STEVE BARTON — is back with the striking new set Time Hard Won

STEVE BARTON — is back with the striking new set Time Hard Won

We all yearn for time. Here's the first SB album for Right Track Records...

Portland, Oregon based Steve Barton has signed to UK label Right Track Records, distributed by Universal, and will release Time Hard Won as his first album under the new deal. The new album was recorded in Portland, San Francisco and Nashville, and mixed and mastered in London, UK. Barton co-produced seven of the tracks with Dave Scheff, and Ron Fair produced three tracks in Nashville. This is Barton’s fourth album since he moved to hotbed music haven Portland. The ‘Portland quartet’ also includes New Blue World (2017), Tall Tales & Alibis (2018), and Love & Destruction (2021). Barton has previously lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Steve Barton could have been a translator for diplomats. Or been caught up in the dubious ways of life insurance. But instead he chose music. Or music chose him. And thank goodness for that. Because Steve Barton has the gift. He writes great songs and plays great guitar and other instruments too. He has the comic’s timing and the poet's sense. He shapes all of this together into one whole. Barton made his first single at the age of eleven. He wrote songs for twenty-five dollars a week aged fourteen. He’s been in a hit band — Translator — on a major label. And latterly he worked at a major music publisher.

“At nine years old, I remember making a choice between being an impressionist or a musician…It was the pivotal year. The Beatles, Kinks, Stones, Who, The Supremes came into my young mind and altered my DNA…My other love was, and still is, speaking and reading French. I graduated from school with honors in French, and went to the university in Grenoble, France for a semester. But, like that boy in the school yard all those years before, I was torn. Should I become a translator at the UN which was my goal at the time, or put a band together? One day I was walking down a street in Grenoble and stopped in front of a music store. There were guitars hanging in the window on display. It was like a scene in a film. Time stood still. I knew it had to be music,” says Barton.

Obsession is a multi-faceted thing that probably affects us all, in one way or another, at one time or another. Barton explores the territory via the metaphor of the pull of the vast, deep and dangerous ocean. Like an elixir, a spell, or a longing, the pull is very hard to escape. This time, beware the waves and beware the deep, or it will be too late. She’s Your Ocean Now is to be the first single release drawn from the new album. Steve Barton: “I play all the instruments on this one. Michael Smith did a stellar job mixing the album in London, and really made the drums sound good on this. This song is about someone drowning in obsession.” Here's the She's Your Ocean Now video...

The song Everything Lasts Forever provides a wonderful, Steve Barton-esque twist on our typical way of thinking: “In several of my songs over the years I’ve been intrigued by flipping common expressions around. So, rather than ‘nothing lasts forever’, I switched it to ‘everything.’ We are the sum of our experiences after all. We grow and change and forget and forgive. Some experiences cast a longer shadow or have deeper claws, but it is all in there, making us who we are. Everything Lasts Forever was written on the piano and for this recording I played the piano in the front room of my house in Portland, an upright from 1923.”

Barton continues, “Ron Fair was my best friend in school and we kept in touch. I went off to form Translator and Ron became a record producer. He’s had gigantic hits with Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera and more. We learned the nuts and bolts of recording together, as teenagers. We’d record my early song demos using a Concord reel-to-reel tape deck. We could overdub on it, which was a revelation to us. Fast forward. Ron gave me a call and invited me to record in his studio in Nashville. Dave Scheff, also a friend of Ron’s, and I hopped on a plane and spent a weekend doing the sessions. Ron’s studio mics are all from an English company. Incredible sounding mics. We recorded three songs: ​ Time Hard Won, along with Off The Ground and Ours And Ours Alone. Ron and Dave put me at ease and it came out great.”

On the title track, Barton adds, “Time Hard Won is a piano song. This was the obvious choice for album title in my eyes. Really fits as the closing track. There is an existential quality to this album, a sense of longing. The concept of ‘time hard won’ seems to sum it up, so it became the album title.”

We all tend to yearn for time hard won, for escape, for memories, for particular people and places, and for music as great as this.

Time Hard Won - Tracks

  1. Off The Ground*
  2. She’s Your Ocean Now
  3. Everything Lasts Forever
  4. Love Is Soul
  5. Ours And Ours Alone*
  6. Tie Me To The Tracks
  7. Any Anywhere
  8. Top Of The Charts
  9. After Everywhere
  10. Time Hard Won*


  • Songs written by Steve Barton
  • Played by: Steve Barton: guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals; drums on track 2
  • Dave Scheff: drums and percussion 
  • Produced by: Steve Barton, with Dave Scheff; and *Ron Fair (tracks 1, 5, 10)
  • Recorded at Cully Gully Studio, Portland and *Faircraft Studios, Nashville
  • Dave Scheff’s drums on 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 recorded by Robert Preston at Get Reel Productions, San Francisco
  • Mixed by: Michael Smith, RYP Recordings, London 
  • Mastered by: Andy 'Hippy' Baldwin, Metropolis Mastering, London 

Release details

  • Album release date - Digital and CD - August 9th 2024
  • Pre-save link -
  • Catalog numbers - RTR268D and RTR268CD ​
  • Album release date - Vinyl - later in 2024
  • Single/video She's Your Ocean Now - June 14th 2024
  • Label: Right Track Records
  • Distribution: Universal
SHE'S YOUR OCEAN NOW — a tale of obsession by Steve Barton
Single/video trails the forthcoming album 'Time Hard Won'

Biography & Track Notes

Steve Barton's fascinating biography...

Steve Barton - Biography.pdf 36 KB

Time Hard Won - Steve's Track Notes...

Steve Barton - Time Hard Won - Track Notes.pdf 25 KB
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Contact: Mal Smith & Chris Carr Delta PR
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