Shady Drive | Darker Shade of Blue

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Blues: Blues-Rock Rock: Rock & Roll Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Darker Shade of Blue

by Shady Drive

Edgy Guitar Driven Blues with Classic Rock Influences and a Modern Rock Kick.
Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Please Come Back to Me
4:42 album only
2. Darker Shade of Blue
3:51 album only
3. Can't Walk a Straight Line
4:42 album only
4. What Do the Blues Mean to You?
4:50 album only
5. One More Chance
4:52 album only
6. Things You Never Said
6:49 album only
7. Drivin' It
5:21 album only
8. One for the Road
4:28 album only
9. Blue, #9
6:19 album only
10. B. Badd Johnny
5:11 album only
11. I Just Hit the Wall
4:15 album only
12. Folsom Prison Blues
5:19 album only
13. Goin' Down to C-Town
6:05 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Maybe nobody's ever really done the math, but it seems like Northeast Ohio has maybe 20 "weekend warrior'' bands for every bar or joint that can book 'em.

In some ways, that creates a dual challenge for the bands: One, it means it's pretty much a buyer's market for the bar owners, which means the pay stays down; and two, there's a LOT of competition for those gigs, which means that while it's a given that you'd better be good, the bands have to find a way to stand out.

Rob Hayes, the founder and frontman of Shady Drive, thinks he's found the key.

"One of the things that makes us different is, as we've gone through and played with different people, we don't do it for a job or for the money,'' Hayes said from his North Ridgeville home.

"Oh, it's nice to get paid for something you love, but we just enjoy playing music,'' he said. Fans tell the band it's clear that they like what they do.

"We really believe in what we do,'' Hayes said. "We're not there to get free beer or chicks or whatever. Honestly, it's our chance to do the music we like and we think is good.''

Till now, that's mostly been cover tunes, but there are a few more options now available. At Brothers Lounge on Sunday, the band Hayes started in 2000 and eventually evolved into its current three-man incarnation of Hayes on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Starcher on drums and Kevin Fancher on bass will release its first full-length CD of all originals.

Well, ALMOST all originals. "Darker Shade of Blue'' features the band's signature cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison.''

"We do a couple of different covers, but we do them our own way,'' Hayes said. "That ['Folsom Prison'] seems to be our most requested song we do. When we started talking about doing the CD, doing original stuff, everybody we talked to said, 'You gotta put "Folsom Prison'' on there.' ''

You'll probably hear that one at the CD release party, but you'll definitely hear the title cut for the new CD.

"It's definitely the most recent song that was written, and kind of envelops what we're about,'' said Hayes, whose band also frequently plays with the North Coast Horns. "We're blues-based, but we've got a rock edge to us, [and] maybe a little darker, little deeper subject matter than a lot of the tongue-in-cheek blues stuff.''

That's true. The album really does rock and, as Hayes noted, it has something kind of rare in typical three-chord-progression blues – a lot of background harmonies. Hayes is the lead vocal, but Starcher and Fancher contribute background harmonies that give an added depth to the music.

The question that's foremost in my mind is this: Shady Drive has averaged 100 to 150 gigs a year – a lot for what's primarily a cover band featuring three guys with day jobs (Hayes works for a stone countertop company, Starcher is in management at ArcelorMittal, and Fancher is a schoolteacher).

By any stretch of the imagination, that's pretty impressive. So why risk that by doing a CD of originals?

"It's always been my intention,'' said Hayes, who is the principal songwriter in the group. "I've been writing blues tunes since I was in high school. We have people asking about our original stuff all the time. So it's nice to be able to throw a few originals in there.''

Note: "a few.''

"I like doing covers mainly because there's that familiarity with the audience, when they know the song, and especially when you can take the song and make it your own,'' he said.

"Obviously writing your own stuff, at least for me, is highly personal,'' he said. "Everything on this CD is something I went through first- or second-hand.''

That's true, but the songs also create a sort of déjà vu for the listener.

Hayes agreed.

"On the one hand, it's kind of like therapy for me, but at the same time, I always felt the mark of a good song is something other people can identify with,'' he said.

Despite their increasing popularity – and this new collection of originals – don't look for (this band) to head off to New York or L.A. or Nashville anytime soon. Shady Drive proudly dons the "weekend warrior'' mantle.

"That is pretty much what we are,'' said Hayes.

Then there's that other fact:

"The health insurance plan for musicians sucks,'' Hayes joked.

"Believe me, I contemplate how I can play music as a career on a daily basis,'' he said. "But I've come to the realization that the music industry is a tough industry to crack.

"I'll take what I can get,'' he said, "but I'm not going to sell my soul or sacrifice my family life and personal relationships to make it big.''

Call it "doing the math,'' the right way.

Written by Chuck Yarborough @ Cleveland Plain Dealer



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