Every band that plays original music says something like “all of us have really different influences, so our music comes out sounding pretty diverse” or “we sound like western-adult-rock-with-carribean-folk-dark-country-rock-ska-grass-influences.”
For as long as MySpace has existed, bands have been listing ironic-sounding genre combinations on their profiles, and before that, they just threw them out to screw with reporters. Bands love to describe themselves as “indie-folk-metal-polka” or “rap-metal” (yeah right).
When new-ish Fayetteville band Shulertown call themselves “western-adult-rock-with-carribean-folk-dark-country-rock-ska-grass-influences,” however, they aren’t lying. Of the five demos currently available on their MySpace page, no two songs sound alike. In fact, it’s not hard to hear traces of all of those genres coming through in their music.
According to guitarist Jason Reddecliff, the band has been hard at work on a 25-song set of completely original music, and they’re hoping to introduce themselves to Fayetteville with a free show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 7 at George’s Majestic Lounge.
We got in touch with Shulertown, and they were nice enough to answer a few questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Shulertown: Chris Murray Combo. They are an acoustic ska combo, campfire-ska if you will. Chris is a great songwriter. Rolling Stones-Exile on Main Street, Sirius/XM “Outlaw Country,” Sonvolt, Bela Fleck’s Drive Album, barking dogs, but mostly listening to each other and where these songs are taking us.
FF: Who’s in Shulertown, anyway?
ST: Owen McClung plays stand-up bass and vocals, Cowboy Tom is on piano and guitar, Charlie Platt is on drums and vocals, and Jason Reddecliff is on guitar and vocals.
FF: What are some other bands you guys have been in?
ST: Charlie is in Ultra-Suede and was one of the founding members of Punkinhead. Jason was in Jupiter Hollow out of Springfield, MO before moving to Fayetteville. Then, he and Owen played with Mothership. Charlie was also the drummer in that band for a spell. Owen played in The Bennett’s, a bluegrass band out of Eureka Springs. Jason and Owen were also in Me and Owen, a novelty acoustic duo that played off and on for many years. Tom has been writing and recording his own music for a long time and has brought many songs and his composition skills to the band.
FF: Back before there was something called The Legacy Building, there was a Shulertown in Fayetteville. Is that where the name comes from?
ST: Shulertown was/is the nickname for the 400-500 block of W. Dickson St. It comes from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. There was a soda jerk at the “Live and Let Live” drugstore on Dickson named T. Fred Shuler. His friends from the University would often hang out where he worked and it became more of a college hangout back then. He opened his own place after graduating from the University and carried on the tradition he started, by being a local “haunt” for students, artists, and musicians. We researched the name and story and it suggests being the start of the Dickson St. scene as we know it today. And yes, it was also a music club where the Legacy is now.
FF: I’m always interested in this kind of thing. Describe your songwriting process. Do you write them together? Does someone bring them in?
ST: All of the above. We have all been in original bands so we all have songwriting experience. Most of the songs come into our factory as raw material and get forged in the fires of collaboration. Nothing is sacred, we try to make them the best they can be while staying true to the original essence of the song. Our patented seven-step process is kept under lock and key in an undisclosed location, and if we share any more we will be in violation of our sacred blood oath. But really if you look hard enough everyone can find their muse.
FF: This is a hard one. How would you describe your sound?
ST: Sonic butter. Western adult rock with some carribean and folk influences. A lot of 3 part vocal harmony. So…I guess we would be the sensitive dark country rock/ska-grass version of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Dekker, Zappa, Flatt and Scruggs?
FF: Most of you guys have lived in Fayetteville for a long time. How do you perceive the music scene in town these days?
ST: Seems a bit quiet, but tons of opportunity! Fayette-villains have always been so supportive and open to new music. We’re just hoping to find our niche.
FF: What’s next for you guys? Any recording plans in the works?
ST: We have begun work on our first album. We have enough material at this point for two, but first things first. We are hoping to have it ready by mid-September. Between now and then, lots of writing, recording, and hopefully playing locally and regionally.