact, Marion slid so naturally into the style that the Delicate Steve project became known for, that it wasn't until after he'd released two records that he wondered if anyone would get bored. It probably helped that neither he nor his fans were getting bored.
"It's only becoming a thought now because I've done two records where that's the thing. Now it's this formulated idea of what Delicate Steve is," he said. "It didn't start that way. The first record is kind of a big left turn of anything I was really doing or how I was playing guitar or what kind of music I was making. It started out as this creative, fun, playful time and the second record felt the same way."
Just to make sure things stay exciting, the last record, August's Positive Force, was teased with a sort of scavenger hunt in New York City. Before its release, tracks off the album were stationed around Manhattan and Brooklyn, marked with play buttons. Anyone who found them could plug in headphones and listen.
"That was an idea to have something people could write about. At the same time, it was really just a fun idea for people who wanted to just hike around and listen to the record," Marion said. "That was a talk with our manager, actually, who always has a bunch of awesome ideas. [We're] always trying to do something different than what other bands are doing and I guess just because this thing is instrumental. Delicate Steve is a weird project because it's a little outside of the box."
The next record could be different, though. Marion said there's no solid plan or intended direction as of now -- and that includes any singing -- but there's no shortage of inspiration.
"It's hard to say how it's all going to pan out, because there's so many ideas I have," he said. "They're whole albums and there's a song for each idea that could be a whole different project, entirely. At the end of the day, it'll come down to whether they feel like Delicate Steve."
A smaller part of the Delicate Steve story, you may have heard, is that Marion takes very, very long bike rides. So, will he find time for it in Colorado?
"I have my fold up bike with me. We'll see. There's a lot planned for Denver."