Hype, genre, and name-dropping are a dirty business, but it has to be done. So here it is:
My last album, Yellow House got praise and airplay two years running—charting in the States, Europe, Australia and NewZealand. My follow-up, Villain is better; a multi-genred Freeform Americana album, enriched with mandolin, fiddle, trumpet, piano, and lap steel slide. Not to mention glockenspiel and ukulele. (“Only he could make an album so diverse without appearing schizophrenic.” —Eugene Register Guard).
I alternate between acoustic and electric albums. Yellow House was the scaled-down sort. While Villain is a step up in studio production (by Ehren Ebbage), the song craft shines—suitable for my solo acoustic act.
At 100 gigs a year for over a decade, I have been on bills with Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Cake, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Jerry Joseph, Jimmy Cliff, Derek Trucks, Los Lobos, Hootie & The Blowfish, Patty Larkin, John Fahey, Rusted Root, and more.
I’m confident on any stage, instrumentally clad in acoustic guitar, ukulele or piano.
My music has been used in feature films, including Drinking Games and Pizza Girl. Two songs appear in the 2009 AOF award-winning Vicktory to the Underdog, nominated for Best Soundtrack. One of which (“Pit Bull Blues”) has received over a million hits from listeners online.
I’ve written 250 songs and released 10 albums. Thirty Shipe tunes have rotated on 100 independent and commercial radio stations.
After years of headquartering in Eugene, Oregon, I’ve relocated to North Hollywood, from where I launch my promo with the help of Green Light Go Publicity.
Back 2005 I made my last rock album (for the time being); John Shipe & The Blue Rebekahs, featuring a cadre of Oregon Indie scenesters from Dan Jones & The Squids (indie punk rock), Eleven Eyes (acid jazz), and Salt Lick (alt country). The Rebekahs enhanced my eerie tension between the unusual and the familiar–a synthesis of seasoned songwriting and sonic intrigue.
When did it all start?
Back in the late 80’s, when no one bothered to say out loud that I sucked, when 40 ounces of Pabst Blue Ribbon whispered in my ear that I had a future in this Biz. And boy did I suck, albeit with great enthusiasm. (I got tapes to prove it.) I must have thought I was vintage Eric Clapton re-incarnate. Tried to sing like him, tried to play like him. (But Eric Clapton wasn’t dead yet. So how could he re-incarnate anywho?)
After a while, I got my own style–rich composition/hack delivery. Good enough to be in a nationally touring band called The Renegade Saints. (Almost made it big with a blend of Northwest heavy rock & Southern Americana.) Then I went solo in the late 90’s to pursue more idiosyncratic sounds, releasing Sudden & Merciless Joy which performed well on the Oregon charts.
Going solo meant beginning a long collaborative relationship with Ehren Ebbage. With his help in The John Shipe Acoustic Trio, I improved enough to get some love from Performing Songwriter Magazine. (Not once, but twice!)
A couple of years back, my career took a pleasantly odd turn when a whimsical tune from The John Shipe Song Clearance became an international anthem for dog lovers. “Pit Bull Blues,” made into a video by animal rights advocate Jeff Fleiss, took on a life of its own. I found myself getting invited to fundraisers and benefits all over the world.
After all these years, (no help from major record labels) I’ve crossed paths with every genre and scene possible–pop, punk, indie, jam, alt country, folk, grunge, acid…splunge. But I’m settling into folkier territory–a market that we like to call Freeform Americana.
My motto: “Orthodoxy is the enemy.” My other motto: “Context is everything.”