Shady Maples’ self-produced debut album, Unfold, is a combustible combination of alternative rock, Americana and Latin that showcases the dynamic songwriting of Berkeley’s Owen Roberts and the explosive swamp psychedelic arrangements of San Diego’s beer brewing lap steel wizard Greg Peters.
Roberts and Peters toured the California coast for two years, writing and tightening their set until their vision for the band's sound outgrew the limitations of a duo. They brought in Trent Boeschen on drums and Dennis Haneda on bass to create a sound that swells to blistering heights and recedes to introspective subtlety.
After a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, Shady Maples holed up in legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley to record their full length debut. San Francisco siren Kelly McFarling sings harmony on the album, and multi-instrumentalist Brooklyn Bill Bell rocks the Hammond and pump organs, Werlitzer, piano and mandolin. Roberts' lyrics in English and Spanish are a testament to his California roots and limber tongue, and Peters' mastery of the lap steel and electric guitars are the result of his mom's lifelong effort to teach him piano.
Owen Roberts - Vocals, Guitar, glockenspiel
Greg Peters - Guitar, Percussion, Lap Steel
Bill Bell - mandolin, keyboard, hammond organ, pump organ
Shady Maples, 2012
Produced by Owen Roberts and Greg Peters
"Bay to Maples"
Owen Roberts, 2007
Produced by Owen Roberts and Yair Evnine
Review of "Where We've Been"
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Song for the top of your playlist: I first heard Owen Roberts perform “Where We’ve Been” at the Hote...Song for the top of your playlist: I first heard Owen Roberts perform “Where We’ve Been” at the Hotel Utah. I was impressed by the live performance, but the composition and arrangements of the studio version of the song inspired me to tell you about ...it. Listen to the horn section sprawl in the chorus, washing over the grit of the guitar. It's just one of those rare moments in a song when it's nothing but perfect.
Owen Roberts at the East Village Lounge
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Owen Roberts is unquestionably worldly, and his music shows it. From the Zeppelin he played while gr...Owen Roberts is unquestionably worldly, and his music shows it. From the Zeppelin he played while growing up in Berkeley to the vocalists he listened to when he studied in Italy to the acoustic scene he experienced at Haight and Ashbury, he's seen it all. The result: a gritty, folksy acoustic melange that sounds like a product of the Strawberry Music Festival but also manages an edgy side. [JK]
Indie In Tune
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By: Dan Rondinelli Singer, songwriter Owen Roberts makes a sweet sound and generates a whirlwind ...By: Dan Rondinelli
Singer, songwriter Owen Roberts makes a sweet sound and generates a whirlwind of music from one acoustic guitar. His music is poised and patient with a focus on the intricacies of the guitar. Roberts uses a finger style approach that gives a unique and strong sound to each song. Born and raised in Berkeley, CA he currently has brought his act to the east coast Brooklyn, NY. His many influences from folk artists to blues are displayed in his songwriting. Owen performs songs in English, Italian and most recently Spanish which in itself is impressive and original. He is able to understand what sounds supreme and maneuver his words into lyrical synchronicity.
Here are my three favorite tunes I reviewed.
”You Won’t Burn Me” resembles a Jonny Cash sound with his vocals almost echoing out of the speakers. It has an old fashioned feel to it in which his influences show in this cry. “I smiled at you and you smiled right back at me, open like a gift that was both given and received.” Good tune with good lyrics and pace.
”Palestine Hotel” is a solely instrumental song that actually put my mother to sleep. This is a song with portions that intensify and ignite into a smooth guitar sound. Here he displays a patient guitar and pace that represent his hard work with his instrument.
”Bay to Maples” is a song that seems to stem from his home of Berkeley, California. He uses an up and down rhythm that is fresh and smooth. “Let's bring our California coastal melody/Out across that river/Wide and deep” Roberts brings his sound to the northeast and no ones complaining.
Owen Roberts is currently working on his second album ”Bay to Maples” in which most songs are written and partially recorded. He is taking a patient approach to the album mostly to get the right recording and make it worthwhile. A focused and ambitious artist, Roberts will surely make it work. Be sure to visit his website for tour dates in Italy or in the US and also for more information and music on Owen. Roberts is a talented artist with exceptional potential so I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about him soon. Owen Roberts has been heard, now it’s your turn to open your ears.
Set Length: 45min-2.5hrs
Originals from the albums "Unfold" and "Bay to Maples" plus covers of Led Zepplin, Manu Chao, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.