6 days left until the summer gig at C’est What, 26 days until the end of our crowd-funding campaign and the start to our recording session at Canterbury Music! Exciting times for me and the band! We are looking forward to seeing you at the gig and/or hope you can contribute whatever little bit to the making of this album. Here is the link to our indiegogo website! Please pass it on to anybody you think would be interested. I am encountering some (said with the utmost respect) ludites, so please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com if indiegogoing isn’t your thing but music patronage is! I’ll be posting a free download of the “Fate Line” demo, for a taste of the title track, so keep an eye out for that. Cheers! Jen
When better than on the night of the super moon to launch our Jen Schaffer and the Shiners indiegogo campaign to crowd-fund our “Fate Line” recording project! We are headed into Jeremy Darby’s studio, The Canterbury Music Company, in August and need some support so please consider contributing – too many amazing songs not to get them down for our first full-length album. So please check out the link – and enjoy some pics from our studio visit last week.
I thought today would be the perfect time to post a live recording of our new tune, “Sunday Morning, New York City.” We performed it at our gig at The Cameron House last month – our jazzy homage to a spring weekend spent strolling through the various ‘hoods of New York – on the High Line in Chelsea, through SOHO to the Lower East Side and, of course, Central Park. Its an amazing city that has inspired many a tune… and still does.
Simon Law is on keys and back ground vocals, Jonathan Marks on viola, Dr. John T. on electric guit, Astrid Foster on bass and back ground vocals and I’m on lead vocals and shaker.
I haven’t stopped listening to Richard Thompson’s new tune, “Salford Sunday” since I heard him and his wicked “funk folk” trio perform it live at Massey Hall on Friday night. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got Allison Krauss singing sweet harmonies on the recording, the tightest of rhythm sections and a lovely mandolin chiming through the tune (must be Buddy Miller). I’m sucked in from the start by the sweet guitar lick that runs through the song – of course, it’s sweetness dissolves into the minor, revealing the song’s bitter lyrics of heartache, hangovers, regret and self-loathing. “For I left that weeping willow, she should be lying on my pillow, if I wasn’t such a hardnose, such a perfect waste of time.” Classic RT!
I’m learning or getting more conscious about what a powerful musical tool those licks can be – and am applying this insight more and more to my own songs. With the help of my bandmates, I am honing that organic process of ferrying a song from words on paper, to chord progressions with a hint of a lyrical phrase, to full on instrumental arrangements with the Shiners that draw out these musical themes. You’ll hear it on new tunes like “Your Touch is Deep” and “A Story’s End.”
I couldn’t stop smiling Friday night (when I wasn’t crying), watching Richard Thompson go through his set of old and new. So i’m left on this sunny spring Sunday to ponder why Richard Thompson still touches me so deeply as a songwriter, musician and performer. Witty, quippy, unique and crazy-talented guitarist – you can recognize a Thompson solo a mile away – and lyrics that are bitting, painful, honest without pandering, delivered in his sucker-punch way. A very British but universal voice – still strong these many years later. Check out his recent performance of “Salford Sunday” live in studio with his amazing trio. Enjoy!
And don’t forget to come out to the gig at The Cameron on April 5th, where you can hear my own “funk folk” ensemble perform many original tunes, including “Sunday Morning in New York City” – our own sunday song about a place, a person, a feeling and moment in time.
Placido domingo, wherever you are.
After an intimate house concert on Valentine’s Day with Fraser Anderson and Arlene Bishop, we are gearing up for the big gig at The Cameron on April 5th. Lots of new tunes – and I am very excited that Morgan Jones Phillips (once again) has agreed to open the night with his hillarious if not cringe-worthy “Emergency Monologues.” It will be a beautiful night of original music and severed body-part stories. Hope to see all of you then! BTW – Lego renditions of the band in the gig poster courtesy of my son and Lego master, Manny!
Thanks to Caroline Chan or “All the Year Round”, I can welcome you to my new and improved website! I am most excited to have this opportunity to be “Living Out Loud” a bit and share with all who are interested some of mine and the bands’ musical musings and machinations. It is here that thoughts, ideas, lyrics and works in progress will be updated on a frequent, or likely, infrequent basis!
My opening salvo – a rumination about The Shiners. While the name came from my son’s off-the-cuff suggestion, the band has evolved over time and dedication into its own distinctive sound and vibe. The Shiners are made up of good friends, all hailing from their own distinctive backgrounds, musical and otherwise.
Astrid Foster, with her sweet sweet harmonies and melodic bass lines, comes to us (via Hamburg, Germany) with her solid experience playing in the country western bars of Calgary. Simon Law lends us his “Funky Ginger” soulful approach that he has fostered these many years as a successful musician and member of his other band, Soul II Soul – as a Shiner he plays drums and keys, creates rhythms, bass lines and gorgeous arrangements for our original tunes and adaptations. Dr. John is our very own Garth Hudson – the band’s musicologist and multi-instrumentalist, coming up with forgotten keys and creating guitar lines that make the songs sing. He also plays beautiful keys on some tunes. And then there is Jonathan Marks, injecting his virtuoso Stephan Grappelli come Mark O’Connor vibe on violin and mandolin.
You’ll have to come to a gig to experience the Shiner’s unique brand of roots music. “He Once” exemplifies – my intimate lyrics and song, finessed with Simon’s gorgeous instrumental melody, exacted by the harmonized duet between the Js’ guitar and mandolin, anchored by the flowing but solid groove of Astrid’s bass, and made even richer by a three-part harmony acapella bridge. It’s one of my faves, soon to be recorded.
My closing salvo for this first entry – I am thrilled to host a house concert on Valentine’s Day that will feature not only acoustic musical sets from me and the Shiners and my good friend Arlene Bishop, but also from the talented (and visiting) Scottish musician and resident of France, Fraser Anderson. All you have to do is listen to Fraser’s “Rag and Bones,” and the sumptuous bass lines from none other than the great Danny Thompson to know why this is a rare honor and great pleasure.
Hope to see you out at a gig, or at least virtually connect.
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