J Shogren Shanghai'd
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J Shogren Shanghai'd

Centennial, Wyoming, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1986 | INDIE

Centennial, Wyoming, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1986
Solo Americana Alternative


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"Renaissance Man: Jason Shogren is a Nobel Prize winner, up-and-coming Wyoming musician"

...Shogren has become a staple of the Wyoming music scene in recent years. He is a common sight onstage at festivals like NoWoodstock, What Fest and Snowy Range. In 2012, the band won the Wyoming Blues Challenge, going on to represent the Cowboy State at the International Blue Challenge in Memphis. And earlier this year, Shogren and his band joined Jalan Crossland and Screen Door Porch on the three-state, 14-show WYOmericana tour.

“He has singular vision of what he’s doing musically. He sounds like Jay,” Crossland said. “It seems to be a mix of Zepplin-esque rock and old style blues and folk music.” - Casper Star Tribune

"Touring, the ‘Wyoming Way’"

Besides Ms. Rose and her entrepreneurial gumption, the Wyoming caravan had the advantage of a renowned numbers man on board. When he’s not growling the lyrics to irreverent tunes like “Hand Grenade” (“When my Tommy-gun starts burpin’ Satan will be a-hurtin’ ”) Jason Shogren, the lead singer and songwriter in J Shogren Shanghai’d (the latter term a reference to how he strong-arms musicians into his band), holds down a day job as chairman of the economics department at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie. An expert on biodiversity and climate change, he prefers to tinker with equations more relevant to what he considers his real job.

“You know how many hits you need on Spotify to make the minimum wage each month?” he asks, referring to the popular music downloading service. “More than four million.”

More impressively, he’s among the few pop musicians who have been party to a Nobel Peace Prize. After serving a year in the Clinton White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Mr. Shogren was appointed to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, which shared a Nobel with Al Gore in 2007. He was deemed a party to the award along with 2,500 others who have served on the panel. “I’ve got the little plastic keychain thingy with a picture of Alfred Nobel to prove it,” he said. “But I was never invited to any party.” - New York Times

"americana at its best"

Blending more styles than we can list here Shogren somehow ties it all together for his own unique sound. Thoughtful and larger than life songs set to a hard acoustic background make for some exciting listening. He’s traveled the world and the stories are plentiful in these grooves. At the end of the day though it’s Americana at its best.
- Village Records

"Split the difference between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan..."

Split the difference between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, and while you won't have everything you need to know about J Shogren (no period after the initial, I gather), you will have at least a place to start.

Shogren -- who even bears a vague physical resemblance to him -- has Cohen's mordant wit. Cohen could have written lines such as "Every man's Aristotle when he's drunk" and "I'll be a hand grenade for Jesus." Shogren, too, has a foot in the soil of traditional American music, sharing ground with Dylan. Like Dylan, he writes his own songs even as he nods to or winks at others. Here it's old songs like "John Henry," "Keep the Skillet Good & Greasy" and -- wonderfully -- "My Name is John Johnson."

"His adventures have taken him," it says here, "from days as a trapper to an endowed professor." He lives in Wyoming but is also an academic in Sweden. We may be confident that no other singer-songwriter claims a comparable resume. From this diverse biography he has fashioned American Holly, his second album; I haven't heard the first.

Though endearingly odd, it is also not a little disorienting. A part of that owes to the distinctive production, bringing to psychic eye and ear the sepia tones, in the first instance, of 19th-century American-village photography and, in the second, of the small-town folk orchestras so often captured in those pictures. Or this could be a lost America in a parallel universe.

If Shogren and his band summon up ghosts, they are not necessarily of persons once extant in the earthly flesh. The powerful opening cut, also the title song, is set in a war-ravaged landscape that one at first presumes to be a Civil War battlefield but whose geography and circumstance become ever less fixed, notwithstanding the singer's repeated, insistent reference to "American Holly." A woman? Something else?

A warning to those seeking easy pleasures:

In some ways Shogren's recording is a demanding one, not always suited to casual listening. At 17 cuts this is, in my estimation anyway, three or four too long. Still, even the occasional slow patch rewards the patient pilgrim, and it helps if you keep in mind that Shogren is far more the professor than the trapper. His vision of a frontier world is a metaphysical, not a physical, one, where the familiar always manages to stay just out of focus. Shogren takes a host of recognizable images and influences and turns them deeply strange. - Rambles.net

"J. SHOGREN has a voice ..."

“J. SHOGREN has a voice that’s a bit gravely and rough-hewn. Americana can absorb that if the songs hold up, and on “American Holly” (Jaha!, c/o jshogren.com), they do just that. The opener, the album’s title cut, is obviously meant to be the “single,” but it was the third cut, “Everyman,” that caught my “ear.” As the CD glides along, it really started to reach me. The songs are catchy in a folky singer-songwriter pop kind of way, with melody lines that stay with the listener. There is really nice horn work here, like where they counterpoint with the banjo in “Holes.” Another piece that caught my attention was a sort of revisioning of “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” with the biting “Hand Grenade” (“I’ll be a hand grenade for Jesus / And spread His word like shrapnel”). It is also amusing (or can be seen as such) that a “women is bad” song like “Relativity” is followed by the romantic “She’s With Me.” While many of his songs are poignant, it is his closing number that touched me the most in my life right now, “Come All This Way.” The Quiet Corner by Robert Barry Francos - The Quiet Corner


God Bless these Crooked little Songs (2012) (JAHA4)


Bird Bones & Muscle (2010)

American Holly (2008)

Jahamericana (2007)

JAHA! records
PO Box 136
Centennial WY 82055



J Shogren Shanghai'd

Catawumpus American Music 

J Shogren Shanghai'd plays hard acoustic music from lives lived in loud proportions. Their style of pulp americana is a modern interpretation of traditional music: an amalgamation of roots, popular, blues, old timey, folk, country/western, jazz, vaudeville, rockabilly, ballads, and polka. Their varied sound has a raw vitality reminiscent of old dancehall music filtered through a contemporary dissonant transmitter.

"J Shogren bears the same approximate relationship to traditional music that the latter Bob Dylan does, namely as the major point of reference, not quite the thing itself...Like Dylan, Shogren is an intellectual dealing in pop music. He's funny, but the jokes are wry and subtle, drawn from a wide range of high and low cultural references....Like traditional music itself, Shogren's songs occupy their own other world." J Clark (US)  http://www.rambles.net/shogren_bird10.html

"Brilliant storyteller from Wyoming. Hard Boiled, sometimes dark humorous stories delivered with a voice that clearly have lived through them." Lennart Persson (SWE) Rootsy

Band Members