Steven Clarkson

Mandolin, Guitar and Saxophone

Developing a love for the improvisational style embraced by such artists as Jerry Garcia and John Coltrane came naturally to Steven. He started playing alto saxophone in 1978 in his middle school band, and his love of music continued to grow. He listens to everything from New Order to Yo Yo Ma, Grateful Dead to Nick Drake.

When Mountains Speak is Steven’s way of communicating his love of sonic expression. Whether putting together a project for his classes at Berklee, collaborating with a musician he’s met through mutual contacts or playing in his trio, Steven feels at home. His recordings, whether soft spoken soundscapes or hard edge jazz psychedelic rock, come from his deep faith and an ever increasing curiosity for the world of music.

Friends of When Mountains Speak

Understanding the roots of When Mountains Speak takes you back to Steven playing acoustic mandolin for hours almost in deep meditation. With Steven’s move to Taylor in 2019,  WMS has continued to evolve— all of his solo, duo and trio work builds on the foundation of those quiet evenings practicing mandolin.  Though when WMS includes musical project mates, WMS’s doors have been opened for those friends to explore, collaborate and share a common vision.

“Friends of WMS” have been loyal and have seen Steven’s studio release well over 20 albums and singles so far. These efforts have been critically acclaimed and even won best music video in two international film festivals.

Jim Gary


“Let's just play Jim" has enjoyed holding down the bottom end for various groups for many years across Texas.  Nothing beats being in a band that finishes a tune in sync! Jim is grateful for the many collaborators thus far and looking forward to the future opportunities to play.  Steven’s right hand man and bassist— has worked with Steven in both duo and trio capacities since 2022.

Ben Sands


Ben is a self taught musician who began playing his first instrument, the guitar, at age 13. In recent years, Ben has started 3 different bands, played music with several other local musicians on various projects, and wrote, produced, and performed an original rock opera. After Ben met Steven at Taylor’s local music store, they started jamming weekly. Ben shares a love for experimental and unconventional free form improvisational music and his wild untaught percussion style fits right in and helps define the sound of the When Mountains Speak Trio.

Shreyas Iyer


Shreyas is a student of the tabla from a young age when the sounds of the instrument invited him to start learning. As a musician and event producer, he has organized and performed in several shows in the US and internationally. Shreyas spreads his knowledge of the tabla through classes and workshops at Dhaa School of Music in Phoenix, AZ. His innate passion and dedication to furthering this art form keep him innovating and collaborating with musicians in different genres. Shreyas plays tablas on some of Steven’s material and they continue to collaborate.

[The band's] take on the genre is all-encompassing, expansive and unrestrictive...” - Dave Franklin

Dancing About Architecture

I highly suggest that progressive and psychedelic, as well as vintage rock lovers, listen to it...” - Mena Ezzat

Rocker Magazine