A brand-new single release from Shawn Brown hits a wonderfully balanced soundscape that borders a folk rock and classic rock feel and approach but does so with this warm undertone that feels incredibly welcoming.
"Road of Bones" is a very lush and full-bodied single that comes through with a ton of heart that becomes more and more evident as the song plays on but does this all with such a beautiful array of instrumentation that all in all, has the ability to kind of whisk you away to a different place for a little bit.
One of my favorite aspects about this track is that you can absolutely hear how much fun the artist is having while performing it and that energy is captured really well to the point where you end up wanting to see him live just because if the energy on the recorded version is this good then in a live setting it'll be amazing.
This is clearly an artist that has a pure love for his craft and puts a lot into the songwriting and the recording when he's doing it.
There is a lot of attention to detail going on throughout the track, but it never loses that solar heart throughout the entire thing.
He's got a great way of being able to tell stories with his songwriting and his approach is so natural that it almost hints towards a nostalgic feeling as well.
This track was honest but also felt good and at times also touches on this sort of 90s rock approach which is awesome because that also feels just as welcoming as the classic and folk-rock aspects of the song.
The palate that he creates the songs with is very colorful and it helps him come through with a lot of character which is one of the best ways to explain what this song has the most of. Character.
You can also tell that this must have come from someplace genuine like a life experience for example and those are the kinds of things that make for the best music in general no matter what the genre.
This was very catchy and does everything in such a subtle dynamic that you find yourself humming the tune in your head for hours after the song has ended and the only way to satiate that is to play it again.
Now that is smart songwriting if I ever heard it.
With the release of such a well-woven single, we wanted to have a sit-down with Shawn Brown to find out where this song actually did come from and what might be coming up next for the artist.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with "Road of Bones"! This track had a classic 90's radio rock sound to it and came through with a warm tonality! Where did this single come from?
Thanks for the kind words! I’m super excited for this one to get out and into people’s ears. In a lot of ways this song is a pretty good statement as far as how I see my music and where I’d like to see it keep going. Generally, my songs tend to have a bit of that 90’s nostalgia no matter what I do. That said, this track in particular has a bit more of a genre blend with that country, roots-rock thing that I love so much. I really wanted to play with that songwriting concept where the song sounds like one mood but the lyrics have an altogether different thing going on if you listen closer. Once I landed on that main metaphor, the song kind of wrote itself.
Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you as an artist? When did you fall in love with music?
Well, it’s a long meandering story. The simple version is that I came of age in the Seattle area in the late 80s-early 90’s. I always loved music and in middle school I listened to a lot of Rush and John Mellencamp. I had an older brother who strenuously suggested I check out a different style of music and hipped me to a whole different thing. So Rush and Mellencamp were replaced by The Replacements, R.E.M.,Soundgarden, ect. I was in and out of those types of bands for years, but my singing voice was doing something else. I followed that sound into more of an acoustic-soul space and released my very first EP. Pretty organic when it's all said and done.
Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire other songs for you?
When you hear songwriters pontificate about “songs dropping out of the sky”, that really matches my experience too actually. I think the trick in songwriting (and as a human in general) is to just stay open to everything. It takes a concerted effort these days to stay present, with our phones and everything else pulling at us. I find that the things going on in our actual present tend to be pretty awesome and typically make for the best songs.
Buzz Slayers: This single has some great styles on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?
Oh boy, I could go on for hours on influences! I think generally my music does come from that Mellencamp, heartland-rock place. So that part of my brain is filled with Marc Cohn, Tom Petty and Kris Kristofferson among many others. Patty Griffin is another writer that really checks all the boxes for me. There’s also folks like Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, and Chris Stapelton who are unequivocally great and also don’t sit in any one genre for long - which I love.
Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
I love a good bike ride! We have a puppy at home who’s pretty hilarious. I’m a big reader. There’s plenty to be done outside.
Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?
So much great music is being released all the frickin time. I’m all over the place. It’s been awesome that the De La Soul catalog is now out there for us all to jam loudly, so those albums have been on high rotation. Red Hot Chili Peppers always. The new Dave Hause record too. Jordyn Shellhart just put out potentially my favorite record of the year - Primrose. The Album Leaf, Brandy Clark. I could go on and on…
Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?
For sure! There’s a number of shows announced and more coming. The band is sounding incredible, so I’ll be fired up to get out there and play for folks.
Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourself or hit a big studio for this?
For “Road of Bones” it was a bit of a combo situation. The track was produced by Grecco Buratto who lives and works in LA, so we recorded different parts in different studios and then I flew down from Portland for a super fun vocal session at Tropico Union, LA with Alberto Lopez and Grecco to wrap things up.
Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Super good question. We’ll see how things go with this song. I’ve never actually released a stand-alone single before, so it will be really interesting if we end up doing a series of singles like this one or thinking about more along the lines of an ep/album model. We shall see!
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
I’m just super grateful that literally anyone listens, comes to a show, buys vinyl, any of it. I’m glad folks get something out of it. This is a good one for those summer days, singing loudly in the car - so turn it!