With an inventive style that seems to navigate the sounds of 1970s prog rock, the African-influenced pop of bands like Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective's dense experimentations, and cheerful video game music, Delicate Steve is the brainchild of New Jersey-based guitarist/songwriter Steve Marion.
His instrumental rock often features layers of percussion, keyboards, and electronic effects tied together with breezy slide guitar. Combining experimental music and melodic pop from the beginning with his debut album Wondervisions in 2011, Delicate Steve released music on Luaka Bop and Anti- throughout the decade. In the meantime, Marion became an in-demand studio musician, appearing on albums by Paul Simon, Yeasayer, and Sondre Lerche, among others.
Having previously recorded friends' bands, Marion realized one day that he had enough gear lying around his home studio to record an album of his own and decided to go for it. Using the alias Delicate Steve, Marion released his first album, Wondervisions, in 2011 on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. In 2012, he returned with his sophomore Delicate Steve full-length, Positive Force, also on Luaka Bop. A year later, he partnered with guitarist Christian Peslak for Beyond the Drone under the moniker Saint Rich.
As word of Marion's work spread and gained fans among colleagues, he was invited to appear on albums by artists such as Yeasayer, Sondre Lerche, and People Get Ready. He recorded 2015's Live in Las Vegas while on tour in support of Tame Impala in late 2014. In 2016, in addition to playing guitar on releases by Lewis Del Mar, Your Friend, and, again, Yeasayer, he provided slide guitar for Paul Simon's critically acclaimed Stranger to Stranger LP. Marion's third studio album, the playful This Is Steve, followed in early 2017 with all its earworms again supplied by the guitar. It marked his debut on Epitaph's Anti- imprint. The label also issued his Cowboy Stories EP later the same year. Marion played multiple types of guitar on Amen Dunes' 2018 release Freedom before coming back with The Christmas Album that October. Still with Anti-, Delicate Steve's fifth studio long-player, Till I Burn Up, followed in March 2019. ~ Marcy Donelson & Gregory Heaney, Rovi