By DOTTIE PARIS
Santa Cruz-rooted singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Austin Shaw has always believed that everyone has a story to tell.
“You can look into people’s eyes and get a glimpse of where they have been, where they are, and even where they might be going,” he says.
Shaw catalogs his own stories and the in:depth feelings of other people in his life on his upcoming full-length debut, FELT, due out this fall.
Toured With Bromberg
Shaw recently completed a tour with the eclectic David Bromberg and will be playing his first ever LA show on July 11 at the legendary Viper Room with 80s jam band dada.
Shaw grew up in a home full of uplifting music. The joy and comfort of folk, pop and rock songs by artists like James Taylor, Elton John, Neil Diamond and Neil Young fully overtook him as a young boy. Their way with words and music became ingrained in him. He picked up the guitar in his early teens and started writing in a journal.
As he continued to explore his instrument and the writing craft, his words morphed into song lyrics. His songs are diaries glowing with warm, intricate layers. They feature catchy guitar hooks and soul-baring lyrics that offer up Shaw’s perspectives on love, loss, longing and self-discovery.
A natural improviser and a born collaborator, Shaw has created handcrafted recordings and intimate performances that carry on the tradition of the rock poets and storytellers who have inspired him.
California Rock recently sat down with him the important questions…
CR: We really like the new EP and are excited to hear more from you. Can you give us the inside scoop on your upcoming full album Felt?
AS: Glad you liked it! The EP is a teaser to the full-length album I’m releasing in the fall. This is my first full length album and I’m really proud of it. It’s a fairly eclectic mix of songs with some talented musicians joining me. The songs are stories about love, heartbreak and emotions we all feel as we journey through life.
CR: So, you’ve been touring around the country and now you are back in CA and have a few dates with dada coming up. We hear this is your first time playing LA?
The Viper Room
AS: Yes, I’ve been touring with David Bromberg since January. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve never played in LA and am looking forward to playing at a legendary venue like the Viper Room. We’ve been touring as an acoustic Trio and the shows with dada are going to be a bigger band with electric guitars thrown in. I’m looking forward to upping the volume for these shows.
CR: When you visit LA is there a must go to spot for you?
AS: I used to frequent LA and always enjoyed grabbing a drink pool side at the Sky Bar at The Mondrian, the view is incredible. I also love Venice beach and all the sights to be seen there.
CR: We understand you started playing and writing in your teens and took a hiatus from music to start a career in the corporate world. We would love for you to tell us a bit about that journey and what brought you back to your art.
AS: Yes, my teens were all about music. Then I did what most folks do out of college and joined the corporate world – cause that’s what ya do right? Well, each year on the corporate tread mill led to more work and less music until I had finally had it. A few years in, I was visiting my sister in San Francisco and called my boss in NY and said I was done. I picked up my guitar and started writing again and getting to know local musicians, started playing gigs etc. I was introduced to Robert Smith of Defy Recordings who got me started on my first EP.
CR: You mentioned you had some talented people join you on the Felt recordings, can you fill us in?
AS: Of course, Felt was produced by Robert Smith (Defy Records), the album also features the talents of guitarist Larry Saltzman (Paul Simon), drummer Joe Bonadio (Sting), bassist Malcolm Gold and vocalist Clara Lofaro. I’m really looking forward to getting it out plan on touring as much as possible.
See Shaw on July 11 The Viper Room in Hollywood and July 12 at Slim’s in San Francisco.
Stay up to date at: https://www.austinshawmusic.com