You definitely should Give A Damn…
Released on 12th August 2016 and reviewed by the grooving head and tapping feet of Stephen Brophy
Arizona’s Christopher Shayne creates an awesome blend of Southern Rock, Americana, Country and plain old Rock ‘n Roll on this twelve track album. Shayne is pretty well known from his previous band Whiskey Six, this new album is both well written and performed, and has enough to keep both Country and Rock fans more than happy with the output.
The twelve tracks on offer give a really good idea of the direction Shayne wants to move and develop into, a little bit more open than any strict genre, but most definitely harbouring a lot of Rock ‘n’ Roll influences. His voice is nice and gritty, with a great tone and bluesy at times, he hasn’t left his old bandmates behind however with Dave Lansing (lead guitar), Mark Blades (bass) and Trevor Hammer (drums), with the addition Zachary Hughes (guitar) the only lineup change. No surprise then that the guys sound so tight. For me there are elements of all sorts of influences in the music, with even a bit of Steve Earle in there on ‘When I Come Down’.
It’s a crackerjack of powerful songs about life’s ups and downs, some lovely guitar playing from Lansing, top class vocals, in both delivery and styles and such a solid band behind it all, even the backing vocals add a lot to a couple of the tracks here like the excellent ‘The River Revival’. Often country or country rock albums are thought to be a little simplistic in composition, but Shayne manages to keep some magic going in the way he puts it all together. The production is top notch with plenty of power left in the overall sound but no element grabbing more than its fair share in the mix.
The opening track ‘Give A Damn’ is an absolute standout – it’s a gut busting, high octane rocking song that grabs you on the first listen and doesn’t want to let you go. One of those songs you know straight away is going to be a single, there’s a rebellious sound and vibe to it, and that’s certainly carried through with the video for this song. It’s also pretty damn infectious and you can just keep spinning and enjoying it.
Other highlights from the album is another rocking track in ‘Rock Show’ which is a little less country until maybe it hits the chorus, but it rumbles along nicely, again providing a nice base that should be enough to make rock and country fans happy. With its massive change of pace but no less powerful is the wonderful ‘Heartache’. It’s something that we often find lost these days with modern music, but Christopher Shayne’s ability to tell a story and make the listener think about what’s being portrayed is an art form in itself. There’s certainly a twang to this song, a ballad of sorts, cracking track and just when you thought you have heard all he has to offer he breaks the mould completely. Just piano and vocals, it’s a beautiful song, totally different to anything else on the album, a bit out of the blue, it’s a great and powerful piece of music.
Keep Christopher Shayne in mind and check out this album. A very talented musician, it really wouldn’t surprise me at all if this guy were to break big because the elements are all there. The timing seems to be perfect too. Maybe a little different to what normally plays on my headset but it’s a cracking album.
9 out of 10
- Give A Damn
- Rock Show
- When I Come Down
- The River Revival
- Take Your Time
- Turning Stones
- Rolling Bones
- Find Our Way
- Outcha Mind
- Black Mariah