Renegade Saints play “Justice” big.

There are a lot of versions of my song “Justice” floating around. My other band–The Renegade Saints–took a liking to it; it suits our excitability. Prior versions, in early Shipe Bands, would lean on a Middle Eastern element. (Sudden & Merciless drummer Rich Sellars called it “Egyptian Funk.”) But the Saints are pure Americana–going all out classic rock style. This is from Portland Bite Fest 2008–courtesy of Al Toribio, who takes no prisoners in his guitar solos.

Dyson & Crackerjack Highway

My old drummer, Dyson, from the Pollyanna Loves Cassandra days, has been working in San Francisco with Crackerjack Highway. He tells me that they’re touring the Northwest in late March. (I’m down for their Luckey’s show in Eugene on the 26th.

Back when Dyson joined up with Shipe Band in 2000, he came from a hot Eugene local progressive funk band (with Olem Alves, Asher Fulero & Zak Johnson). Shipe music didn’t exactly scratch that prog-funk itch, so it’s good to see him returning to it. I hasten to add that he has the super-evolved chops to meet the prog agenda. And he’s singing, to boot.

Sustained chart position

Some more good news: Yellow House remains on the EuroAmericana Chart for February.

Renegade Saints cover on You Tube

I was doing a little work on my You Tube channel, when I discovered a rare gem: Smooth Audio Flow covering my old Renegade Saints song, “Deep End,” at Lollapotato.

Over the years, I gather this song has seen a good bit of action. I know of a church band that plays it at their services. (Which, by the way, I think is wonderful, in spite of the fact that its origin lay in a more secular variety of epiphany… sort of Edgar Alan Poe on peyote.)

S.A.F. did a fine job on this. It makes me want to get my ass back in the studio and write another song.

Shipe Review in UK

I just got a favorable review in the UK, written by Paul Kerr for Americana UK. A lucid review that proves he gave Yellow House an honest handful of listenings.

Two things stand out which please me: First, he cites the pop/rock song “Promises” as one of the better songs on the CD. Other reviews either ignored it, or mentioned it in passing as “stylistic meandering” that veers away from the tidy semi-acoustic stuff on the rest of CD.

Second, he describes the writing as “naive and innocent.” This sounds like a slight, but I think he meant it in a good way. Plus, I think of such naivete as kind of a writer’s victory. I had been honing the writer’s skill of making a distinction between author and the character who is speaking. Previously, some Shipe tunes would be saturated with too much awareness. I wanted the Yellow House characters to speak from specific points-of-view, limited to the experiences portrayed in each song, while broader and deeper meanings would go un-said. In other words: more story-telling, and less poetic, emotional philosophizing (Not to mention all the dark cynical impulses that accompany all that agonized deep-thinking.)

The paradox is just how much work it takes to become so “naive and innocent.” (In the same way that Picasso spent 60 years learning how to paint like a child.)