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Portrait of RoyalDaGr8

sup bro its your buffalo brethran #royaldagr8 new music posted come check me out#716Legend

Portrait of J.Shaw

J Shaw::: Self titled EP
Over the years Buffalo, New York has given birth to an impressive range of musical talent. Acts as diverse as Goo Goo Dolls, Cannibal Corpse and Rick James have called the city home, and now singer-songwriter J. Shaw is emerging as another formidable Buffalonian talent. His self-titled debut EP was released earlier this month and its five tracks display a wide variety of styles and moods befitting the city that produced it.

This musical mix makes it difficult to pigeon-hole Shaw. Even the phrase singer-songwriter doesn’t quite fit, as a full band accompanies J. on every track. Still, there’s something home-grown and folky about this music, even at its most polished moments. Shaw’s distinctive voice plays a major part in setting this tone. It’s very expressive and swings from a soft whisper to a husky growl in seconds flat.

The opening track I’ve Been Waiting is laid back and upbeat. Shaw’s excellent acoustic guitar playing provides the foundation for this summery tune. It’s got a sort of late 90's acoustic rock feel to it – Bare naked Ladies spring to mind right off the bat. This is followed by Big Jetplane, a slightly darker, heavier song that shows off another side of Shaw. Again I can’t help thinking of that late 90's brand of rock (which is not a bad thing at all!).

The mood changes from pop rock to chilled lounge music with You’re The One. A sleepy, swinging, syncopated love song, it provides a nice contrast to the more straightforward pop tunes that came before it. Shaw’s guitar playing is really to the fore on this one, and he flexes his musical muscle a bit by throwing in an unexpected change of time signature towards the end.

A Day Behind is a great pop song that begins with just Shaw and his guitar and evolves into a big, driving, radio friendly track, reminiscent at times of Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eye Blind. The EP concludes with Your Girl’s Little Secret, a return to that shuffling lounge singer feel. It’s a down tempo lament that nicely showcases the gravely side of Shaw’s voice.

J. Shaw’s self-titled EP is a strong first release from an unusual artist. The mix of styles and genres on the record creates a nice contrast from track-to-track, but at the same time makes it difficult to pin down exactly what Shaw is about. The record is generally very well recorded and produced but at times I found myself straining to hear the vocals. Shaw’s soft voice gets lost in the mix from time to time which is a real shame. Overall, however, this EP is a thoroughly enjoyable release that’s well worth checking out.


by Philip James.