Fort Worth native Red Shahan may have gotten his start as a “kind-of” member of 6 Market Blvd., but he’s stepping out firmly on his own with his debut record Men & Coyotes.
Red’s name has been dropped by more than a few Texas favorites as someone to keep an eye on (Randy Rogers included), and a first listen of his 2015 debut shows you just why. Shahan has a knack for spinning lyrical phrases and taking a bit of an ideological walk without leaving the listener too far behind. His voice and instrumentation are country without hitting you over the head with country clichés and tropes. It’s not “traditional,” by any means, but it’s darn good.
When he sings about oil towns, it’s not the typical “work hard, play hard” attitude you hear on most of today’s Red Dirt. He looks at the realities of oil towns the same way Kacey Musgraves looks at the realities of small town life in her records. When he gets a little grittier, bluesier and swingier, Shahan gets closer to a classic Steve Miller vibe than most can, and that is meant as an absolute compliment. Give “303” a listen followed by the sparse and heartbroken “Drag You Down” for proof of his versatility.
Expect good things from Shahan moving forward. Men & Coyotes is just the beginning.
What He Sounds Like: A grittier Steve Miller mixed with a hint of Stoney LaRue and Uncle Lucius.
Required Listening: “Men & Coyotes,” the title track of his 2015 debut record.