Peter Stein: Posthumous album completed by artist’s children, Howling Bells siblings
Posthumously-released album completed by artist’s children, Howling Bells siblings
‘There Is A Light’, the remarkable, posthumously released album recorded by Australian singer songwriter, Peter Stein will be available on 19 May 2023 on digital formats and strictly limited edition CD and Vinyl through Vacancy Records. ‘There Is A Light’ comes with an equally remarkable story, The blueprint for these eleven songs was recorded in just two days. Peter’s two children, Juanita Stein and Joel Stein of Howling Bells completed and mastered the album at their father’s request.
Just a few months before his tragic and unexpected demise, Peter marched into Brighton Electric Studios in his newly adopted home city, where he revealed how quickly he wanted to record the entire album. Any dismay he was met with was swiftly dismissed with “Don’t worry mate, I’ll get it done”.
Growing up in a sparse and dusty 1950s Perth, Australia, Peter Stein caught the music bug early; he found himself electrified upon hearing The Beatles. Things were never the same. He started bands and performed in whatever backwater pub or dive bar he could manage. One of these musical incarnations, The Cahoots, landed the support slot for Roy Orbison. He found himself backstage with Bob Dylan, who was taken with a song he had written called ‘My People’. “Did you really write this?” were the infamous words uttered from folk music’s high priest. He won song writing awards and penned tunes for other successful artists. The Blind Boys of Alabama covered his song, ‘Nothing in This World Without a Heart’, on their album ‘Holdin’ On’.
Recording this album was something he perhaps, prophetically, sensed had to be achieved. It had been more than 10 years since his last. Call it a deep knowing. As Juanita and Joel say, “There was always something rather mystical about our father. Like he had some kind of portal to another world. His music was no different. Drawing from a life of spiritually sailing from shore to shore. Port to port. And quite literally city to city. Perth to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to London and finally, London to Brighton. Always restless, forever yearning. The songs on ‘There Is A Light’ point to a life of all these experiences, musings and pondering.”
“After dad got ill, we rallied around him, providing whatever emotional strength and optimism we could. He was quite consumed with how to complete his album, he gave us specific instructions on how to mix his record. He told us he only wanted engineer Alex Gordon, who he recorded the album with, to mix the album. He only wanted myself and Joel to lay down backing vocals and guitar. He only wanted Jimi Wheelright, to lay down the bass.”
“The album title ‘There Is A Light’, encapsulates our father well. It points to his eternal optimism, deep curiosity and faith, which deeply informed who he was and his songwriting. This is no more present than on tracks, ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’ and ‘There Is A Light in Israel’. But it’s on the song ‘I’ll Be Waiting’, you really get the sense that he’s hinting at another time and another place far beyond this one, where I’ve no doubt he will be waiting, with a knowing smile and a well worn hat, strumming on that guitar”.