Shane Henry’s stunning new album, Light in the Dark (due for release April 28) seals the divide between blues and pop, resulting in a sound that boasts elements of both, while also retaining a freshness, spontaneity, and an instantly infectious and accessible sound that expands his boundaries as both a songwriter and a musician. It brings his career to new heights, the accrued accomplishment derived from a fifteen year journey that spans six previous independent releases -- You’re Comin’ Home (2000), Deliverance (2004), The Love EP (2007), Beauty in the Struggle (2011), and a pair of holiday EPs with Maggie McClure, First Thing on My Christmas List (2012) and Happiest of Holidays (2015) -- a steady diet of touring and solo performances, and continuing praise from his peers.
His father played guitar and made a point of exposing him to the likes of the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. When he was twelve, his dad took him to 2 concerts that changed his life: Tom Petty at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City, and B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt at the Tulsa Blues Festival. That inspired him to learn guitar, a skill he pursued with a passion. That, in turn, led him to the blues and the soul sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, and Donny Hathaway.
“My music has always reflected my reverence for soul music and for the blues,” Henry says. “It’s all about sharing songs that originate through authenticity, from the heart and from the soul.”
“I’ve experienced the highs and lows that accompany a career involved in making music,” Henry admits. “The songs I’ve included on Light in the Dark express that range of emotions -- the struggle, the spiritual journey, the excitement and the enlightenment, all while trying to offer some thoughts about what it takes to find one’s place in the world and the steps we need to take to realize our dreams.”
Produced in part by David Ryan Harris (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Santana) and Justin Glasco (The Lone Bellow), Light in the Dark boasts songs that effectively reflect an upward gaze while offering hope and comfort in a world where challenges abound and confusion often reigns. A mix of the occasionally dark underbelly, some instantly accessible grooves, a host of ready refrains and fiery fretwork, it carries a persistently uplifting theme throughout.
“I’ll keep on fighting until the battle is won,” he insists on the song “Running Towards the Sun.” He bases his beliefs on eternal optimism, as echoed in “Turn on the Lights,” and the search for salvation, persistent themes found in “Find My Rhythm” and “Save Me.” In fact, the entire album is flush with drive and determination, the result of Henry’s evolution as an artist, an advance that he’s quick to point out.
“This record reflects my development as a songwriter,” he suggests. “It defines who I am. I’ve always believed that if the artist doesn’t feel the music, then no one else will either.”
Ultimately then, his goal is simple. “I want to make a positive impact on my audience through my music,” he says. “If I can shine a little bit of light, then maybe others will find some comfort there as well.”
Singer-songwriter Pieta Brown will release her new album Postcards on March 10th via Lustre Records. True to its name, Postcards explores the role of distance and isolation through collaboration in which Brown enlisted a guest artist for each track via mail. Today, she released "How Soon" which features indie-pop singer/songwriter Mason Jennings who contributed drums, bass, and backing vocals to the infectious tune.
Boston artist, 16-year old Ayla Rose recently released a soulful rendition of Tracy Chapman's hit song "Give Me One Reason." Produced by Peter Bell (Bonnie Raitt), the track features Dave Mattacks (Elton John, Fairport Convention) on drums and Kevin Barry (Roseanne Cash) on guitar. Enjoy the track below.
Last week totally got away from me, so I figured I would get a jump on this week's playlist. It features a track from Ags Connolly's fabulous sophomore release as well as Nikki Lane's "Jackpot" from her upcoming album. In honor of seeing Will Hoge last week and Whiskey Myers this week, there's a song on here form each of them as well. If there's someone you like and think should make next week's list, let me know!
Already established players and composers in a wide spectrum of genres throughout the New York musical circuit, brothers David and Alan Moss are finally teaming up to bring their individual experiences together. If you love rich harmonies and thoughtful songs accompanied by guitar, cello, violin and banjo then The Brother Brothers are a duo you should definitely open your ears to. Listen to "Tugboats" from their recently released EP, below.