John Shipe
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John Shipe

Grants Pass, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Grants Pass, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Solo Americana Acoustic

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compelling...timeless... chills to the bone. - CD Baby


"...a multitude of delights to be found here." "...a tapestry of music that sounds both complex and simple referencing the Beatles, California harmonies, Nilsson melodies..." - Americana UK


"...a multitude of delights to be found here." "...a tapestry of music that sounds both complex and simple referencing the Beatles, California harmonies, Nilsson melodies..." - Americana UK


"4 out of 5 stars" - Maverick


"Yellow House is a solid example of what heartfelt, DIY indie rock can be. Good songs competently recorded—it's more than you get from most majors these days."

"...engaging, interesting and urgent. Despite some stylistic meandering, the 16-song collection holds together well, primarily on the strength of Shipe's songwriting."

....The record saunters through rock, pop and storytelling. When not part of various bands, Shipe is primarily a solo singer/acoustic guitarist. For Yellow House, though, he throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. In addition to no less than 6 instruments he plays himself, his friends provide vocals, drums, bass, trumpet, glockenspiel and various other noisemakers. While one may expect that to muddy the listen, it has the opposite effect. - Missoula Independent


"Yellow House is a solid example of what heartfelt, DIY indie rock can be. Good songs competently recorded—it's more than you get from most majors these days."

"...engaging, interesting and urgent. Despite some stylistic meandering, the 16-song collection holds together well, primarily on the strength of Shipe's songwriting."

....The record saunters through rock, pop and storytelling. When not part of various bands, Shipe is primarily a solo singer/acoustic guitarist. For Yellow House, though, he throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. In addition to no less than 6 instruments he plays himself, his friends provide vocals, drums, bass, trumpet, glockenspiel and various other noisemakers. While one may expect that to muddy the listen, it has the opposite effect. - Missoula Independent


On his latest record, John Shipe sings of kings and volcanoes, spaceships and a place called “Disneyville.” With a nod to Aretha Franklin, he spells out the title on his song “Self-Respect,” adding the lyrical twist of “find out what I mean to me.” In “Underground Debutante,” Shipe describes a girl with tattoos and piercings all over her skin. In “Coffee House Gig,” he offers encouragement to a budding young singer-songwriter who “keeps it simple so you can’t really tell / She can’t handle the guitar very well.”
Shipe has the perfect voice for the sensitive rock he delivers, backed by his five-piece band. Strong enough to compete with the driving drumbeats of the record, but perceptive enough to convincingly deliver lyrics like “If she can’t paint her masterpiece, she’ll be one.” His refreshing topics seduce your ears, while trumpets and lap steels add variety to the traditional guitar, bass and drum arrangements. - Performing Songwriter Magazine


John Shipe sees the creation of his newest album, John Shipe and The Blue Rebekahs, as the result of an assembly line that his songs rode through a number of creative influences. Over two years, these 13 songs (and countless others), were touched, manipulated and manhandled by a number of Shipe's musical contemporaries — in a good way.
"The nature of the project is slightly odd," Shipe says. "Most albums I've done are reflective of a single creative event. Even if it takes a long time it's still sort of a vision that happened at a certain place in time."
So Shipe wrote his songs, pitched them to his latest support group, The Blue Rebekahs, and waited for the next stage of song-construction to finish.
"This lineup has been really elemental in the sound of the music," he says. "When this group of guys play a song that I've written I get surprised at how different it is than what I heard in my head. Ninety percent of the time it's better."
The result, this time, is an album that falls mostly into a softer indie category but adds a jam band quality with its random horns and harmonicas. There's not really a continuous sound or theme throughout — a result of the somewhat freestyle composing process — but the songs are generally driven by Shipe's palpable, grindy voice.
One track that stands out is "American Wisdon," an angry, satiric message for the flashing lights of stardom in America. "We don't need your metric system/ Your fancy ideas we already dissed 'em/ Flavorful beers we drank and we pissed 'em/ We got our own American wisdom," Shipe sings.
That's not to say that Shipe buys wholly into the cliché that being an independent band is the only way to maintain a healthy dose of artistic freedom. But he recognizes the personal effort it has taken just to keep being a recording artist for over ten years.
"When you're not famous and you're not doing things on other people's money what gets called a music career is basically not much more than your willingness to do your job on a day to day basis," he says. "In a perfect world I would be 22 years old and forming a band with my other friends who are also 22 years old."
Shipe's wrong, though. Nobody cares what 22-year-olds think, so he's better off grinding it out with this group of talented, seasoned musicians. - Eugene Weekly


On his latest record, John Shipe sings of kings and volcanoes, spaceships and a place called “Disneyville.” With a nod to Aretha Franklin, he spells out the title on his song “Self-Respect,” adding the lyrical twist of “find out what I mean to me.” In “Underground Debutante,” Shipe describes a girl with tattoos and piercings all over her skin. In “Coffee House Gig,” he offers encouragement to a budding young singer-songwriter who “keeps it simple so you can’t really tell / She can’t handle the guitar very well.”
Shipe has the perfect voice for the sensitive rock he delivers, backed by his five-piece band. Strong enough to compete with the driving drumbeats of the record, but perceptive enough to convincingly deliver lyrics like “If she can’t paint her masterpiece, she’ll be one.” His refreshing topics seduce your ears, while trumpets and lap steels add variety to the traditional guitar, bass and drum arrangements. - Performing Songwriter Magazine


...John Shipe has a dry sense of humor and the calm attitude of a weathered rock and roll veteran. Several times during our interview, when asked questions about his beginnings in music, he chuckled and said, "It's been a long time."
Although he still looks young to me, age seems to work in his favor. Shipe effortlessly combines old-fashioned rock and roll, pop, folk and funk into his repertoire of over 200 original songs. He has confidence and control in his vocals and manages to be diverse without being scattered.
He first picked up a guitar at the age of eighteen. "I think I played 'Wild Thing' at the prom queen coronation," said Shipe. "That was my first gig. It was the '80s."
Shipe has shared the stage with such greats as Bob Dylan, Cake and Blind Melon. He is currently mixing a movie soundtrack for an independent Eugene film, "Pizza Girl."
His only regret in pursuing music as a profession is a lack of time. "Not having enough time to write songs and rehearse is frustrating," said Shipe. "I'm not famous. I'm not getting money to write or be on tour. I can't get my vision complete. I would love music to be a 9-5 thing."

...I had a chance to talk to John about learning to be quiet, Eric Clapton and modern American music. Pick up his new album John Shipe and the Blue Rebekahs, a unique take on modern folk rock that will make you want to grow a beard and take off on a cross-country road trip on foot.

D: How would you describe your sound?

It depends on what band I'm playing with. The way they sound dictates how the new material sounds. My music evolves pretty steadily. When I'm acoustic, there are more limitations. I try not to fall back on a conventional way to play the guitar. The songs I write are designed around rock music. I have to make it subtler and still get the rhythm across. I think that if you try too hard to be dramatic, you can come off looking like you're competing with your guitar. When you play acoustic you have to learn to be quiet.

D: Who are your influences?

Artists that aren't in music, like filmmakers, painters, writers. I ask myself what they're trying to do and try to find my own way. When I first started it was more like Santana, and Eric Clapton when he was younger. I like the Flaming lips. Portishead and Primus, Radiohead and The White Stripes.

D: What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

With music you sort of want to perform a song in a way the person listening to it feels the same way you did when you were writing the song. It comes full circle.

D: What do you do to make your music different from everyone else's?

I don't know. I don't think it is. It's modern American music. Most artists are deceiving themselves if they think they are groundbreaking. Every band has its own character but musically we are dealing with the same technique and composition.



Nathalie Weinstein, Diversions editor
- The Daily Barometer 1/27/06


...John Shipe has a dry sense of humor and the calm attitude of a weathered rock and roll veteran. Several times during our interview, when asked questions about his beginnings in music, he chuckled and said, "It's been a long time."
Although he still looks young to me, age seems to work in his favor. Shipe effortlessly combines old-fashioned rock and roll, pop, folk and funk into his repertoire of over 200 original songs. He has confidence and control in his vocals and manages to be diverse without being scattered.
He first picked up a guitar at the age of eighteen. "I think I played 'Wild Thing' at the prom queen coronation," said Shipe. "That was my first gig. It was the '80s."
Shipe has shared the stage with such greats as Bob Dylan, Cake and Blind Melon. He is currently mixing a movie soundtrack for an independent Eugene film, "Pizza Girl."
His only regret in pursuing music as a profession is a lack of time. "Not having enough time to write songs and rehearse is frustrating," said Shipe. "I'm not famous. I'm not getting money to write or be on tour. I can't get my vision complete. I would love music to be a 9-5 thing."

...I had a chance to talk to John about learning to be quiet, Eric Clapton and modern American music. Pick up his new album John Shipe and the Blue Rebekahs, a unique take on modern folk rock that will make you want to grow a beard and take off on a cross-country road trip on foot.

D: How would you describe your sound?

It depends on what band I'm playing with. The way they sound dictates how the new material sounds. My music evolves pretty steadily. When I'm acoustic, there are more limitations. I try not to fall back on a conventional way to play the guitar. The songs I write are designed around rock music. I have to make it subtler and still get the rhythm across. I think that if you try too hard to be dramatic, you can come off looking like you're competing with your guitar. When you play acoustic you have to learn to be quiet.

D: Who are your influences?

Artists that aren't in music, like filmmakers, painters, writers. I ask myself what they're trying to do and try to find my own way. When I first started it was more like Santana, and Eric Clapton when he was younger. I like the Flaming lips. Portishead and Primus, Radiohead and The White Stripes.

D: What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

With music you sort of want to perform a song in a way the person listening to it feels the same way you did when you were writing the song. It comes full circle.

D: What do you do to make your music different from everyone else's?

I don't know. I don't think it is. It's modern American music. Most artists are deceiving themselves if they think they are groundbreaking. Every band has its own character but musically we are dealing with the same technique and composition.



Nathalie Weinstein, Diversions editor
- The Daily Barometer 1/27/06


It seems as though John Shipe has been in the local music scene since the days of Lewis and Clark.
Once his bands Mission District and the Renegade Saints ran their respective and respected courses, Shipe began working under his own moniker, releasing two albums. After spending a year in the studio, Shipe has emerged with his double-disc opus, "Pollyanna Loves Cassandra."
Less than a concept album yet more than just a batch of songs, both the "Pollyanna" and the "Cassandra" portions of this ambitious and polished work show Shipe to be a musical chameleon and prove that his band, the Scapegoats, has the chops to navigate the twisting musical terrain.
There are wide paths of assured, guitar-heavy rock, passages of more intimate singer-songwriter fare, playful pokes at rap, jam-outs, some sprite funk, even a visit into Santana's territory, as well as a creative Jimi Hendrix cover.
Vocally and lyrically, Shipe appears to prefer the role of the stoic, somewhat disenchanted commentator, and his poetic and literate prose moves from the personal to the political with grace.
The opening track of "Pollyanna" is a revved-up look at a man consumed by addiction, while the following "Justice" tells of getting one's just deserts and sounds as if it were from a mellowed-out Black Crowes. In addition to social commentary, humor looms large for Shipe and it shines through in "Better Off Without You," in which the narrator tells of his accomplishments (Nobel Peace Prize, curing cancer, dating a ballet dancer) since his break-up, ending with that he's "working on some legislation, trying to make you illegal."
On the "Cassandra" disc, "Surfin' the Shockwave" sounds like a more footloose version of Dave Matthews, "Imitation Man" throws a bit of snazzy jazz into the fold, and "Lightning Rod" strikes a funky groove.
"Pollyanna Loves Cassandra" proves Shipe to be a talented and capable songwriter and musician, albeit one who's inclined to pursue nearly every possible direction at once.
- The Oregonian


It seems as though John Shipe has been in the local music scene since the days of Lewis and Clark.
Once his bands Mission District and the Renegade Saints ran their respective and respected courses, Shipe began working under his own moniker, releasing two albums. After spending a year in the studio, Shipe has emerged with his double-disc opus, "Pollyanna Loves Cassandra."
Less than a concept album yet more than just a batch of songs, both the "Pollyanna" and the "Cassandra" portions of this ambitious and polished work show Shipe to be a musical chameleon and prove that his band, the Scapegoats, has the chops to navigate the twisting musical terrain.
There are wide paths of assured, guitar-heavy rock, passages of more intimate singer-songwriter fare, playful pokes at rap, jam-outs, some sprite funk, even a visit into Santana's territory, as well as a creative Jimi Hendrix cover.
Vocally and lyrically, Shipe appears to prefer the role of the stoic, somewhat disenchanted commentator, and his poetic and literate prose moves from the personal to the political with grace.
The opening track of "Pollyanna" is a revved-up look at a man consumed by addiction, while the following "Justice" tells of getting one's just deserts and sounds as if it were from a mellowed-out Black Crowes. In addition to social commentary, humor looms large for Shipe and it shines through in "Better Off Without You," in which the narrator tells of his accomplishments (Nobel Peace Prize, curing cancer, dating a ballet dancer) since his break-up, ending with that he's "working on some legislation, trying to make you illegal."
On the "Cassandra" disc, "Surfin' the Shockwave" sounds like a more footloose version of Dave Matthews, "Imitation Man" throws a bit of snazzy jazz into the fold, and "Lightning Rod" strikes a funky groove.
"Pollyanna Loves Cassandra" proves Shipe to be a talented and capable songwriter and musician, albeit one who's inclined to pursue nearly every possible direction at once.
- The Oregonian


...The song that ripped me so mercilessly out of my daydream, the song that I love so much I've listened to over and over again, is "If You Were Me," the fifth track on the first album, Pollyanna, of John Shipe & the Scapegoats' new double CD, "Pollyanna Loves Cassandra."
This isn't a time when I've listened to yet another band's unoriginal crap and before I say what I really think, I'm desperately trying to find just one good thing to talk about. Nope. This song has made it to my favorites list. And a few others are close runners up.
It's totally unique, completely original. It's kind of Latin, kind of funk, kind of reggae, kind of Santana. The guitar riff weaves in and out of the bass lines and rhythm section, and the lyrics have a bitter sharp edge...
...Overall, Pollyanna Loves Cassandra is good, better than most. Throughout the moody, intense 31-song journey you can hear Shipe and his crew brushing up against an original sound, teasing you with the potential of something really unique. Over and over again, they break the chains of average rock that hold them down and keep them sounding jsut like everyone else, and soar into moments of sheer brilliance.
It's those surprises, those twists that go right when you expect the song to go left, melodies that pop up our of nowhere and suck you in, lyrics that suddenly grip and make you reweind and turn up the volume, that make Pollyanna Loves Cassandra worth your hard-earned cash...
- The Source Weekly (Bend, OR)


John Shipe never really left; he just morphs from one recording project to another. Eugene’s Shipe has made a career of creating music that straddles the line between rock and pop, from his earliest days with Nine Days Wonder and Renegade Saints to his many other manifestations. Shipe’s strength has always been his lyrical ingenuity and his genre-straddling ability. On his new solo CD,Yellow House, he continues to show his strength as a fiercely independent songwriter while also collaborating with some of his dear friends.
Yellow House was recorded in his home studio and features performances by several of Shipe’s friends and his wife. It’s fitting that Shipe will debut this collaborative effort with a show that includes lots of help from friends and past bandmates.
At Friday’s CD release show Portland indie rockers The Dimes will warm up the crowd along with reunions of Shipe’s old bands The Blue Rebekahs and The Scapegoats (featuring members of Salt Lick, Dan Jones and the Squids and Eleven Eyes). Shipe himself will be joined onstage by friends Ehren Ebbage and Jerry “Groove” Abelin.
Shipe finds beauty in the mundane and sings lilting melodies with a lovelorn voice. He can sing about real-life angels taking flight, casually reference pop culture and sing about being “an elegant failure” in a way that creates a totally endearing portrait of the artist as a young man with a sturdy heart that exists just outside of the boundaries. Yellow House includes touches of country, baroque-sounding glockenspiel, backwoods-y soul, horns and wry observations, all of which combine to make Yellow House perhaps his greatest recording ever. Why Shipe hasn’t received more mainstream attention I don’t know, but this album should put to rest any doubts about his talents. John Shipe, The Dimes, The Blue Rebekahs and The Scapegoats play at 9:30 pm Friday, May 30, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. $5. — Vanessa Salvia
- Eugene Weekly


...The song that ripped me so mercilessly out of my daydream, the song that I love so much I've listened to over and over again, is "If You Were Me," the fifth track on the first album, Pollyanna, of John Shipe & the Scapegoats' new double CD, "Pollyanna Loves Cassandra."
This isn't a time when I've listened to yet another band's unoriginal crap and before I say what I really think, I'm desperately trying to find just one good thing to talk about. Nope. This song has made it to my favorites list. And a few others are close runners up.
It's totally unique, completely original. It's kind of Latin, kind of funk, kind of reggae, kind of Santana. The guitar riff weaves in and out of the bass lines and rhythm section, and the lyrics have a bitter sharp edge...
...Overall, Pollyanna Loves Cassandra is good, better than most. Throughout the moody, intense 31-song journey you can hear Shipe and his crew brushing up against an original sound, teasing you with the potential of something really unique. Over and over again, they break the chains of average rock that hold them down and keep them sounding jsut like everyone else, and soar into moments of sheer brilliance.
It's those surprises, those twists that go right when you expect the song to go left, melodies that pop up our of nowhere and suck you in, lyrics that suddenly grip and make you reweind and turn up the volume, that make Pollyanna Loves Cassandra worth your hard-earned cash...
- The Source Weekly (Bend, OR)


Discography

Villain (2011)
"Hands down among the best." (Northwest Indie Music News)

Yellow House (2008)
"4 out of 5 stars." (Maverick)
"...more than what you get from the majors these days." (Missoula Independent)
"...lyrical ingenuity...his greatest recording ever...should put to rest any doubts..." (Eugene Weekly)

John Shipe & The Blue Rebekahs (2005)
Collaborative release with Eugene Indie-Rock musicians.
“…smart, well-crafted, and sonically interesting.” (The Register Guard, Eugene)
“Shipe has the perfect voice… Refreshing topics seduce your ears”(Performing Songwriter)

The John Shipe Song Clearance (2004)
Retrospective of acoustic tunes from Shipe’s un-released vault.
“I love the Song Clearance… My favorite male vocalist…” (Dori Donoho KLRR fm Bend, OR)

Pollyanna Loves Cassandra (2003)
31- song double CD
“An explosion of creativity.” (The Register Guard)

A Stealthy Portion (2000)
Live “unplugged” album continued to chart as high as #2 in the Oregonian (Portland, OR) for several years.
“…a unique take on modern folk-rock…breaks away from the mold long enough to indulge in almost early-prog moments…” (Performing Songwriter)
“…vocal confidence with thick intensity that never falters.” (Willamette Week)
“…powerful songwriting…stunning acoustic trio…nothing short of mesmerizing.” (Salem Statesman Journal)
“…always observant with a keen eye for honesty, melody, and relevance.” (Eugene Weekly)

Sudden And Merciless Joy (1998)
Diverse rock album remained on Oregonian chart for nearly three years (hovering at #2). Several songs rotated on fifty-plus radio stations, charting (Gavin, CMJ).
“…besides having a fine voice and guitar skills, he can write an album this versatile without being schizophrenic… a solid package.” (Register Guard)
“…catchy, punchy, and it rocks…” (The Rocket, Portland)

Fear of the Sky (1994)
With previous band The Renegade Saints. Independently sold 5,000 copies throughout NW, SF Bay area, Northern Great Plains, and Deep South. All six Shipe tunes received radio airplay.

Photos

Bio

Shipe's latest 2 CD's "Yellow House" (2008) & "Villain" (2011) charted F.A.R. in America, Europe, and New Zealand. Critics gushed. (No. 1 on Radio Marabu Hot Rotation)
Twice reviewed favorably by Performing Songwriter Magazine. (remarkable vocalist and songsmithbreaks away from the mold.) Fans contort themselves guessing what the influences are--King Crimson & The Beatles? Portishead & Jeff Buckley? (But Shipe is long past thinking about them.) 36 songs have gotten airplay over a dozen years. Triple A radio finds a song or two from each album for airplay. College radio may also finds a cool indie-rock opus. But Shipe's body of work is always off-genre. (Like sophisticated garage pop, or garagified-Artrock, Shipe-music is described as "cinematic.") Once opened for Bob Dylan. Shared the bill with Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Cake, Tower of Power, Jerry Joseph, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Jimmy Cliff, Derek Trucks, Los Lobos, Hootie & the Blowfish. The synthesis of seasoned songwriting and sonic intrigue pumps on both the brain and the gut.
John Shipe threatened to kill me once in one of his songs. But his vocal production and melodies were so bad-ass I didnt even bother getting a restraining order. HE IS THAT GOOD!--
Shane Michael Cook, KLRR 101.7, Bend, Or

Band Members