Hey, I'm Steve. I was born, raised and currently live in Upstate New York. I write songs sometimes. I released my debut full length "Hope Is All We Have" on Barn Burner Records in 2013. I'm well into the writing process for a follow up LP entitled "Selfish or Selfless". I have no plans for extensive touring in the immediate future, but I will be playing shows in my general area from time to time.

If you do follow me, you can hear demos of new material I'm working on, get information on shows I'm playing, get a glimpse of other aspects of my life and see what all of my friends in (more successful and relevant) bands are up to. You can get in touch directly through my ask box or via email at
stevediwhy (at) gmail (dot) com and thanks a lot for taking a second to check out what I'm doing.

Physical copies of my full length can be purchased at http://barnburnerrecords.limitedrun.com/ and the entire record can be streamed and downloaded for free directly below. Thanks.


 

Steve Layman | My Last Cigarette

I’ve got a filter in my fingers and a phone in the other, smoke rising to a thunderhead. Whiskey breath mixing with the damp spring air and hesitation to clear my head. Stammer over everything I’ve said and said to death, leave confessions over voicemail in my head and smoke my last cigarette.

Sober sun suggests my heart and head are in check, I ought to say what I mean to say. Sing a song, write a letter, take a drive down to Kingston or ignore you till you fade away. Maybe a phone call is all it takes, I’m sure it’s what you deserve. While I wait for permission to speak, every lover gets a turn.

If you want to be scared, please be scared by yourself. Fear is not a game for three. Depressing uncertainty has made me your second string, an after thought, a conjuring. Call the man you commit to when you feel cold inside your skull. Set fire to the pages of your heart that I wrote to keep you warm.

I’ll make certain that you know for sure these are the last words you get while I am on the mend.

Played 34 times

New(ish) song. I played this one a few times on tour, but this a track that will be on my next record called. It’s called “Lightning”, and it’s about love and girls and shit not working out in anyone’s favor. If you like what you hear, spread it around with a reblog or whatever. Thanks for listening.

I’ve spent too many nights standing in a field with kite & key
Waiting for lightning to fall like the stars in the sky
Through the black clouds rolling by.
Well, it struck fast and hard. With a kiss on the cheek or your hand
on my heart.
Before I had an instant to forget, I captured that shining moment
In a mason jar.

I keep it by my bedside, it keeps me sleeping at night.
I dream of us and a better life in that fading yellow light.

If I had a nickel for every time someone like you told me “Maybe” or
"We’ll see",
I could make every wishing well from here to Manhattan
Shine like a silver sea.
I told you through a letter that I love you.
You told me through a phone you never saw the words I wrote.
You said “We aren’t the lucky ones who get what they want.
That one night is all there was.”

The jar by my bedside, it keeps me up at night.
It’s just a keepsake that I can’t keep you in that fleeting yellow light.

If you think you’re better off on your own, I’ll leave you that way.
While you light up the sky in the city, hear what I say.
I know better than most the best way to grow is alone.
Sharing your progress with another is the best feeling I’ve ever known.

Dance with the shadows if you want to, remember why you dance at all.

Played 21 times

Here’s a full band recording I did back in March in my Dad’s attic of a song I don’t play often called “Second String”. I’m thinking of re-recording this song and 211 and releasing the two on a 7”, along with a couple other 7”. I have a lot of material written that I want to share with people, but nothing that would belong on another proper EP or LP. Let me know if you’d want to listen to more polished versions of any of these songs.

Second String Acoustic
211 Full Band
211 Acoustic

Reblog if you’re into it. Thanks!

Played 43 times

I had to say goodbye to someone really important to me today. This is what came of it. I’m not doing great…

Now that you can’t have me
 take my clothes
The ones I bought for pennies
and boiled before I wore
I know you like the way they smell and
The big sleeves keep you warm
Now that you can’t have me,
Take my clothes.

Now that you can’t have me
 Take my car
The old one made of rust with doors
That scream every single morning
Despite the cracks and creaks it’ll
Get you going and get you far
Now that you can’t have me
Take my car.

Now that you can’t have me
 Take my hands
The ones I used to write these words while
You slept in my bed
They tried to stop the tears
While you dreamt up a better plan
Now that you can’t have me
 Take my hands

Now that you can’t have me
 Take my heart
I one I have no use for when this
State tears us apart
It was only useful with you around
I think it likes you best
Now that you can’t have me
Take this heart out of my chest.

Take my clothes, my car my hands and my heart
There’s nothing left for me to do with all these broken parts
They might make you complete, they might keep you from the dark
Take my clothes, my car my hands and my heart

Played 41 times

This is a song I wrote a couple weeks ago when I had a really hard time sleeping on my friend’s couch in Albany. 

These full bands recordings from my Dad’s attic space are not meant to sound good, they are more of a form of documentation for me so I don’t lose ideas. I post them because people ask me to. That in mind, don’t leave messages in my askbox about how shitty these DEMO recordings are. I don’t care if you don’t like it. It’s not for you.

"Smalbany"

How can anyone sleep in this goddamned city?
Five hours with my head down, Madison Ave is winning.
Twin taxis piss in anger at the stoplights glistening
Finding peace in a futon is wishful thinking

Too many bitter hearts wish Center Square was Bushwick.
Under lackluster streetlights, Lark Street looks worthless.
All the social unrest is the same if you don’t look much closer,
So cash in on the cheap rent and pay the price of culture.

If these streets become my home, if this grid is where I’ll roam
I’ll find the sidewalks, uproot them, find the dirt so I can grow.

I will cover all my windows with rotten boards
I will find some rusty nails and lock up all my doors
I will set my half-bath on fire every single night
Watch my spirits sink like smoke from the ceiling to the floor

Maybe then I can drown out all of this noise,
Sing along with the commuters every single morning,
Harmonize with the sirens and the car alarms,
Rest my weary head by this river of light.

Until then, I’ll breath slowly, lay still and stiff
Wait for sunlight to bleed through these curtains…

Played 81 times

Here’s a new song I wrote today. It’s a pretty self explanatory piece so I’m just going to write out the lyrics for you if you care to read along.

I should have left the pages of your tattered heart un-turned.
You said from the start “Don’t give all your heart or expect much in return”.
That much was true, but I still gave you all that I could,
It’s my fault for feeling wronged when you did what you said you would.

I’m no stranger to second string,
I get the kiss on the cheek while the other get’s the ring.
I’m no stranger to second string,
I don’t lose sleep hoping that you might miss me.

This summer, plant a garden to cultivate your wealth and worth,
I’ll strain my voice on the highway and pretend the distance won’t hurt.
I just hope you know I would have helped you grow if you let me,
You left in fear of the ending & turned this us into two separate journeys.

I’m no stranger to second string,
I get the kiss on the cheek while the other get’s the ring.
I’m no stranger to second string,
I don’t lose sleep hoping that you might miss me.

I know that I can do better.
I know that you can do better.
I know that we could have been better.
In spite of that, I don’t feel better.

I had two shows crap out in three weeks. So to make it up to those of you who wanted to see me play new material, here’s something. It’s a newer song called “Highway Lines” and it’s essentially about always needing a new destination to get to and seeing the world while missing the most basic human needs of sleeping and warmth that are hard to come by on the road. I feel like this song will be a lot more meaningful once I do more touring and see more places. It has some words too:

"Highway Lines"

The blood red moon is gonna bleed me dry
As the stars watch over from the patchy sky
With the help of the planets and comets combined
They’ll spill my crimson paint on these highway lines

A cup of hot black coffee sitting by my side
A small warm bed is all that’s on my mind
When a rest on the shoulder could end my life
I am stuck in between these highway lines.

The pain in my throat is singing sharp tonight
My hands are shaking and my eyes are dry
My brain’s in a fog, but my heart is alive
As it spills more blood on these highway lines.

They say the engine could burn up at any time.
When I’ve seen it all I will end my drive.
No matter how old you get there is something to find
There will always be blood on these highway lines.
Spread it around if you like it!
Played 81 times

I found a big paintbrush and one drumstick and then tracked a full band version of a sort of new song that I play sometimes. It’s kind of a whole new song now. You should listen to the original demo of this and then listen to the full band version for comparison. Share it with your friends if you’re into it.

(acoustic version)

Played 141 times

This isn’t exactly a new song. Anyone who has seen me play since late July has heard it. I just hadn’t gotten around to recording it. Regardless, here’s my set opener until I write something I’d rather open with. I’m calling it Broken Smile. Let me know what you think of it. If you’re into it, reblog this post so other people can hear it!

There are some nights when I just can’t
Bring myself to smile
There are some nights when I just can’t
Bring myself to cry
But at the end of every day I’ll know every day was mine.

There are some nights when I just can’t
Bring myself to try
There are some nights when I just can’t
Lay down and die
But when I finally, I will not care if all my choices were right

It’s a long walk to the ocean
But my feet haven’t taken one step
I’m not sure where the currents will take me
But I know where the road will end.

There are some nights when I just can’t
Give my heart away
There are some nights when I just can’t
Find the nerve to say
"I don’t know why I bother when you’ll leave before you learn my name."

There are some nights when I just can’t
Waste my time for pay
There are some nights when I just can’t
Find the time to play
I’m not sure why I’m singing when the future screams “These words will be burned.”

It’s a long walk to the ocean
But my feet haven’t taken one step
I’m not sure where the currents will take me
But I know where the road will end. 

At the bottom of sea is where they’ll bury me.
If that’s where I’ll be redeemed, that’s where I want to be. 

Played 121 times

Here’s a new track called “Take You Back”. Let me know what you think of it!

The George Washington Bridge collapsed in your rear-view mirror
Through the radio, I heard your heartstrings come undone.
Misty eyed, mournful drive from thruway to thruway
I tried to find the time to stop as you passed through.

We could’ve gone to Neptune or the B’ville Diner for coffee at 3am.
I would’ve dropped everything for you, my dear friend.
I would’ve said any set of words to lift your heavy head.
Or we could sit in silence, but at least I’d know that you’re not alone.

But I stayed inside as your world grew smaller with every passing measured mile
And I’m sorry.

I know you hate it there, but if I could, I’d take you back to California.
To a simpler time when the future was yours and you were the queen.
To the nights where your eyes would shine in the moonlight.
To the days where your smiles were honest and wide as the sea.

If I saw you, I’d say “Hey darling, don’t beat yourself up
Over temporary things that are out of your control.”
I know you can’t feel it now, but I promise there’s good in where you’re at.
You can tell me that I’m wrong, but I swear this all will pass.

Someday soon, somebody will love you right
Even if you rent out your heart a hundred more nights
When the candles burn low and the flowers have died
The man you’ve been waiting for will be by your side to make you a wife.

I know you hate it there, but if I could, I’d take you back to California.
To a simpler time when the future was yours and you were the queen.
To the nights where your eyes would shine in the moonlight.
To the days where your smiles were honest and wide as the sea.

If I don’t see you again, remember what we said
I’ll keep a space inside my heart if you can keep me as a friend
When this whole thing blows over, you’ll find I was right
There will be someone in your bed to keep you safe through the night.