Steve Wariner Leaves Capitol Records

Steve Wariner has left Capitol Records. In a statement about the departure posted on his website, Wariner says, “I’m extremely grateful and appreciative of the three wonderful and prosperous years I’ve enjoyed at Capitol Records, but it’s now time to shift gears and re-focus my career goals.” Whether that gear-shifting involves seeking a new record label or more touring isn’t clear. Melissa Albert, administrative assistant at Wariner’s publishing company, referred all such questions to the singer’s publicists. “Steve’s out of town and doing a show,” she told, “and he’s unavailable right now.” On the matter of touring this summer, Albert says, “I know we have not accepted a lot of dates. He’s just looking at other avenues, other things, perhaps, that he might be pursuing.” Wariner came to Capitol with great fanfare in 1998 under the patronage of Garth Brooks, a fact he publicly and happily acknowledged last year at Brooks’ celebration of having sold 100 million albums. However, there have been two major shakeups since Wariner signed with the label. A new management team was put into place at Capitol last year, ironically the same one he worked with during his only moderately successful tenure at Arista Records. Then, Brooks announced his retirement from recording, effectively removing himself as Wariner’s advocate and protector. The Capitol period saw an upsurge in Wariner’s prominence as a songwriter, and it provided him with two of his career total of three gold albums and six Grammy nominations. Currently, he and his son Ryan are up for a Grammy for “Bloodlines,” a cut from Wariner’s latest Capitol album, Faith in You.