Fascination Nation (Album) – Michael Stegner

Year Released: 2012
Musical Category: Songwriting
Available online: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon

Click Track Name for Live Versions, Backstory, Personnel and Lyrics:

Genre: Country/Songwriter/Rock

Release Date: 2012

© 2011 -CMA Records (852587003000)

Michael Stegner‘s debut songwriter album, Fascination Nation, combines cultural influences of his rural Kentucky upbringing with his musical influences of Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and Randy Newman.

Produced by Paul Kimble, Robin Holcomb and Michael Stegner

Michael Stegner: Voices & Piano
Forrest Giberson: Bass
Andy Sells: Drums
Colin Higgins: Guitar
Dan Tyack: Pedal Steel
Joe Doria: Hammond B3
Mark Fung: Percussion
Hans Teuber: Saxes, Flutes and Clarinets
Nelson Bell: Trombone
Paul Kimble: Voices, Guitar and Tamborine

Paul Kimble & Rick Ledoux: Engineers
Dave Miner & Justin Davis: Assistant Engineer
Recorded at London Bridge (Seattle, WA)
Mixed by Paul Kimble
Mastered by Mike Babcock (Los Angeles, CA)
Cover Design by Claire Davis

Press Quotes About Fascination Nation

Here’s a voice you want to tell people about, knowing all too well (and rather enjoying the fact) that some of those people will wonder what the heck you’ve been smoking.” Liam Wilkinson – Northern Sky (UK)“Michael Stegner is a Story Teller, pulling no punches… He’s unique and definitely outside the expected formula box. This Kentucky lad takes his own path and in today’s often identical mass marketing offerings, that’s no bad thing.” Stella C – Country Routes Magazine (UK)

This is a music of character, of originality and singularity in a marketplace of ever dwindling difference.” Aaron Ducat, NWMainstage.com

Fascination Nation is an extraordinary debut, and I’m already looking forward to whatever Michael Stegner and the band have planned for the future!” Van Ramsey, Pull The String Radio Show on KSER FM

Carefully constructed and expertly recorded, the debut album from this strange bird brings tears, shakes asses, and takes a stab at assholes who deserve it.” The Gartland Ave Plainsman

It’s a well performed and well recorded affair with Stegner’s rich semi spoken vocals laid over styles ranging from country to blues and mainstream.” Get Ready to Rock – Pete Whalley

The Story Behind Fascination Nation
by Michael Stegner

This recording feels like a musical homecoming for me. People have been very curious about this project since it is such a drastic departure from what I have done over the past 12 years. After playing keyboards and composing for so long, I had almost forgotten how passionate I once was about telling stories and singing songs.

In 2009, I decided to take some piano lessons with one of my local musical heroes, Robin Holcomb. From these lessons, a group of songs began to emerge. I hadn’t sung in years and was very self-conscious about lyric writing and singing. Robin held me to high standards while building up my confidence to sing and write again. After a few months went by, we realized there was enough material for a recording.

While the lessons with Robin were evolving, Andy Sells (drums) and I were playing a weekly gig at the Park Pub two blocks from where we lived. We would try out the new songs, and I began singing. Andy was so enthusiastic and supportive of my singing, writing and lyrics; I felt inspired to continue.

In January of 2010, we were set to record the 14 songs that would become the record. We booked a session at London Bridge Studio and were hoping to get everything done in two days. At the last minute, I called Paul Kimble to help run the session. I had heard through friends that he knew his way around a studio. Paul had no idea what we were recording until the band played a few songs. Colin Higgins played guitar beautifully and Forrest Giberson, who I have now played music with for 18 years, played the basses. Over the two day session, we tracked the quartet and lead vocals for the record.

This marked the passing of the baton so to speak from Robin’s caring hands to Paul’s. I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with two people who cared so much about a project. It was inspiring and humbling.

Paul began editing the tracks we had recorded. I realized that Paul had a much bigger concept of what it meant to make a recording than I did. I always wanted to have a great recording. Paul wanted it to be a great record. And so the process of converting those raw studio performances took months of intense work directed by Paul.

I enlisted some of my favorite players and people in Seattle to add layers to the songs. Joe Doria played the B3 organ, Dan Tyack played pedal steel, Hans Teuber played saxes, clarinets and flutes, Nelson Bell played trombone, Mark Fung played percussion, Zach Stewart and Paul played guitar, I played parts for a kazoo choir, and Paul and I added layers of background vocals to several songs.

All the layers were painstakingly, beautifully and masterfully mixed by Paul. Mike Babcock mastered the final mix.

The photos on the front of the album and the CD come from the tractor salvage in Kansas my grandparents started and my uncle now owns and operates. Claire Davis helped convert those images into a beautiful CD cover.

And after all that, a new album has emerged – Fascination Nation.