Chicago singer/songwriter/pianist Steve Slagg has been recording and releasing music as Youngest Son since 2011. Whether performing solo or with his band—drummer Lee Ketch (Mooner), cellist Cathy Kuna (Sons of the Never Wrong), drummer Matt Tanaka and multi-instrumentalist Allison Van Liere—Youngest Son’s albums and live sets range from the frenetic and confrontational to the sparse and vulnerable, sometimes in the span of a single song.
Taken together, Youngest Son’s most recent album All Saints’ Day (2012) and its companion EP All Souls’ Day (2014) form an intensely personal song cycle about loss, memory and prayer. Presented on the Youngest Son website alongside personal essays, bits of liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer, and original visual artwork by Van Liere and others, these two records describe a season of what Slagg calls “the weird poetry of loss”. Youngest Son’s demo reel, Pigshit & Glowing (2011), is full of piano-and-voice vignettes about the Catholic church, obsessive sexuality, and an extinct volcano in Idaho. In 2012 Youngest Son appeared alongside Kimya Dawson and Andrew Jackson Jihad on the Mountain Goats tribute album Tallahassee Turns Ten.
Recently featured in an up-and-coming songwriter showcase at Over the Rhine’s Nowhere Else Festival, Youngest Son is working on a follow-up album and performing an ever-growing set of new material in Chicago and elsewhere.
“As well as adding to the indie hymnal, Youngest Son is adding to the death-haunted literature of friendship.” Eve Tushnet, The American Conservative
“He’s building… [a] church to raw sentiment.“ Matthew Thomas Meade, Old School Record Review
“What perpetually draws me back… is the aching, naked vulnerability. The songs are autobiographical, full of in-jokes and whatever you call the tragic inverse of an in-joke (an ‘in-groan’?).“ Brent Bailey, Odd Man Out
“If we still displayed our CDs like vinyl on shelves or in milk crates so that our friends and house guests could peruse our collection, and supposing I organized my collection by sound, texture, and vibe, I’d slip Youngest Son’s All Souls’ Day between Sufjan Stevens and Anathallo.” Josh LaMore, Midwest Action
"The masterful craftsmanship, coupled with the choice of instrumentation, brings to mind Ben Folds and Elliott Smith.” Josh Terzino, Music. Defined.
“If (God forbid) I die young, someone pay @steveslagg to write a song about me.” @samuel_ernest
bio photo by Logan Mahan