Mike Shaw
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Mike Shaw

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Friday, October 08, 2004
CINDY PEEK
News staff writer

What: Christian pop. The musician is from Birmingham.

Personnel: Mike Shaw, vocals. "We have a very tribal approach to live gigs," Shaw says. "When something's going on, I call a bunch of folks and we see who can play and we make it happen. I'm blessed to have some really great musicians on the team. The core team is Rodney Reaves (of Wayne) on guitar, Jacob Bunton (of Lynam) on everything, Drew Belk on bass and/or guitar, Fonda Kirkland on backgrounds, and Jennifer Mosley on backgrounds. However, there are tons of other folks who jump in from time to time."

Where you'll see him: The musician will hit the stage Oct. 30 at Canaan Baptist Church's fall festival in Bessemer.

Disc: Shaw released "New Songs and Hymn Reconstruction" last year. It's available at most local Christian stores and on a few Internet sites, including cdbaby.com. A new song, "Belong," can also be downloaded via his Web site.

Inspiring music: "Frequent journal writing," Shaw says. "Bible study. Reading SciFi movies and novels. Political economic theory. But in the end, it all points to Christ, and that's where the music comes from."

Most requested songs: "`Come Thou Fount,' a remake of a hymn, is probably the favorite among people who grew up in church," Shaw says. `Praise You' is heard by quite a few people on their way to work. `Wake Them Up' is probably the catchiest and the one that has gotten most radio play. We try to make them all good and it's always interesting to see what people like."

First steps to music: "Sixth grade maybe," Shaw says. "I was in a musical in middle school."

What to expect: "A very laid back acoustic thing, usually," Shaw says. "And a bunch of rambling from me. Very informal musical Bible study. It's much better than `Cats.' You'll want to see it again and again."

Cover me: "Our covers are all over 100 years old," Shaw says. "The hymns we remade are the closest thing to covers. We tried to approach them as if we were writing that song today. Some ended up roughly the same, others are radically different. It's pretty funny to think of someone zipping along in an SUV listening to a 100 year old song originally written by someone named `Fannie.'"

How it's unique: "Well, I never start out saying `let's write a Christian song,'" Shaw says. "My walk with Christ is who I am and hopefully it comes out that way. Sometimes, it's extremely overt, like in the remakes of hymns I grew up with. Other times it's a more subtle reflection like in `To Be.' I think this is a very different approach than most Christian music these days. The other thing is we produced them to be absolutely listenable. We didn't want the CD to ever leave a CD player. This is, of course, an impossible goal, but I know many people who still frequently listen to the project over a year later. And many people have bought multiple copies for friends, relatives, clients, etc. As a result, I think the tunes become a truly unique Chris-centered listening experience."

What he hopes to accomplish: "I'd like to do a disc that is sent out to thousands of missionaries and charity workers in the U.S. and all over the world," Shaw says. "Completely free of charge. In the Old Testament, they would send out the Choir before a battle. Missionaries are on the front lines and need the power of music more than anyone. Other than that, when I'm no longer on this hunk o' dirt, I want to leave a bunch of good tunes that will live on. Like the writers of great hymns did."

Claim to fame: Shaw was on the agenda at this year's City Stages. He has also opened for gospel musician Michael English.

Fans: "I get e-mails from all over the world," Shaw says. "People of all kinds. I also have lots of friends at my home church, Hunter Street Baptist. I don't want them to be fans of me. I want them to be fans of the music and what it's about. The best compliment I can get is about the music, because that's where the meaning is."

Off stage: "I work in computer security, which makes me a complete computer geek," Shaw says. "I collect old computers. I fix people's virus and spyware infected machines. I do have some hipness genes though, my Web site is becoming quite a hobby. I try to update it daily."

In 10 years: "Hopefully spinning in CD players," Shaw says. "Or mp3 players? Super holomographic multichannel brainjack thingies? Who knows what they'll have then. I just know it's fun making music. It's what I'm supposed to do, and as long as the opportunity presents itself that's what I'll do."

Web site: www.mikeshaw.net.

Cindy Peek profiles music groups, especially those in the Magic City area. Send information to Peek at The Birmingham News, The Galleries at Riverchase, 3075 Hwy. 150, Suite R, Hoover, AL; fax to 325-3276 or e-mail cpeek@bhamnews.com. - Newspaper


Despite being mistakenly introduced as Mark Shaw and having a microphone die in mid-song, Mike Shaw delivered a solid set of power-pop contemporary Christian. Shaw's performance on the 107.7 the X locals stage was complimented by the airy backup vocals of Fonda Kirkland. Guitarist Jacob Bunton earned bonus retro-cool points by sporting a Stryper T-shirt.

- Jim Dunn - Newspaper


Though the name Stryper should be burned into your heads forever as something to avoid, Christian lyrics don't necessarily mean bad music. Shaw's music is strong enough that it's easy to miss that the lyrics are part of his ministry, so don't avoid this set just because you're afraid of weak melodies and cheesy acoustic guitars. Mike Shaw's music, blessings be, doesn't have either. - Indie Newspaper


Culture clash
With so many different types of people flooding into downtown tonight, there's a decidedly different mood at each stage.
Hinder, an Oklahoma-based rock band, kicked things off on the Star 99.1/Rocket 95.1 stage with an R-rated set featuring crunching guitars and plenty of adrenaline.
"We got anybody gettin' drunk out there?" the lead singer howled at one point, drawing an approving roar from a mostly teenage crowd dressed in vintage rock T-shirts. Pink Floyd. Metallica. Guns N' Roses.
A couple hundred yards away, Mike Shaw was entertaining a much more mellow crowd at the First Baptist stage and plugging the Bible.

"The hymns are awesome tributes and testaments to what God can do," he said between songs. - Steve Doyle


Alabama’s Mike Shaw has hit the CCM nail on the head. His bright, infectious pop music serves the dual purpose of being catch, but never preachy. Like that delicious butter substitute, listeners will find themselves proclaiming, “I can’t believe it’s not secular pop!� - CNet


Discography

Mike is currently working on an untitled EP set for release in early 2010.

In 2007, Mike released the his 2nd project called "Song for Our Life". It features over the top pop, quiet acoustic, piano, classic rock, and some bluegrass thrown in for good measure.

New Songs and Hymn Reconstruction was released in 2003.

Projects are avalable at www.cdbaby.com, iTunes, and most major digital stores.

Photos

Bio

Mike is a singer/songwriter from Birmingham, AL. He is married with two kids, Melodi (10) and Canon (5). He is active at A2 Church in Vestavia, AL where he frequently works with the music.

Mike grew up singing in choirs and ensembles, and heard just about every voice lesson his mother taught to her 300+ students. In college, he played and sang in a couple secular bands.

When the fun of college turned into the seriousness of family and career, Mike realized just how powerful music is.

"I was driving down the road and spontaneously started singing a song that I sang many years ago in high school. I immediately recommitted myself to my Christian life. It was then I realized the spiritual power of God's gift called music."

Mike's music ministry is an effort to use this power in the way it should be--for the Glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.