Shipe on Americana Chart

I’ve been so busy, it almost escaped my notice: Yellow House is on an American Americana chart now.

3rd Coast Music’s Freeform American Roots Chart

Entering at #16, tied with Chuck Prophet.

I couldn’t be more pleased. DJ’s and programmers in this part of the Biz treat independent music with honest respect. Even those who reject Yellow House send me e-mails indicating that they gave it a seriously listen. If it doesn’t fit their repertoire, they usually pass it along to someone else who might run with it, laying the contact info on me as well.

Now that I’m wrapping up the international promo run, I finally have a partial-but-substantial list of North American outlets spinning the album. Read more »

Shipe-Ebbage Chaos at Hogan’s w/ Cargill

Hard to describe what happens in Clarkston on the Hogan’s stage. I warned Ebbage; we wouldn’t be lulling them with our sensitive side. So we get help from Scott Cargill (Lucas) on mandolin, and Jim on Jembe and Ryan on bass (with whom we’ve never played a note.)

At Hogan’s, you’re tucked in a nook, behind giant speakers, on a stage deeper than it is wide. If you’re not loud and rowdy, the music can’t make it all the way to where everybody’s sitting.

We’ve never rehearsed. Scott, my dear Lewiston friend, practices on his own, and greets us with newly crafted mando parts. We just jam it out like street musicians. All bravado and energy. Plus, he calls out songs I don’t play often, from my older rock albums–“Jasmine,” “Crawlspace,” etc. Also, he’s a Renegade Saints fan, so we bust out Al Toribio’s “Letter Home,” Mike Walker’s “Delivered,” and Dave Coey’s “Tara.” He’s got all the hooks down.

A pleasant surprise was how gorgeously Ebbage’s country side shined with the mandolin in there. Perhaps it wasn’t the best stage for his lullabies, but two-steppers like “Hurtin’ Me” and “The Way She Does It” sounded best of the entire tour. (I felt good on twangy lap steel, to boot.)

With the quasi-rhythm section, and Scott’s mad energy egging us on, why not have Ebbage play electric most of the night? His tone was so awesome, we just let him go off on long indulgent solos. (Did I mention that Scott’s right arm is a rhythmic machine? Sticking the groove while Ebbage shredded, especially on “Road Story.”

Speaking of “Road Story”, there were some devoted Jerry Joseph fans who called me out on my influences: “So, Shipe,” says this one dude, “Did you write ‘Road Story’ before or after Jerry Joseph’s ‘Drive?'”

“Okay, fine, you caught me,” I said. “Just for that, we’re gonna cover an actual J.J. song. Sit back down in your chair and soak up ‘World Will Turn.'” (Ebbage has gotten very good at thickening up our version with the electric… even without a rhythm section. I dare say we acquitted ourselves properly with that homage.)

But we pressed our luck. We should have stuck to the Miles Davis rule: Always leave them wanting more. Whether it be a musical passage, or a whole song, or a set, or an entire show, stop just short of topping out the tension by extending the climax. Restraint is key. For this Hogan’s show, the climax unmistakable; we were obviously done. But we were having too good a time to quit. As fatigue and one-Jager-shot-too-many kicked in, we ran the train of the rails. “These Days” took 15 minutes to get through three verses. I don’t think Ebbage knew what song we were playing, but he added some nice spacy notes, and the thing sort of went searching through the stratosphere–not the concise Jackson Brown song we’re familiar with. Last, and certainly least, “Crawlspace” turned into three and a half minutes of breakneck random chords.

Ah, well. That’s rock-n-roll for ya. I love it. That’s what makes it fun. You’re on stage, you’re in it together, and it ought to be a little risky. Like driving a car too fast around a curve.

Shipe & Ebbage at Eichardt’s

By day, Eichardt’s is a fine restaurant, with a quiet clientele that makes you think you’ll be playing soft folk ballads for calm people. (Not a bad prospect, for this tour is much about introducing Ehren’s album, with all its sweet music, to the music fans of the North Idaho corridor.) But, at night, by the time you get sound checked and ready to play, Eichardt’s turns into a bar. There were quite a few noisy people who were unsusceptible to our finesse, intricate composition, and emotional crooning. We were pulling out our rockers quite a bit more than we thought. A woman from the audience actually came up to us and asked us to turn up, furtively pointing to the noisy fellows at the bar.
Anytime we’re asked to turn up, that’s a good thing, and we’re happy to oblige.
Strangely, though, as raucous as some of the audience seemed to be, we were complimented on our lyrics of all things. All night, they kept coming up to us: “Which one of you writes your lyrics?” (So they were listening after all, even those guys with their backs to us, who at one point seemed even to be heckling us.)
Incidently, we both write the lyrics. If E-dog is singing, he wrote it. If I’m singing, I wrote it. Unless it’s a Jerry Joseph song, or a Mark Alan song.
At last I’m getting inside the lap steel on Ebbage’s tunes. Fewer mistakes and juicier melodies. This is important, ’cause there is something about that instrument that turns an ear with just one note. I can see why Ehren tries to play with pedal steel players at nearly every gig. You don’t have to do much with it; just fade in a sweet chord tone at the right time, give it a little vibrato, and make it sing.

Shipe & Ebbage at Moon Time

Ah, much better. Even though we were incredibly underslept from the late night before at John’s Alley, Ehren & and I pulled out the energy for Moon Time in Coeur D’Alene. I am reminded of one the magic secret ingredients of live music–Volume!

The P.A. system we carry around has no monitors. But the Moon Time has a flat wall behind the bar, pretty close to us in front of the stage. So we crank that system up, hacking away at our rocker tunes, like “Road Story,” “I’m not Sorry,” and Jerry Joseph’s “World Will Turn.” Andthe sound bounces back at us, guitars and voices blended in a beautiful swirly wash. (Oh, those poor bar tenders!)

Funny, the Moon Time is a small intimate place, with all the makings of quiet acoustic venue. (While John’s Alley is a big ole wood & concrete tavern suitable for kicking ass.) But Moon Time is a talkative audience on Thursday–Dollar Microbrew Pint Night. This puts us acoustic folkie-singer-songwriter-troubadors in a potentially awkward postition, especially with Ebbage’s high ballad-to-rocker ratio. (All those sweet love songs.) But you have to trust that the crowd is listening and appreciating in their dollar-pint-night way. They don’t play the role of “audience” exactly, but you must play your set with assurance and authority nonetheless. They know when they’re hearing something of quality, even though they don’t sit with eyes glued to the stage, hanging on your every word of song-introduction. In this kind of atmosphere, you don’t waste time between songs. Keep it moving, and take advantage of those moments in the night when they do seem to want a bit of stage talk.

They never fail to show their appreciation. Always chatting us up between sets and after the show, buying CD’s and getting on the mailing list.

And thank god I finally bot my lap steel act together, making myself more welcome on those lovely Ebbage tunes.

Shipe & Ebbage at John’s Alley

The first gig down, four to go. John’s Alley is usually the first gig on these short Northern Idaho tours, starting me off with an 8 hour drive right off the but. Plus, it’s a long gig–9:30 to two a.m. With Ebbage, I thought it would be only half as exhausting. But, no, the John’s Alley gig still kicks my ass. Vertical Dave, as usual, does us right from the crow’s nest, with one of the best sound systems for any tavern gig I play. And he always burns a CD of the show.

I would have liked to play better, I was a bit uneven on lap steel, making a bloody mess of Ebbage’s sweet songs. I’ve got four gigs to fix that, and I’m better rested for tonight’s gig at Moontime in Coeur D’Alene.

Alley folks were kind to us as usual. Buying CD’s and chatting us up and down about our solid music–even though we were a little off this time. (It wasn’t quite the zone we were in when we played Ashland last time… when I ended up hospitalized for a supposed kidney stone… which I still have… even though it’s not a kidney stone…It’s a herniated disc, which I still have…. which makes it scary to drive 8 hours and then sing & play for 4 hours… songs like “Crawlspace” and “Imitation Man” especially… But I’m okay, I think.) We must have come along way since 1997, because even though we felt “off,” we still managed to sell some CD’s.

Towards the end of the night, when we were really starting to fade, a fellow came up to us, named Matt and said: “Hey guys, it’s getting late, and no one’s really listening, you want some sax?” (Hmm, it sounds rude when I write it here, but it wasn’t rude the way he said it.) Although I was just about tapped out and ready to call it a night, I wanted to hear what he would sound like with us. (He’s part of a band with Bennet the accordion player from Ala Zingara, so he had some automatic credibility there.) He warmed up on recorder as I played Green Day’s “Good Riddance.” Next, I challenged him with Bossa Nova “Just in Time.” Sounded great, so we finished off with “Don’t Pass Montgomery By.” Nice.

Pit Bull Blues Chords & Lyrics

I get e-mails from all over the world asking for the lyrics and/or chords to “Pit Bull Blues.” So, I thought I’d post them here. (First the lyrics, then the chords.)

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Shipe Hits the Charts

This morning, I discovered that Yellow House opened on the Euro Americana charts at #13.

The songs getting the most airplay:
Hours Go By
Just in Time
Yellow House
Honky Tonk Romans

“We Got a Situation,” “Elegant Failure,” and “Bleeding in Your Shoes” have snuck in a spin or two.

I have three professionals to thank for their help: Rachael Harrington from Emerging Artist Resources, Claire Flint from Three Seed Design, and my publicist Leona Laurie

Shipe Hitting Global Airwaves, Charts?

The ramp-up for Yellow House promotion has been a long slow march. After being treated so well by regional radio, we sent our little precious around the country and the world. The news trickles in; so far, Yellow House gets love and airplay in more than 50 locations. (That covers a lot of space–the whole world if you count streaming internet.)

Several songs are rotating on playlists. The DJ’s have nice things to say, lending votes for the FAR reporting charts.

Radio Crystal Blue, has Yellow House listed at 13 on their top 100 for the year.

Stay tuned for more data and a list of stations.