“I had my choice when I was a kid,” Shane Dwight said. “It was to listen to country music or wear earplugs.”
Dwight was musically inspired by Albert King’s blues guitar tone but he was raised on a horse ranch in Morgan Hill, Calif., immersed in country music of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.
A prolific songwriter, Dwight has always made music that straddles a fence between blues and country rock, and he once even simultaneously released an album in each style. But he seems to have found his own voice since moving in 2011 to Franklin, Tenn., a town 20 minutes outside of Nashville, where his next-door neighbor is renowned producer Kevin McKendree.
“Four months after living there another neighbor said, ‘Yeah, there’s another musician lives out there, he plays with some guy named Dilbert.’ And I said, ‘You mean, Delbert … McClinton?’ ”
McKendree’s home studio was the production site for Dwight’s 2011 album. “A Hundred White Lies,” which reached No. 3 on Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s Bluesville chart and for four months was on Route 66’s Americana music’s Top 40 list.
The follow-up album, “This House,” released today, April 15, is another strong effort with most of the same players: McKendree on acoustic guitar and keyboards, Bekka Bramlett, backing vocals and the rhythm section of drummer Lynn Williams and bassist Stephen Mackey. It is Dwight’s debut with Electro Groove Records, which feature blues-based artists like Mike Zito and Kara Grainger who are too edgy to neatly fit into a blues box.
Dwight’s passion and honesty are what nevertheless makes him a bluesman more than anything else. “Sing For Me (Search For Sierra)” is a basic 12-bar number with smoky, haunting background vocals from Bramlett that is downright spooky.
“Stepping Song” is a rolling blues anthem and “Never Before” a catchy and clever tune that has McKendree’s Delbert fingerprints all over it.
“A Hundred White Lies” was an undisputed success, but “This House” is even better.
While Dwight’s home is in Tennessee, he continues to perform for his fan base in the Reno-Tahoe area. He plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19 in the Carson Station Hotel & Casino, 900 S. Carson Street. There is no cover charge.
Electro Groove Records
Live show: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19, Carson Station Hotel & Casino, Carson City