The term “artist” is used frequently to describe musicians and singers, but for how many does that term truly epitomize? How many honestly approach it from an artistic perspective? How many take risks with little regard, or care, for how it will be received by the public? How many are really 100% about the music? On top of that, how many have the ability to get the music, story, vocals and delivery to come together as a cohesive piece of art? Not many.
Red Shahan’s upcoming album “Culberson Country” showcases what it looks like when true artistic desire and ability really come together. This isn’t just an album you hear, it’s one you also feel, and see. You get wrapped up in the rustic vibe and journeymen vocals, and get transported in to Shahan’s world of descriptive landscapes and characters. What’s truly remarkable is the originality of storylines throughout the album’s entirety. Each track presents something different, something uncommon, and/or something refreshing compared to everything else out there. Perhaps it’s how intricate of a story he can tell with so few words, or his ability to find situations many can relate to, yet are seldom written about (at least in our scene), but each song is laced with a skilled uniqueness you can’t help but admire and appreciate.
Shahan kicks off the album, with the struggle of “living on high hopes” as a broke musician, drunk and broken down in mountain lion country (Waterbill). He takes you through the emotional journey of his father’s departure (Memphis). He takes in you into a world of a drug dealer who has double-crossed the cartel, and is about the face the consequences upon being released from prison. Sometimes you end up in the middle of the woods in “meth country” (Enemy), sometimes in Shahan’s introspection (Try), sometimes in a cry for rebellion (Revolution), and sometimes facing displacement (How They Lie). You never quite know where you’re going to be, who you are going to meet, or what situation is going to unravel in front of you.
Even the music and style have such a unique combination, and vary enough from track to track, that it makes it hard to describe the “sound” of the album. Is it Americana, is it a mixture of rock and country, is it modern, is it contemporary, is it traditional? It’s really all of those things, and none of them, at the same time. You can really only describe it as….Red Shahan.
Our *PICK* of the album is the title track, “Culberson County”. The story of shared desolation between him and the vast landscape, the haunting vocals, and the subtle, yet powerful, emotion behind the delivery, bleed right through the track to the listener’s ears and soul. You can’t help but empathize with the way Shahan resonates with the “lonely places” and his desire to keep them “lonely”. This is the type of story music was intended to tell.
The album drops tomorrow, 3/30, and we recommend you grab yourself a copy! In the meantime enjoy our *PICK* of the album, “Culberson County”, below!
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.