Celebrating Radio Company Vol 2 – Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles Part 2!

We left off in Part I of our look back at the history of Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles’ friendship and musical collaboration somewhere around 2009. We saw Steve play a few times in between – once at a con in New Jersey, if I’m remembering correctly, where I actually took a picture for a change!

In 2011, Jensen and Steve did a little jam session that was one of the highlights of the Nashville convention. Jensen was still clearly nervous about playing and singing in front of people (but not as nervous as he was for his first jam with Jason Manns). Here are a few of my recollections about that first ‘public’ performance of Steve and Jensen:

Steve shared more backstory to how the two friends ended up playing together, and even doing some recording. Whenever they were both in town they’d get together at Steve’s house and the guitars would come out. Apparently wherever Steve is living, something gets turned into a makeshift studio – when Jensen and Steve lived together, it was the hall closet, wired up and soundproofed with foam, and probably looking very …. Interesting. In Steve’s place before that, it was the garden shed, similarly outfitted but alas, sans air conditioning. Steve would lure friends out to record there and they’d emerge sweat-soaked and bedraggled, asking plaintively, “was that okay?” (And hoping it was so they could come out of the garden shed!)

Photos Lizz Sisson

I remember they played a really haunting version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” full of emotion – if I heard that one now it would be even more emotional, post Supernatural finale. They also played the first song that Jensen had learned to play, “If I Had a Million”, which they actually recorded at one time with Steve on mandolin, but there’s some backstory there so they swear no one will ever hear it.

Steve and Jensen also played “Bad Company,” one of my favorite songs. Jensen said that the crew had asked The Impalas (the cast and crew band) to learn that one because it was so perfect for the show – “I was born, six gun in my hand…”   He should totally sing that again one day.

Stage It

I also remember that Jensen asked the fans to excuse the mistakes. And then didn’t make any.

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Radio Company Vol 2! A Look Back at Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles’ Musical History

Most of my fandom friends and pretty much my entire twitter timeline have been listening to the new Radio Company album on repeat since it dropped last night — shortly after midnight here on the east coast U.S.  (Yes, I ended up staying up far too late doing that same thing).  I love the new CD so much, and it reminded me of not just how much I love Jensen Ackles’ voice and singing, but how much I also love Steve Carlson and the way the two of them harmonize together – and have for a very long time.

So I thought I’d share some chats I’ve had with Steve over the years about his music and making music with Jensen, as we all enjoy their latest collaboration.

I was introduced to Steve’s music way back in 2007, when my friend and Fangasm co-author Kathy and I fell head over heels in love with Supernatural and Dean Winchester, and impulsively flew to Fort Worth Texas to see Jensen Ackles in a community theater production of A Few Good Men. We met and bonded with other fangirls there, and somehow ended up driving around listening to music in someone’s jeep and singing along – to a song called ‘Wasted Jamie’ by Steve Carlson, with Jensen singing backup vocals. I was hooked on Steve’s music from that memorable day, and also on Jensen’s surprising ability to do yet another thing really well – go figure!

Steve used to come to many of the early Creation Supernatural cons, so we often were treated to a Carlson concert as the precursor of the Saturday Night Special. (Jensen never got onstage to sing with him like he did at Asylum with both Steve and Jason Manns, but oh well). My LA friends often went to hear him play at the Hotel Café, and sometimes we joined them, always a little dismayed we lived on the ‘wrong coast’ so we couldn’t be there more often. One of my favorite Steve concerts was in Vancouver, during one of the very first Creation cons there. Back in the day, we often enjoyed the shows alongside Danneel and Jensen, and pretty much every show was amazing. I am SO hoping Radio Co. starts touring because it’s been too long since I’ve been treated to a live Steve performance!

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