Started playing Music seriously when he was 18 years old. While in college in Gainesville, Florida he met John Vilardo who was the first person that he ever jammed with. At that same period his new roommate by the name of Ben Andrews. Ben was a country blues ragtime guitarist from Washington, DC. Ben turned me on to the great country blues-men like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, and Leadbelly just to name a few. When he first heard Leadbelly it seemed my whole life changed. Ben really was my first big influence into the blues. “He showed me how to fingerpick and got me into playing bass”. Another person from Gainesville and an early influence was Barrelhouse Chuck. Chuck had a large record collection and was playing in the Robert Hunter Blues Band. Robert Hunter was a blind saxophone player who worked with Bobby “Blue” Bland in the sixties. Eventually Chuck moved out to Seattle and Ben and Steve formed another band to back up Robert Hunter. The same year Bo Diddley moved to Gainesville from New Mexico and the Robert Hunter Band ended up backing Bo Diddley.
Arvey eventually returned to Chicago, where he worked as a sideman on the Chicago Blues scene playing bass guitar, guitar, and drums behind such Blues Legends as Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Big Smokey Smothers, Homesick James,Andrew Brown, Lefty Dizz, Big Moose Walker, BB Big Voice Odum, Detroit Jr,Lovie Lee, Carey Bell, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr, Frank Frost, Lester Davenport. Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay, Eddie Clearwater, Sugar Blue, Abb Locke, HipLinkchain, Sammy Lawhorn, Jr Wells, Sammy Fender and others.
Then Arvey, formed a band called West Side Heat and Released his first Album. The band was very active between 1981-1991 and toured all over the world, Sometimes backing up major blues artists. The highlight of the group was their performance on The Crossroads Stage at the 1990 Chicago Blues Festival. (since has played many time at the Chicago Blues Festival)
Soon during that time period, Arvey was also approached by the publicists for the Irish beer, Harp Lager, And while he had never performed Irish music, he took the opportunity to perform for them.
“It was sort of unfortunate at first, because they told me they didn’t really want someone to play Irish ballads and slow songs, and I had told them didn’t play Irish music, Arvey said. But then when I showed up at the clubs they sent me to, the people were shocked, and wondered where the Irish band was”.
So he went to the Old Town School of Folk Music, and totally immersed himself everything he could. the he found folk guys, like (Tommy) Makemand. “Tommy Clancy, and I really fell in love with it”. Steve spent two years performing Blues, Rock, and Irish music, sponsored by Harp Lager at almost 150 dates a year at clubs throughout the Chicago music scene.
Around 2010, Steve began adding the Cigar Box Guitar to his arsenal of instruments.”I love the classic roots sound that you feel when play the CBG, I just feel the Blues from a whole different view, Steve performs often as a solo performer or with his bands (Delta Swamp Rats, Steve Arvey’s Habana Smoke)
genre-Blues, Rock, Folk Irish Folk, Americana