The STEAM quartet takes its name and inspiration from Chicago native (by way of Doolin, County Clare) John Williams’ 2001 ground-breaking album of the same name. A dynamic blend of traditional Irish and Celtic melodies with more modern rhythmic ideas and chord structures, this album explored the themes passed down to him from a family deeply rooted in Irish traditional music.
STEAM carries this forward even further by incorporating musicians with backgrounds in the classical and jazz genres. Unpretentious and accessible, their deceptively “simple” music is both emotionally evocative and engaging. Re-imagined arrangements of exuberant jigs and reels as well as quiet, soulful melodies from the West coast of Ireland and beyond create a unique expression of the ever-evolving folk music tradition.
The STEAM quartet features John Williams, Katie Grennan, Steve Morrow, and Jeff Lindblade.
Katie Grennan’s traditional fiddle playing carries the articulation of a gifted classical musician tempered by the soul of an Irish dancer. Her wide ranging experience as an international touring performer in both live stage productions and television have given her a unique platform as an ambassador for the music of her heart.
Steve Morrow brings genre bending, multi-instrumental experience to the bodhrán (Irish drum) as he blends modern and traditional rhythms into the heartbeat and backbone of his music. He has performed at national festivals and events with STEAM, BackWest, and áthas, and is a regular in the rich Chicago Irish session scene.
Jeff Lindblade is a multi-instrumental performer who is passionate about making Irish traditional music accessible to listeners with modern musical sensibilities. In addition to being a welcomed player at local music sessions, he has performed across the US and internationally with several Irish stage and dance productions.
John Williams is a third generation concertina and button accordion player from both sides of the family. There was no shortage of traditional music around the house as he was growing up. He began playing in sessions around Chicago encouraged by such musical residents as the late Johnny McGreevy, flutists Seamus Cooley and Kevin Henry and uilleann piper Joe Shannon.
In 1989, John was awarded the Senior All-Ireland championship for concertina making him the first American ever to win that honor.
As a founding member of the groundbreaking band Solas Williams received wider recognition playing to sold out audiences internationally and earning two NAIRD (later called AFIM) awards and Grammy nominations for the ensemble’s 1996 and 1997 releases Solas and Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers.