The Burning Ember project marks the real beginning of Signpost Music. I registered the name back in 1989 and was hobbling along as best as I could, but the business/ministry was not going to last very long with me at the helm. I still owed money from the Deep recording, and was barely making enough from concerts to support my family – but once again, I had a handful of songs that I felt deserved to be recorded.
Dave Zeglinski, of Mid-Ocean Recording Studios in Winnipeg, was an old friend who engineered my first two albums at his studio. I loved Dave’s unique ability to record acoustic instruments and admired his pioneering spirit as well. Late one night I was lamenting my poor business skills and what seemed like an insurmountable lack of funds for recording a new project. At that time in his life, Dave was weary of the commercial recording business and suggested that he could finance the recording and we could be partners in the project. I jumped at the offer and we recorded Burning Ember. Shortly after Burning Ember came out, Dave started showing up to concerts to do sound, manage the sales and all the other details I never seemed to get around to. His attention to detail immediately proved to increase revenues until he finally suggested to me that we go in together on the whole business of my music. He would bring his resources to the table and I mine.
It took me a little while to get used to the idea of loosening my grip on my music, but it was clearly a gift of God that someone of his caliber and unique set of skills would be passionate about my music enough to risk his own career. We soon became business partners in Signpost Music and the rest is history.
A note about the title track and cover design: Burning Ember is a song that talks about how two things can interpenetrate one another without loss of distinction – as when an iron penetrates a fire, the energies of the fire (heat, light) penetrate the iron. The formal word for this kind of relationship is perechorisis and is used to describe the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Jesus himself said that he was in the Father and the Father was in him. It is also the word that describes our relationship with Christ; mutual indwelling.
When Rob Peters was designing the cover of Burning Ember, he picked up on this theme with a diptych showing a hot desert in a cool blue colour, and a cool body of water with a hot red colour. The title and my name form a cross which penetrates both, and with a reversal of colours again, depicts the mutual indwelling. Aside: mixing the song Never Mind (on Burning Ember) is still my favourite studio memory. It was the first time I really felt we had done something great.
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer / Cross Rythms Magazine UK / April 1, 1998 – Steve’s third album “Burning Ember”, released in 1994 contains within it the huge turntable hit for UCB Europe – his version of “Psalm 40″ which is a magnificent song of worship. More accomplished and better produced than its predecessor reviewed here. Steve’s singing and songwriting demonstrated that he’s rooted in the ’70s tradition of singer/songwriters like Billy Joel and Elton John but with a Canadian twist in the arrangements and a touch of jazz. Consequently a brilliant song like “Never Mind” with its pipe banging rhythm is augmented by some tasteful accordion. Overall it’s his tasty guitar playing that underpins much of what is happening here, no more so than on “House of Peace” which has gentle worship and some understated cello. The whimsical instrumental “She’s In Love with Me” is again focused on Steve’s guitar, this time generating a dream-like quality. “I Will Not Be Shaken” is a shuffle and for the first time I start thinking of Paul Simon when I hear Steve sing. The title song is magnificent taking the common metaphor of the love of God burning inside us but somehow transcending the commonplace image and creating a stunning song. Steve has the ability to melt together melodies of beauty with lyrics of power that touch you deep inside which goes some way to explain why when working as an independent artist he has managed to sell over 70.000 copies of his albums. No mean feat! Listen for yourself “and discover how!
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