With a growing mutual respect for each other's talents and abilities, four musicians decided to collaborate on a project that would utilize their varying influences. In doing so, they've created a sound that is best described as vocally fueled Rock with New Country stylings. 4 Steps Closer was grown and cultivated on Florida's East Coast. Fronting the band is Jeannie Blatus, a very powerful vocalist/songwriter and accomplished guitarist. Her versatile voice has been compared to a wide range of artists such as Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Janice Joplin and Alanis Morrisette. Her organic songs are laden with soulful lyrics and delivered with a raw honesty. Sheldon Shrum, singer/songwriter and bassist adds a smooth southern feeling to their sound. His lyrics are truthful and heartfelt. His chameleon voice varies anywhere from thunderous to warm and smooth. With his natural ability for rhythm and harmonization, he blends beautifully with Jeannie's voice giving the band a powerful vocal edge. Leo Burke adds another key element to the 4 Steps Closer sound with his dynamic guitar work and picturesque lyrics. His poignant playing tastefully weaves throughout the songs. His leads are melodic and highly complimentative to the bands vocals. Heavily influenced by guitarist such as Jeff Beck and Steve Morse, his performance drenches the band in Rock. His guitar sang with Sheldon for several years when they shared the stage as former band mates in a Central Florida group called Smoking Man. John Aughinbaugh, the drummer of 4 Steps Closer, holds the entire groove together with his steady and direct style of playing. With his love of Jazz and drummers like Carter Beauford, he is the band's human metronome. John gels comfortably with Jeannie's guitar work. They too shared several years of playing together in another popular Central Florida band called Elegant Mess. Out of mutual admiration and a growing friendship, the four musicians began creating together and inevitably formed the band now known as 4 Steps Closer. They have currently finished recording and co-producing their first full length CD entitled, 'Soon...' with sound engineer/producer Jon Huether at Biorhythm Studios, Inc. Throughout the project there is a running theme of experience, survival and learning to revel in the broad spectrum of emotions that life can bring. From suffering through the pain and feeling of loss in failed love to relishing each delicious moment of discovery and self renewal. Music from their CD can be heard on Orlando based radio station 104.1 fm Real Radio. 'Soon...' received rave reviews in Brevard Live Magazine's October and December 2003 issues. As quoted by writer Chris Long, 'They are all awesome players and their songs are well written and performed.' He also stated, '...this record also sounds as 'major label' as anything I've ever received.' Regarding the song 'May Day' Chris says, '...possesses all the charm and freshness of early alternative radio' The CD came in at number three in the magazines top ten pick's of 2003 stating that 4 Steps Closer 'posses the classic feeling of acts like Fleetwood Mac and Bonnie Raitt while also maintaining a new millennium edge'.
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