How many times has Shane Dwight performed at Reno’s Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival? “Enough that you’re going to have to change the name pretty soon,” joked Dwight, who has played at least the last 15 years.
“I don’t want to be a hog and I tell them of that I want to play but it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t hire me. And they always get back and say, ‘Oh of course we want you.’ ”
Dwight is a native of Northern California (Morgan Hill) and is such a prominent player in the Biggest Little City, he’s represented the Reno Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge. He moved to Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, about 10 years ago, but continues to frequently perform out West.
He’s seen changes at the annual Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival, with headliners in recent years not being straight-up blues players. This year, the rapper Vanilla Ice is on the bill.
“He’s an entertainer and I’m sure it will be a fun show,” Dwight said. “I know some people trip out about the blues purity thing but I am not one of those people who gets hung up on ‘it should all be blues.’
“I believe that the best thing you could do for blues is incorporate more pop music and different styles. The blues audience gets expanded because it’s not on the radio, it’s not on mainstream radio. They only have so many choices of the same 10 songs all day, every day.
“You get the same 10 pop songs, the same 10 country songs and same 10 rap songs every day,, all day. So I think by bringing these other artists, who bring other audiences, is just good for the blues.”
Dwight certainly can’t be contained in a blues box. He can be called a blues rocker or an American roots player, who sometimes goes country. He grew up on a horse ranch filled with the sounds of Hank Williams. Now he’s living in the South in the hub of country music. His creativity has exploded since moving to Nashville.
“I was in California for three months and didn’t write one song and I went back home and I literally wrote three songs in three days,” he said. “There’s a vibe out there. There’s something in the Nashville air and water. There’s a creativity thing that happens out there that I noticed immediately.”
Songs are coming to Dwight so quickly that he sometimes can’t sleep at night because he worries he will forget to write them all down.
Dwight has been coming up with so many songs, he has four albums that haven’t been released. “This House” was completed in 2014, but the record label’s president died and there was no distribution. He recorded “The Risk,” a collection of country songs, that is ready to go.
“High Time I Got Mine; Live from Greaseland,” is not officially released but will be available at the festival in Reno. It was produced by Kid Andersen at his Greaseland Studios in San Jose. Artists on the record include Rick Estrin, June Core and Jim Pugh.
“There are no edits, no overdubs, no nothing; it’s just the blues and it came out fine, man,” he said. “It’s a traditional blues record, so it’s all covers except (for the title track). I’m proud of that album, too. I might release it on a label or I might just release it myself on my own.”
Dwight is most enthused about “If You Ain’t the Devil I Don’t Know Jesus.” It was recorded at Kevin McKendree’s famed Rock House and mixed by Gregg Brown.
“Every single person on it is a platinum recording artist,” he said.
– Tim Parsons
2018 Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival
Friday, June 15
Third Street Stage
4 p.m. – AC Myles
6 p.m. – Shane Dwight
Fourth Street Stage
3:30 p.m. — Jason King Band
5:30 p.m. – USA Mobility
7:45 p.m. – Vanilla Ice
Saturday, June 16
Third Street Stage
11:30 a.m. – Jason King Band
1:30 p.m. – AC Myles
3:30 p.m. – Buddy Emmer
5:30 p.m. – Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
Fourth Street Stage
Noon – Maxx Cabello Jr.
2 p.m. — Shane Dwight
4 p.m. — USAF Mobility
6:30 p.m. – Spin Doctors