Alt-folk rocker Steve Abel began playing guitar at age 15. In 2006 he won acclaim for his debut album, Little Death. It featured a host of Kiwi talent — including Goldenhorse's Kirsten Morrell on ‘Duet (Lonely I Be)' — and was named 2006 Album of the Year at alternative music awards, the Alternatuis. Follow-up Flax Happy (2008) was credited to Steve Abel and the Chrysalids; it featured many of the musicians from the first album. Critic Graham Reid called Flax Happy "the sound of someone writing and singing from a place where there is no guile, just hard truth and clear eyes." Luck/Hope (2016) was partly recorded while living overseas.