Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers
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Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Country

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"Honkytonk Brooklyn Style is what this Genre Needs"

Put on your cowboy boots (or take them off) for our favorite love song "Moonlight Eyes" - Playgirl


"Torchbearers of Urban Twang"

They call their music "Hi-Octane Honkytonk" and that sounds just about right! Mr Kershaw's energy carries the show...
More at www.myspace.com/seankershawandramblers
- New York Times


"Best of 2004"

Try Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers' raucous Sunday night parties at Hank's Saloon... - New York Magazine


"Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers at Banjo Jim's, NYC 4/24/08"


Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers aren't exactly under the radar, maintaining a hectic gig schedule in addition to the regular Sunday night residency they've been playing at Hank's for what seems forever. They're a rotating crew of some of the best players in town: the weekly Sunday show originated out of necessity, as this was the only night everybody in the band didn't have a gig. Tonight, backed by just lead guitar and upright bass (their awe-inspiring pedal steel player Bob Hoffnar wasn't available, and you really don't need drums in a small room like Banjo Jim's), Kershaw ran through a mix of what sounded like covers but probably weren't. The guy's a hell of a songwriter, a prolific, versatile writer as comfortable with western swing as honkytonk, rockabilly or stark, Johnny Cash-inspired narratives. Tonight's show was the western swing show, driven by the lead guitarist whose ability to burn through a whole slew of styles was nothing short of spectacular, everything from jazz to rockabilly to blues. He made it seem effortless. They gamely ran through the old standard Smoke That Cigarette in addition to a bunch of originals, some recorded, some not, closing the first of their two sets with what has become Kershaw's signature song, Moonlight Eyes. Originally recorded with his first band, the fiery, rockabilly unit the Blind Pharaohs, it's a genuine classic, something that sounds like a Carl Perkins hit from 1956. Kershaw has played it a million times, but still manages to make it sound fresh, the ominous undercurrent beneath its blithe romantic sway more apparent than ever tonight, stripped down to just the basics.
- Lucid Culture


"Thank God he’s a country boy! Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers"

On a cold night in Brooklyn, with an almost-full moon shining in the sky, the Coney Island Cowboy-- resplendent in black jeans, a black leather vest, a cowboy hat that looked like it had outlived quite a few cowboys and $35 second-hand yellow snakeskin boots--came to Hank's Saloon to dispense country-western justice…yee-haw! Sean Kershaw is a country-western lead singer/guitarist of the old-school: he drinks Jameson's whiskey on the rocks, before, during and after the set. He manhandles, Daria, the personable female bartender/sound-person when his microphone takes a dive during the performance. [1] He keeps his talented band, the New Jack Ramblers, in check during their pulsing, driving performance, and then with the élan of a much-larger celebrity, makes sure to thank the band: "Oh, I'm so flattered to play with these guys."

Is Sean Kershaw, like all talented lead singers, a little difficult to love ? Sure, but who ever said it'd be easy to make great country-western music in the United States of Brooklyn? As grizzled regular, Lou said, in between frequent trips to the toilet, "I love you, Sean…you're a pain in the ass, but I love you." Listen, it's not all groupies and coverage in Playgirl Magazine[2]. Sean laughed ruefully noting, " As a kid, I used to shovel s**t in stables, way out in the boonies, listening to punk, and now I play country-western in Brooklyn, and trust me, the irony is not lost on me. "

Sean Kershaw, a self-identified "army brat" has come a long way from his first "baptism by fire", learning how to play music on the streets of New Orleans, when he only knew—and knew "badly"—two songs. Sean was just looking to make the grandiose sum of $1.35 for a slice of pepperoni pizza and a soda. Standing on the street corner, with each song lasting under a minute, Sean taught himself a third song on the spot, and in the process probably drove a few of the local residents insane. But: after he went on to earn more than $35, he celebrated with a beer and the taste for the full-bodied pleasure of living off the price of one's talent.

So where did he get a love for country music? Sean grew up in small towns across this country, in Texas, in the Pacific Northwest and New Orleans, and is the first adult male in his family to not enlist in the military since the American Revolutionary War, and he certainly listened to different types of music as a kid. But it was in NYC, in the late 1980s, when Sean was drinking in the East Village's old hard-core bars—remember when the East Village actually was hardcore? No, of course you don't.—and listening to the bars' jukeboxes, that he truly became a country-western devotee. Sean went to those bars to hear punk music, but these bars also had jukeboxes stocked with 45s of such country legends as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard. And Sean, over the course of "zillions" of drunken nights, listened to the country music, until he really started listening to the music. The music of longing, heartbreak and aspiration.


In the late 1990s, Sean and some friends with a similar musical orientation started The Blind Pharaohs—self-described as "stoner psychobilly"—playing mainly original songs. The group stopped playing at Hank's in late September 2001, and the New Jack Ramblers, a side project focusing on vintage country covers, started up. Sean used his time with the New Jack Ramblers as an opportunity to start writing his own songs, because country music, after all, is music that perhaps one needs a bit of life's gritty lessons to truly appreciate. The Blind Pharaohs still continue to perform here in NYC and up and down the East coast, and in 2005 they made an album, Moonburn (2005, available on seankershaw.com),

Kershaw meanwhile was focusing the force of his personality on his own music.Country music being, after all, the reason Sean "gets out of bed in the morning, and keeps [him] out of bed till late at night." The twanging music, and the approximately 140 shows he performs each year, are the reasons he hustles all his other anti-day jobs; that driving music is the reason why Sean stands in front of a small house at Hank's Saloon and the resident trannies, playing Pac-Man; senior citizens with their enlarged prostates and middle-aged groupies thick with slathered on make-up, reeking of pot. The music...the music.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit that I have fairly catholic tastes in music…and life. I'm a fan of that old-school, blue-collar, bible-belt, take-this-job-and-shove-it country music; of Loretta singing about being on the pill, of Johnny Cash's cocaine blues, of Hank and Merle.Notice please that I'm not talking about today's country music stars, who like the rest of the music industry, continually de-evolve into a reality show of larger-than-life weaves, Photoshop and Disney emotions, playing on an endless loop in some bingo parlor in Norman, OK.

No, the cheap, fast music—as effective as a Saturday night special us - NY Examiner 11-18-08


Discography

*Full-length CD "Coney Island Cowboy" out Aug 26 '09
*1 track on compilation CD "This is Brooklyn Country Vol 1"
*1 track on "The Sound of Asphalt" music documentary soundtrack
*Pending release of CD-EP "The Aussie Sessions", 7 new tracks recorded at Hailstone Studio near Melbourne, Australia

Photos

Bio

Brooklyn-based music artist Sean Kershaw, whose swaggering, “high-octane honky-tonk” (New York Times) has thrilled and seduced audiences from New York to L.A. and beyond, is releasing a long-anticipated EP, The Aussie Sessions, scheduled to drop in the States on December 7, 2013.
Recorded in Melbourne, Australia at Hailstone Studio — an apropos recording space for Kershaw’s roughhewn country-rockabilly that doubles as a greaser workshop and contains a '65 Ford pickup, shovelhead chopper and collection of vintage amps — the album comprises seven original compositions featuring a more retro rock ‘n’ roll sound than Sean’s previous musical ventures. Recorded live, Kershaw was backed by Justin Rudge on guitar, Sweet Felicia on bass and backup vocals, and Scott Bennett on drums. Paulie Bignell, who was The Aussie Sessions’ recording engineer, also contributed a guitar solo.
Kershaw is slated to embark on a promotional tour of the United Kingdom supporting the album early next spring. However, audiences here at home can purchase the EP and experience the new songs when Sean plays the Way Station in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, on the December 7th date of release.
The Aussie Sessions is just the latest musical trek in the journey of The Coney Island Cowboy (the title of Kershaw’s acclaimed debut CD). While Kershaw’s lead vocals and rhythm guitar suggest the whisky-soaked angst of Hank Williams Sr., a gritty brand of rockabilly that drives restless boots straight to the dance floor. It was a writer for Playgirl magazine who, after listening to the single “Moonlight Eyes,” Kershaw’s most popular recording to date, observed that those same boots might sooner be kicked off and placed under a lover’s bed. Coney Island Cowboy enjoyed regular airplay in the U.S., Australia and Europe upon its release.
A lifelong wanderer born in Baltimore and raised in a military family, Kershaw has lived overseas and all over the continental U.S. Early in his career, Kershaw embraced the road by busking throughout the country. Starting out in New Orleans, he headed west to play in Los Angeles and San Francisco, went north up to Seattle, back across to Chicago and St. Louis, and eventually settled in New York.
It was in Brooklyn that Kershaw became a driving force if not the face of a growing country music scene, spurring notices in various high profile media outlets such as the New York Post, New York magazine and Time Out New York, and eventually becoming the cover story of a Village Voice article dedicated to Brooklyn country.
From 1996 through 2003, Kershaw played with a band called the Blind Pharaohs. The rockabilly group developed a plugged-in and loyal following touring up and down the East Coast. However, by 2007, having written and continuing to hone a host of original country and rockabilly songs, “Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers” became Sean’s main musical vehicle.
Depending on the venue, Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers scale up or down in players, and feature Sean on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, an upright bass, lead guitarist, drums, pedal steel, and occasionally keyboards, banjo, fiddle and the mandolin.
“Audiences that respond to mainstream country music will readily hear the influences of Johnny Cash, jump blues and western swing in the New Jack Ramblers,” stated Sean Kershaw. “But it’s the remnants of my background as a punk rocker, and the strange, unexpected tales our songs tell that subvert country purists’ expectations and appeal to an even broader, often younger audience. The new set of songs from The Aussie Sessions brings yet another dimension to our sound,” continued Kershaw.