Treasury of Claremont Music

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Steve Cahill

“While my musical history began in high school in Pasadena, I very quickly made the Claremont connection through Chris Darrow, when, in 1962, we combined our string bands which included David Lindley. We were called The Mad Mountain Ramblers and started playing professional dates throughout Southern California including an extended gig at Disneyland. I stayed with Chris as his career moved into rock and roll, and recorded on some of his albums. I applied my other passion, photography, to recording images that were used on these and other albums, so I felt extremely lucky to be doing both.


My favorite musical experience was when Chris and I flew to London to record his second album, Chris Darrow for the United Artists record label. It turned out that it was less expensive to travel to England and use Trident Studios than to record in L.A., so we made a very pleasant working trip of it. I always had a love of all kinds of music, so I appreciated the wide spectrum of sounds on this album, from reggae to medieval orchestra, played with the help of musicians hired there. This album has just been re-released on the Taxim label from Germany, and I believe it holds up very well for being 40 years old. I am still proud of the photographic and musical contributions I made to it.


I love the fact that Claremont is a place where us old music guys mingle quite easily and naturally with young beginning players, and all share the love of making beautiful sounds.”


Steve received his B.A. in Art from California State University, Los Angeles and an M.F.A. in Art from Claremont Graduate University. Now retired, Steve previously worked as an Assistant Professor of Art and Photography at Pitzer College and as an Assistant Professor of Art at University of California, Riverside. 


Steve remains an integral member of the Claremont music community and has frequently collaborated with Claremont musician, David Brock, in both the bluegrass group, Alive & Pickin’ as well as roots band, Squeakin’ Wheels. Steve also plays in the new group, The Desert Croquet Band, along with Claremont’s own Roy Durnal and Jim Cope. Steve plays mandolin, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and provides vocals.


Photography by Steve Cahill