Shane Gamble
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Shane Gamble


Band Alternative Adult Contemporary


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""Behind the Blue" Review"

After the first two tracks on Shane Gamble's CD Behind the Blue, I warned my girlfriend that she would be hearing it with regularity. From the faraway pedal steel on opener "Wait"to the urgency of "Simple Life" and the vivid scenes illustrated on "Village Train", Gamble an his band evoke a world both distinctive and faintly familiar. Behind the Blue exhibits the eclecticism of Austin ,Texas, and elements of Nashville's venerable tradition ("Already" and "White Fence" respectively). Gamble has a voice that is refreshing and understated while simultaneously intense and emotional. Behind the Blue is perfect for the highway ahead, as a prelude to a night on the town, or as a perfect complement to closed blinds and an open bottle of wine.

OnTap - Aaron Cunningham - On Tap- Aaron Cunningham

"Finding His Own Way"

The day after a late night gig in Charlottesville, Dave Hadley arrives at Shane Gamble's condo around 1 p.m.

Hadley, a pedal steel specialist, will brighten a few tracks for the latest project, hours before the next show at Firehouse Cue in Gaithersburg.

As he makes a pot of coffee, Gamble, a Walkersville native -- wearing a plaid shirt, hair neatly messy -- muses at rapid rates on shifting tastes, new approaches, live versus studio, solo versus band, as well as his first two albums, "Talk About," (2002) and "Behind the Blue," released last fall.

As with many young, upstart musicians, Gamble's hook involves graduating college, an aversion to pinstripe suits and an irrepressible urge to pursue his passion full time. "I realized my communications degree would be better utilized by playing music as opposed to editing film," he says.

Since graduating from Salisbury University in 2000, he's performed about 1,400 shows nationwide. Through touring alone, "Talk About," a solo album, sold some 11,000 copies.

In college, Gamble's bands were bent on "party rock," subverting the lyric to "an aggressive sound." It was only a matter of time before he went his own way. He did, however, begin learning the ins and outs of recording and producing -- processes he now clearly understands.

"I think about (recording) 24/7," Gamble says. "I'm obsessed with it, always thinking about sounds ... trying to internalize it ... to experience things without hearing it first ... like a visual artist you have to execute what you see and hear in your mind in the studio; you're using it as a creative tool."

As it happens, he had some help with "Behind the Blue." Jeff Juliano (who has worked with John Mayer, Dave Matthews, and David Gray) mixed the album, which was recorded in Dover, N.J., with producer Lester Lovell, as well as in Gamble's studio. Drummer Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright) contributed to the effort, as did Hadley and bassist Gary Grainger (Steely Dan, John Scofield).

On one end, "Behind the Blue," crisp and neatly packaged, is an amalgamation of things heard; on the other, particularly as you get to know Gamble, it feels like part of a process: You sense he wants to master commercial designs before setting his own course. What's more, it's a radical leap from "Talk About," which is no longer in print.

Although he made a conscious attempt to be "radio friendly," Gamble says he tried to be "honest lyrically."

He likes to write about the "abstract," evading the "literal," frequently working off dreams and vague associations. In "The Story of Mary," for instance, Gamble strives for visual stimulation.

Mary is "a woman of mystery," he says. "It's about focusing on what you're trying to do; at the same time it reflects on her struggle, how I think she's doing."

The song seemingly defines contemporary concepts of pop, which, at root, seems less of a style -- indeed, you have strains of country, rock and hip hop -- than music with a certain pitch: You slide it in the player and, within seconds, your senses are struck by an accessible and recognizable melody.

Strung together by acoustic guitar, hard-driving drumbeats, and pedal steel's earthy wa wa vibe, "The Story of Mary" conjures various shades of '90s rock. Gamble's voice is elegiac, slightly urgent. He accentuates each syllable, drifts out at one point with an extended breath, a brief pause that drops the tempo to a lull. The frequency "ebbs and wanes" but essentially propels a crescendo.

Gamble assesses the tune's popularity: "It kind of rings," he says. "It flows so easily."

In a live setting, however, tracks from "Behind the Blue" take on new life. At a recent show at Champions, Gamble's high-powered quintet appears unfettered. They ooze similar influences, retain the same sound, adding grit, freely jamming and stretching the frames of raucous covers (like Tom Petty's "Last Dance with Mary Jane"), recorded and unrecorded material.

"You want people to show up and experience something unique," he says.

Where to go from here?

An independent artist, Gamble clearly perceives the "market." He understands the way things work and wants to "progress on his own terms" -- but he also clearly wants to progress.

Asked if he wants to "blow up," he pauses. "It depends on how it happens," he says.

Ideally he would evolve gradually, over the course of several albums, "so you don't even notice the arriving."

He'd like to be "self-reliant," rather than pursue "getting signed." He'd like to be sovereign, not "bound by the system."

Same goes for touring: "Lots of musicians make the mistake of playing anywhere they can get a gig," he says. "It's got to make sense. You have to space it out so you can experience growth. When you're developing, this is important ... There are a lot of illusions in the entertainment industry."

Eventually he returns to the question: "I guess the answer is, you know ... yes," he says, bu - 72 Hours- Dickson Mercer


Shane Gamble, Talk About. Released 2002 (Rt50Music Inc)
Shane Gamble, Behind the Blue. 2005 (Rt50Music Inc)


Feeling a bit camera shy


“I like music that takes you somewhere,” says singer/songwriter/producer Shane Gamble. “As a child, I remember sitting in front of the stereo listening to these old records and being swept away by the emotions of the songs. That’s how I want people to feel with my music.”

It’s that sensation of suspension—whether tucked within the elusive emotions of love, longing, or fear—that’s the underlying theme throughout all of Gamble’s work, including his latest release, Behind The Blue. Blending the influences of Wilco, Tom Petty, and the late Chris Whitley, Gamble has created a signature sound that’s centered on colorful guitar work, intriguing pedal-steel counter lines, and thought-provoking lyrics. On Behind The Blue, which was crafted during an extensive two-year tour throughout the northeast, Gamble strikes a fine balance between classic songwriting sensibilities (“The Story Of Mary,” “All Or Nothing”), rootsy Americana rock (“Highway 16,” “Cold Elixir”), laid-back grooves (“Already,” “Free Ride”), and stark introspection (“War”).

But there’s more to this burgeoning artist than his formidable singing and songwriting skills. A good portion of Behind The Blue was recorded and produced by Gamble in his Frederick, Maryland home. Says Shane, “Producing this record was as much about the process as it was about the end result.” He brought in famed engineer and Maryland neighbor Jeff Juliano (John Mayer, Lifehouse, O.A.R.) for a majority of the mixing, while also enlisting the help of several renowned sessions musicians. “Working with musicians like drummer Matt Johnson and bassist Gary Grainger was amazing,” Gamble recalls. “They helped the songs grow in new directions and forced me to develop as a musician.” Plus, the addition of brilliant pedal-steel guitarist Dave Hadley has made a huge impact on Shane’s sound, adding sonic warmth in the studio and an electrifying presence on the bandstand.

Now that Behind The Blue is complete, Gamble is back on the road, bringing his captivating solo, duo, and full-band show to audiences throughout the Mid-Atlantic. He’s also gearing up for a national tour, which will extend to the mid-west and southern regions. Baltimore and Washington, DC radio stations such as DC101, Hot 99.5, and WTMD have also joined the effort, frequently spinning Behind The Blue’s first single, “The Story Of Mary.”

So where does he go from here? “At this point, I’m trying to let things grow organically,” says Shane. “Good music is all about the truth. If you let go of all the rock star dreams and be honest with yourself and your music, everyone listening will start to understand.”