Shane Alexander
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Shane Alexander

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Independent artists are beginning to take over the musical landscape of the modern day recording industry and Shane Alexander is leading the way with his latest effort, The Sky Below. As I make a mental note of the sonic quality of this record mixed with the brilliant lyricism and professional instrumentation, I begin to question why an artist this respectable is independently funding his own career. Major label deal or not, Alexander is making a name for himself.

Bassist Chad Crawford does a great job of musically setting the mood of this album and it is ever-so-evident in the groovy, “Homesick Again“, that features a sick bass line and stylistic Rhodes piano. The standout song is the melodic-love-piece, opening track, “Amsterdam“. “I can still see you standing there as the leaves fell down on old Dam Square with endless eyes and windy hair you turned my world around.” (listen in player below)

Usually I am bombarded with emails from garage bands asking me to review their album, but this time I actually contacted Shane to ask for a press kit and a copy of his latest album. I have no interest in wasting your time with marginal talent and The Sky Below is no exception. The title track, “The Sky Below“, a Simon & Garfunkel-ish folk tune with a Blackbird-esque metronome, and the last song, “Feels Like The End“, are definite downloads and worth every penny at .99 cents each. Do your ears a favor and buy this album. You won’t regret it.

- That's So Fetch


Having just come back from touring in Europe, singer songwriter Shane Alexander, the former frontman of Los Angeles band Damone, will (heads up) play Tuesday night at Troubadour. Although he has been compared to the likes of Jack Johnson, James Blunt and Damien Rice, Alexander holds his own with a unique blend of raw melodies, soft vocals, haunting background harmonies and complex guitar parts.

After leaving Damone in 2003 Alexander immediately launched his solo career with his first album, the independently produced and distributed, The Middle Way (2005). Soon after, he released his second album, Stagazer, produced by Heroes and Villians, it is a Jeff Buckleyesque journey through lonely hotel rooms and lost love. Most notably, songs from Stargazer have been popping up all over the radar- the song “Little Woman” was featured on ABC’s hit TV series What About Brian, and the songs “Shipwrecked” and “Ride the Tides” can be heard by tuning into MTV’s The Real World and Laguna Beach series. XM Radio has even joined in on the fun by putting “The Open Road” into rotation.

Shane performs Tuesday night @ 9pm at Troubadour...Read on after the jump for my interview with him.

Photo courtesy of Shane Alexander


How was Europe?
Great. I was in four countries in two and a half weeks. I toured with a fabulous Dutch songwriter named Dennis Kolen and his band backed me up also. The shows went really well and I was pleased to see my music still continuing to grow there - I had a national newspaper in Holland do a nice story on me and had a handful of national radio stations get behind my new record.

How did you get so big in Netherlands and Belgium?
Well, to be honest, I was lucky to meet the right people. When I put out my first record, The Middle Way, I sent it over to a few stations and webzines and it just caught on. I got some great press right away, which led to my distribution deal with Lucky Dice Music - who distribute my records in Holland and Belgium. My first tour to Holland
(I just finished my third) was a complete success and I was fortunate to play many of the best rooms in the country. I also got a good slot at the Roots of Heaven festival, which helped to raise my profile. Also, (Netherlands) Playboy magazine gave me really lovely four star reviews to both records - which was fantastic.

What is your song writing process like?
I need a quiet house and some free hours to really try to get the floodgates to open. I tour around the world and meet people and experience things and come home and wait for them to re-emerge in lyrical form. I usually have the music first, get some kind of an emotion from it, and the lyrics come last.

What is your favorite LA venue to play? Your favorite to see shows at?
I would have to say the Troubadour, although it's been a while since I've played there - I am playing there with my band plus strings on April 10th. I also like the Hotel Cafe and Largo. To see a show - The Greek, hands down. I WILL PLAY THE GREEK!!

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations?
The first few that come to mind - Neil Young for his honesty, longevity and creative integrity. U2 for their emotional impact on an audience...Ron Sexsmith for his beautiful songs and every-man demeanor.

How do you feel about Los Angeles, where do you find inspiration in this
city? I truly love LA and think of it as home. There is so much culture and there are so many colorful, artistic people all around me - I just need to walk down the street to become inspired.

What is it like to hear your songs on TV?
For the most part, I love it. Occasionally, I will feel like they missed the point of the lyric - but mostly I am just grateful to have my music reaching millions of people!

What is next for you?
Onward and upward. As an indie, I have to be very proactive - I will be touring in the states and abroad through the summer and I hope to have my next recorded this autumn. I set a goal to perform in at least three new countries this year. Belgium was the first - I hope to play in Wales, Japan and Germany by the end of the year. I just want to see my audience continue to grow - so next time we can do this from backstage at The Greek...
- Corey Podell


Shane Alexander (MySpace) sent me (and a few of my friends, as it turns out) a message on MySpace regarding his upcoming show at the Lipstick Lounge this Sunday. Somehow, in the blur of messages that ensued, I agreed to give his newest album, "Stargazer," a listen. If I deemed it worthy, I would plug his show.

After all, it will be his very first time in Nashville. I felt bad for him. There are a lot of good shows that night.

After listening to the album, I would like to announce that Shane Alexander is totally plug-worthy.

Alexander has some great session musicians on the record, and the very name-dropping of the stars they've worked with would make my sense of decency crumple under the weight. You can read all about it if you click on the links I gave you.

Alexander didn't waste any time recording the album, sealing the deal in four days. Maybe this is why the album itself doesn't waste any time getting started. The first track, "Spaces in Between," starts out with a tight beat and a sweet melody. This sets the precedent for the rest of the album, save for folky treats like "Big Red Love" and "Front Porch Serenade."

Almost immediately, I thought, "wow, he reminds me of Jack Johnson." It's not that he relies on a Jack Johnson brand of sound, but he does have that same rich and sweet vocal quality. There are also a lot of references to the ocean on this album, but they are right where they belong. The album itself rolls in and out, and it will carry you away if you'll let it.


Lyrically, Alexander has a few stories to tell. He's not so much in the raw emotion business as he is in the story-weaving business.

At first listen, not all of the stories provide an easy access point.

This is where the music and the genius comes in. It slinks around until it finds an entry point, usually right around the heart somewhere. Once you, the listener, let the music wear you down, you'll find that it bridges the gaps between Alexander and you. It's a lifeline, and it pulls you in to listening range, to a place where you're ready to hear what must be said.

So, Shane, Welcome to Nashville. "Stargazer" has passed the test. It's a good album. At times it's folky, at times it's poppy, at times it has organ, and at times it's straight dreamy. It's a great driving album, a great napping album, and even a great "sunny day in Nashville" album.

Anyway, on to the plug. You know you can't get into the sold out James Morrison show like me, so why not hit this one?
- Tha Nashville Feed


Last night I found myself at Hollywood’s Roxy music venue listening to the sweet whispery sounds of singer songwriter Shane Alexander, who many in the music industry believe is on the brink of stardom. His Jeff Buckley-esque quality and relaxed stage presence drew the eagerly awaiting crowd into his soulful and seemingly effortless set.
Although compared to solo artists Jack Johnson, James Blunt and Damien Rice as well as bands like Keane and Coldplay, Shane Alexander holds his own, with his unique sound- a blend of raw melodies and soft vocals, haunting background harmonies and complex guitar parts.
Alexander, a Los Angeles native, spent years as the lead singer and front man for LA band Damone until their break up in 2003. Alexander immediately thereafter launched his solo career with his first album, 2005’s The Middle Way. Produced and distributed independently, The Middle Way received more critical praise than many commercial projects. Soon after followed his next record, the recently released Stargazer, produced by Heroes and Villians, and has been described by the Los Angeles Times as, “a touching collection of rootsy pop.” Most notably, songs from Stargazer have been popping up all over the radar- the song “Little Woman” was featured on ABC’s hit TV series What About Brian, and the songs “Shipwrecked” and “Ride the Tides” can be heard by tuning into MTV’s The Real World and Laguna Beach series. XM Radio has even joined in on the fun by putting “The Open Road” into rotation.
These hits were among his eight song set at the Roxy last night. Performing at nine thirty, after two other bands, Alexander drew a crowd of one hundred thirty people on a school night to the Sunset Strip, which isn’t bad. He opened the show with “The Open Road” which satisfied many waiting audience members and soon followed with my personal favorite, “The Moore Hotel” a sad love song about returning to ‘The Moore Hotel’ after saying goodbye and bringing a girl to the airport. It conjures up images of sleepless nights, city lights, and speaks to a fellowship of lost souls. A line in the song, “I never felt so alive or so alone” really sums it up, and as I looked around to the audience I could see his fans mouthing these words- in fact they knew most words to most of Alexander’s songs and didn’t hesitate to show it. Shane Alexander closed his set with the aptly titled as well as beautiful “Feels Like the End”.
His band was right on point and Alexander said afterwards “I thought the show went really well. The band played together as one and the sound was fantastic.” I agree. He also went on to note, “The Roxy is a great venue and they took good care of us.”
In 2005, Alexander toured Europe and the United States, opening for the likes of Jewel and Lisa Marie Presley. And if Alexander’s momentum keeps up, and he continues with powerful shows like the one last night, he’ll need to start looking for acts to open for him.
- LA’s The Place - Los Angeles Magazine


rummy childhoods: What would therapists, memoirists and songwriters do without them? Rotten parents have launched a thousand Billboard chart-toppers and countless heart-wrenching ballads. It sounds a little cynical but next to heartless girlfriends, rock musicians have turned to absent fathers more than almost any other topic.
L.A.-based singer songwriter Shane Alexander is a little different. He hasn’t mined his family drama for song lyrics so much as used the record collection he sought comfort in during those tough times as continuing inspiration. Alexander remembers how, at the age of 5, he first listened to Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. “It was sad and beautiful and it kind of soaked into me,” he explains.
Listening to Alexander’s most recent album, Stargazer, that influence is present in everything from the instrumentation to the softness and rusty warmth of the vocals. The album is a collection of delicate and often melancholy tracks that cover everything from love (“Front Porch Serenade”) and loneliness (“The Moore Hotel”) to the fleeting nature of time (“Spaces In Between”).
“On the second record, we used some of the best session guys in L.A. — really versatile players. I like to think of it like a John Lennon record with more genre-less, timeless music … It’s a little softer, a little bigger, a little more beautiful,” explains Alexander, comparing Stargazer to his first full-length album, 2005’s The Middle Way.
Although listeners may not be immediately familiar with Alexander’s name, they might find that they are familiar with a few of the tracks off of his recent album, as a number of them have been picked up by mainstream television. ABC’s What About Brian and MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Real World have used Alexander’s music as soundtrack material.
So, does he tune in to hear his own songs? “That’s what TiVo’s for,” he says, laughing. “Some I approve of more than others. But it’s a huge blessing to have your songs out there.”
Aside from television, others may be familiar with Alexander because of his gig as an opening act for Jewel in 2005 and 2006. During that time, he performed at venues as large as the Greek in Los Angeles, with just his acoustic guitar.
“It’s empowering to be out there by myself and have my songs connect … I just want to get my music out to as many people as possible,” he says.
- Ventura County Reporter-STEPHANIE KINNEAR


"...a cross between Jeff Buckley and John Mayer. Alexander is great."
- - Music Connection


"Alexander’s songs are so well written, and he performs them with such low-key expertise, that they easily peeled back my onion-like layers of emotional resistance" - Zeb Norris


“Jack Johnson, James Blunt, Jeff Buckley. You can effortlessly add the young, American singer songwriter Shane Alexander to this list of popular singer songwriters.” - Willem Baars, Playboy


Discography

"Shane Alexander"- LP 2003

"The Middle Way"- LP 2005

"Stargazer"- LP 2006

"The Sky Below"- LP 2008

Photos

Bio

biography
Shane Alexander - The Sky Below

The dynamic collection of ten new songs was recorded over two weeks during late September / early October in Los Angeles. Shane once again teamed up with LA production duo, Heroes & Villains, with whom he made his 2006 release Stargazer. Longtime sideman and co-conspirator, Chad Crawford appears on bass, Adam Benjamin on piano, and returning from Stargazer are: drummer Charlie Paxson (James Blunt, Colin Hay), multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler (Macy Gray, Liz Phair), and Kim Bullard (Goo Goo Dolls, Tori Amos) on Hammond organ. Veteran producer / engineer / mixer Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Wallflowers, Chris Whitely, Trey Anastasio) mixed the record.

Stylistically, the new album has a sound all its own and features some of Alexander's best studio performances to date. There are more up-tempo songs than his previous effort, including the anthemic opener "Amsterdam", the driving "Difference of Opinion" and the groovy "Outside the Lines". After touring so much as a solo acoustic artist, Shane sought to get back to a "band sound" and something that could get a crowd moving. However, there are still the trademark acoustic ballads - the title track is a delicate, infectious song with soft finger-picked guitar and doubled vocals that whisper "all is as it should be" and the sunshine-infused "Coffee Kiss" will be sure to please fans of songs like "Valentine" and "Front Porch Serenade" from his two previous efforts.

In 2007 Shane Alexander performed for the biggest audiences of his career when he opened SEAL's U.S. tour, in addition to his own touring in the US, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium. Nearly all of the songs from the Stargazer album were licensed for television, including: ABC's Brother and Sisters, Big Shots, and What About Brian?, ABC Family's Wildfire, CBS's Criminal Minds, FOX's Bones, MTV's Real World and Laguna Beach and shows and movies for Nickelodeon, and Lifetime – exposing Shane's songs to millions worldwide.

In 2006, Alexander toured constantly and was asked to open two U.S. tours with Jewel and one U.S./Canada tour with Lisa Marie Presley – armed only with an acoustic guitar; he won over thousands of new fans night after night.

Shane Alexander's The Sky Below is scheduled for a February 2008 release with a full band international tour to follow.