A Look Back: My Friend Steve – Hope & Wait (Mammoth Records, 1998)

Posted by Greg on May 22, 2018 in Music |

We won’t be shy about it: we absolutely love 90s rock. And of the hundreds of albums we have come to love in the 20+ years since those halcyon days, few mean as much as the underappreciated and unheralded Hope & Wait, from Orlando, FL’s My Friend Steve. Released on the now defunct Mammoth Records, the album featured the ridiculously catchy “Charmed,” a sweetly affecting slice of alt-rock that landed them on the Modern Rock Billboard chart, reaching #39.

The beauty of Hope & Wait though are the songs that never made a dent. Album opener “The Schooling” was a brilliant and expertly written stab at heartland rock that helped garner the band comparisons to Counting Crows. On lovelorn ballads like “All in All” and “Day is Done” frontman Steven Foxbury (nee Burry) yearns for the one that got away in a way that’s as affecting and as enchanting as anything released in 2018. Ditto for the defeated “Always the Way” and the elegaic “Carflips.”

Though he never got the credit he deserved, Foxbury was always an astute lyricist and his songs often read like prose, nowhere was that more apparent than on the folksy “Arnie” and the intimate “Chandeliers,” both of which linger long after the final seconds. Though the album has two underwhelming filler tracks (”Newest Superhero” and “Backwards and Sideways”) the vast majority of the album is quite stirring.

As one might surmise, My Friend Steve disbanded shortly after Hope & Wait. Foxbury relocated to Pittsburgh where he runs an A&R firm and studio. A reunion tour has never panned out and as such My Friend Steve remains to be overlooked, ignored and underappreciated. Foxbury’s love for Orlando remains deep and he even penned a song for one of the town’s cultural ambassadors. For those of us though that still find much to love abotu Hope & Wait, there’s that long pensive thought: Oh, what might have been.

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