For his 20th studio album, four-time Grammy Award winner Steve Wariner knew he had to do something really special. When All Over The Map began coming together, it became clear just what that would be.
The 12-track album evolved into a remarkable tribute to the Grand Ole Opry member’s influences, both living and deceased, in addition to a celebration of his lineage. While packed with acclaimed guest musicians, the set — to be released Oct. 28 on SelecTone Records — artfully showcases Wariner’s own musical talents. In addition to producing the album, he plays guitar, upright bass, drums and both pedal and lap steel, as well as singing on seven of the songs. (The other five are classic instrumentals.) Wariner also penned 10 of the tracks.
A touching tribute to late mentor Chet Atkins, titled “CGP,” takes its name from the coveted title Atkins bestowed on Wariner: Certified Guitar Player. On the track, Wariner enlisted the talents of the only two other living musicians to have earned the same title from Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel and John Knowles. The album also includes “When I Still Mattered To You,” a song Wariner wrote with Merle Haggard on a cruise ship in 1996 but had never previously recorded.
Close friend Ricky Skaggs, who Wariner won his first GRAMMY with in 1992, is featured playing mandolin on “Down Sawmill Road.” Other celebrated musicians featured on the album include: Musicians’ Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Duane Eddy (“Nashville Spy-Line”), GRAMMY Award winner Eric Johnson (“Meanwhile Back In Austin”), Greg Martin of The Kentucky Headhunters (“Way It Goes”) and Jack Pearson (“Drop Top”).
But it’s Wariner’s own family that provides the bulk of the inspiration for the album, which was 20 months in the making. Throughout the creation of the album, Steve relied heavily on his son Ross, who lives in New York, for advice and consultation on the technical production aspects of the album. He wrote the Western swing tune “Mr. Roy” as a tribute to his musician father, and “Down Sawmill Road” is named for the Kentucky road where his mother grew up. His GRAMMY-nominated son Ryan Wariner wrote and plays on the track “The Last Word.” Wariner reached back deep into his rich family history for the album’s closing instrumental track, “Augustine’s Dream,” inspired by his maternal four-times great grandfather who served in the Revolutionary War.
“Getting to play and record with these wonderfully creative people means the world to me. I am grateful to all! Some I’ve collaborated with before, others..well, it’s pure bucket list for me! This project is the perfect example of what keeps me going…what keeps me excited,” notes Wariner. “Traveling into territory I’ve never been to before. And there’s lots of that here on this album. It’s hard to describe the joy I feel making music with my sons…and family for that matter. Now I know how my father used to feel. I am so very proud of my musical roots and heritage. ”
In his storied career, Wariner has achieved 14 No. 1 songs and more than 30 Top 10 hits, including such classics as “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” “Life’s Highway,” “The Weekend,” “I’m Already Taken,” “I Got Dreams,” “Small Town Girl,” “Two Teardrops,” “Some Fools Never Learn,” “Lynda” and more. An award-winning songwriter, Wariner has also composed hit songs for Clint Black (“Nothin’ But the Taillights”), Garth Brooks (“Longneck Bottle”), Bryan White (“One Small Miracle”) and Keith Urban (“Where the Blacktop Ends”), as well as artists such as Country Music Hall of Fame members Alabama, Kenny Rogers, The Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty and Don Williams; pop music icon Peter Tork (of The Monkees); R&B singer Ruben Studdard; bluegrass music’s Del McCoury Band and many more. Wariner is a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. For more information, visit www.SteveWariner.com.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.