It was outside Dean Street Studios that I met Steve Balsamo, for the second time. Only this time, 16 years on, it was Steve crossing the road to meet me. I was expecting him to open the door to the studios, but as Ben, the man with the studio and more importantly, the key to the studio, was running late, (we'll let him off, it's a Saturday morning), Steve and Rosalie sat waiting and drinking coffee in the sun.
Steve gave me a welcoming hug and thanked me for coming out and mentioned that he was pleased that I recognised him now that his hair was short. There is no mistaking Steve Balsamo, long locks or not. He has a calming and captivating presence and I was delighted that I was going to be spending the next few hours in his company.
Steve led me across the road to meet writing and singing partner, Rosalie Deighton. There she was, the lady responsible for cutting off Steve's hair, sat with shades on and a coffee in hand, all very cool & laid back. Although, Rosalie was quick to point out, that her shades were being used for what shades should be used for and protecting her eyes from the sun and not because she was a poser. The other reason, especially in the music industry would be the sign of to much partying the night before, but if this was the case then Rosalie did a pretty good job of hiding that! Ben with the key and studio may have been guilty of it, but he soon rocked up and so we hit the studio.
Balsamo/Deighton first came together in Country Rock band "The Storys". When band member Dai Smith left, Roaslie Deighton, already known to the band from touring with them, stepped in to replace him. Steve jokes "Rosalie stepped in and the band broke up." It's good to see that the pair have such good banter together. "It was all part of the service" Rosalie quips back, It was my ploy to get Steve all by himself". Well, her cunning plan seemed to have worked and they are now both very much singing from the same hymn book.
It's as if it was always in the plans that at this point in their lives, they would would be drawn together to create dreamy, syrupy harmonies and write songs that seem timeless already. It's no surprise then, that their musical influences are shaped in the form of Bruce Springsteen & Kraus. Balsamo sat closely beside Deighton on the leather settee says "Emmy Lou Harries talks about the Rub. When we started singing together we thought, there's something in that, it's very magical, we're gonna see where it go's."
The video accompanying "I don't know why" puts a whole different spin on the song itself. It features Balsamo sat in a room with Deighton, shaving his head. A peculiar thought for a video, but the twist ending puts it all in perspective. I can't help thinking that the significance behind Balsamos hair being shaved off, could only have been done by Deighton. It's a recognition of the past, and a sign of change and new things to come for this duo. Rosalie, innocently looking up at Steve admits "It was one of the most nerve wracking things I've done, but liberating". The thought of being liberated sends Rosalie into a fit of giggles. She tells me that she had always wanted to play the part of Mary, but got cast as a Shepherd with a tea towel on her head instead. Surely the part that she played in this video, surpasses any school nativity.
However, a fond acknowledgement is what's needed here, because one role that Steve Balsamo will never be able to forget is Jesus. So with the latest reality show for finding a new superstar, Steve's critically acclaimed portrayal of Jesus is revisited, yet again, by the media and fans alike. I'm not sure if Steve is such a fan himself of watching these reality shows, however, he tactfully and meaningfully talks of how times within music have changed and had he have been 24 again, maybe he too would have come through this route.However, there is no need for either Balsamo/Deighton to go through any route other than the one they are going down right now. Luckily for us, there is no escaping them either "We are lifers" says Balsamo "We're going to be making music, whether people listen to it, or not. It's within us and it's a part of who we are - we're gonna sing forever."
Balsamo/Deighton end our time together with a beautiful renditon of "love will keep us alive". It's all very off the cuff and so they sit and take a few minutes mulling over the lyrics, guitar capo talking and working out harmonies - Ah, yes, that old "rub"! When they start playing, the hair on my arms stand on end and okay, a few tears may fall from my eyes. Balsamo/Deighton combined together are like the strings to an angels harp or in more appropriate words (and as not to romanticise too much), they are like Nutella washed down with Champagne to Rosalie Deighton!
Balsamo/Deighton - Love will keep us alive.