SEVEN SONGS

Seven Songs

   This seven track EP is comprised of four singles that I released between 2019 and early 2020, plus three additional songs that we recorded specifically for the album. The material dates back to 2013 when I had the kernel of an idea for this “Singer/Songwriter” thing. It took a while but I wrote a couple songs, gathered a band, and we played our first gig in 2015 at AS220 in Providence, RI. My playing and singing at the time was awful but the band sounded good so I figured there must be something happening with these songs. So I kept gigging and writing, getting a little better each time; I’m not fast at any of this stuff so it took time for me to get anywhere. 
   But I felt like I had something to say with this music so I started thinking more about how to do everything better, be more focused. In 2018 I gathered a few guys at the house I was living in in Newport, RI and we committed the first song to ‘tape’, eventually releasing “Between the Leather and Headlights” in 2019 as we were recording more songs. We wanted to play out more as we were releasing singles but 2020 had other plans. But I kept writing, found more songs I liked, and after a while we were able to play again and get back on track. Finally, on April 7th, 2022 we were able to all gather together again at The Parlour in Providence, and put all this out as one unified thought. Sure this was all meant to happen earlier but as we stepped on stage to play these songs all that melted away with the beauty of the moment we were in. 
   I wanted to start out these notes talking about my personal “journey” with music but as I began to write I found myself questioning if I could really define it as a journey at all. To call something a journey requires there to be a specific destination in mind and certain markers along the way that help keep it in motion, but as I look back on that path as it is in 2022 it seems much more circuitous than it ever was a direct line anywhere. Sure, I have my eyes set on a goal but the points in between seem to keep shifting as I go. 
   If I’m honest though, this is always how I wanted to make music, but am only becoming sure of that the more that I pursue all these different points of musical interest. Being a ravenous listener, going to school for music, working with different voices and approaches, then being on my own and having to figure out what the hell to do next has lead me to search and constantly work at refining what it is I want my music to sound like. But that’s the essence of what I find exciting about this mode of creating with its indistinct title, “Singer/Songwriter”; it’s a means of taking all of that knowledge and experience, all the trial and error, and forming something individual with it. So I keep listening, keep learning, and keep searching for the next steps to take. 
   I never expected the journey as it has become to take this long, but such is the way of things. I’m still working full time and still making music as full time as I can, but I’m less worried about the pace of time now then I was in ‘13. For now I’m thankful to play good music with good people while I keep my eyes on the horizon and let these seven songs stand as a testament to the time I have spent working on my songwriting craft, the hours spent rehearsing and recording, the thousands of miles traveled for gigs, and the dedication of a working musician trying to find his voice and get it out into the world.

For fans of:

Jason Isbell
John Prine
Joe Pug

Press photos

Album Credits

Ben Shaw: vocals, acoustic guitar 
Mark Medeiros: electric guitar 
Tom White: keyboards (1, 3, 6) 
Nick Sanfilippo: organ (7) 
Joe Grilli: electric bass (1, 6) 
Dylan LaGamma: upright bass (2, 7) 
Matt Passeroni: electric bass (3) 
Ryan Kowal: vibraphone, percussion 
Brian St. Pierre: drums 

all songs written by Ben Shaw, except “You Are My Sunshine” written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell 

recorded and engineered at home, individually or by Matt Lombardi  

photos by Evan St. Martin

 

This album was a culmination of so much time and effort by so many people, and I am forever grateful to all of them for gifting me with their invaluable talents and spirit. Thank you to all the guys who played on it — Mark, Tom, Nick, Joe, Dylan, Matt, Ryan, and Brian — to Matt for helping me assemble it, and to Evan for giving it a face. Thank you to all my family and friends who have always filled my life with love and joy, and especially my wife Shelley who not only helps me make sense of my wanderings but is always there on the path with me. And to anyone who has heard us play these songs over and over for the past several years, has listened to this stuff online, or even only gives this thing a minute of their time, I sincerely appreciate all of it.

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