Twenty albums and five decades into his musical career, Nashville-based guitarist, songwriter and Grammy Award-winning country music veteran Steve Wariner is making the most of his creative freedom to tour the globe and make music the way he wants.
“I’m in a place now in my career and life where I just kind of do what makes me smile and makes me happy,” Wariner says. “I would never get away with some of the things I record and do on albums now 10 or 15 years ago when I was on major labels.”
Though Wariner is not on the radio as much as he was when he scored No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for tunes in the ’80s and ’90s, he says that he savors being able to write and play a diverse blend of country, bluegrass, soul and pop, all of which are featured on his latest album, 2016’s All Over the Map.
“It seems like people really enjoy what I’m doing,” he says. “And I love the freedom to be the captain of my own ship, so to speak.”
With the ability to record in his home studio, dubbed “Twangra-La,” Wariner compares the process of making All Over the Map to a mad scientist in a laboratory. “I probably get a little more self-indulgent than I should. I get carried away,” he says. “But, it sure is fun.”
Wariner returns to the North Bay for a special solo performance on Sunday, May 20, at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. He’ll also tell stories about his songs and his career. “I like that a lot,” says Wariner. “[Sharing] all of the history as well as playing.”
Steve Wariner, Sunday, May 20, Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; 8pm; $37-$42; 415/388-3850.