Call it blues or country, Shane Dwight’s music is spooky good

Blues, it reads here, is the most honest form of music. So how about a candid statement from this week’s Bluesdays performer, Shane Dwight?

“I’m kind of shuffled out,” he told Tahoe Onstage.

Shane Dwight plays Aug. 19 at Squaw Valley's Bluesdays. His second album with producer Kevin McKendree, "This House," was released this spring.
Shane Dwight plays Aug. 19 at Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays. His second album with producer Kevin McKendree, “This House,” was released this spring.

Dwight, who can accurately emulate Albert King’s guitar tone, has played blues festivals since his 2002 recording career began with the album Shane Dwight Blues Band. But he grew up listening to country music, and his sound often includes a bit of a twang.

But the Northern California native moved a few years ago to the Nashville area and that has certainly affected his songwriting.

“I don’t’ really consider myself a blues artist,” he said. “I just consider myself an artist, and I really try to make that more and more clear because if people come out and expect to hear shuffles and slow blues they are going to be solely disappointed. I don’t really do that. I play my original music and hope people like it. I’d call it bluesy, rocky country.”

The title track on Dwight’s second album with Delta Groove Music, “This House,” is about a home haunted by a wife who has moved away. And while the song was inspired by something real, Dwight entertains the notion of some supernatural songwriting assistance.

“Something about being out here is so creative,” said Dwight, who lives in Franklin, about 20 miles outside of Nashville. “There’s just a vibe. I have written maybe 100 songs sitting here on this couch. A lot of people died here in the Civil War. This is one of the most haunted cities in America.”

Is Dwight channeling the spirit of a songwriter?

“It could be,” he said. “There’s something here, man. It gets a little freaky because it’s too easy to write songs. People get over here and we just spit them out.”

One of four songwriters Dwight has been working with is country artist Derek Caleb Alldredge. Dwight left his house and was driving to a studio to meet Alldredge when he took the interview for this story.

“He’s writing a shit-ton of songs, so together we have a shit-ton too,” Dwight said. “Derek’s 25 years old and he’s just barely getting his start and he’s already getting a lot of attention out here. He, like me, really likes to have control of what he does and be the writer. He doesn’t’ want to be a puppet, a karaoke singer for the record label.”

Dwight said he never dreamed of being a country artist. But a Nashville producer once asked him, “Would you like to be a big country star?”

Dwight again had a candid answer: “Who wouldn’t?”

“But I couldn’t just put on a country hat and try to be a country singer in Nashville,” he said. “That wouldn’t be true to me. I didn’t grow up wishing to be a country star, but if it happened, it’d be dandy.

“What I like country music today is that it’s pretty wide open. There’s bluesy aspects of it, there are rock aspects to it, there’s really twangy country aspects to it and then there’s really modern stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with country. It’s straight-up pop but it’s on a country radio station. Some people don’t’ like that because they want country to be country and they want this to be that. I kind of dig what country music is right now I dig what’s going on right now in country, but I am never going to turn my back on blues music.”

Bluesdays
Shane Dwight
When: 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19
Where: Village at Squaw Valley
Cover: free

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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