Like a character from a vintage Western or a model in a Marlboro ad, Red Shahan sits at the Magnolia Motor Lounge bar. He grips his beer in one hand, a burger in the other and his straw hat pulled down obscuring his eyes. People bustle around him, many unaware of the lone figure. The staff know him well, a regular customer as well as performer on the hallowed MML stage.
Artists in the Texas Americana scene know his name. A few long to possess his skills as a songwriter. Until recently, very few outside of the bars and honky tonks had heard of him. He made a huge splash early on with his band The Vityls in Lubbock, gaining a following among The Blue Light regulars and heavy rotation of “East Side River Snake” on 105.3 The Red Dirt Rebel. After the band dissolved, soon the Texas scene was abuzz with Red joining Six Market Blvd, but that too was short lived.
Now, Red is exploding across Texas. His new album, Men & Coyotes, is a labor of love that has been highly anticipated. Featuring a Fort Worth All-Star lineup and released on Magnolia Records (the same guys who brought us three fantastic Quaker City Night Hawks albums), this album is redefining people’s perceptions of Texas music. The scene is riding a wave of new talent that embodies a diverse range of sounds that deviate from the “Rodeo Country” that has long persisted as the default music of this region. It’s dark, smartly written and full of emotion that has been surely lacking among the top ten in the Texas Country Charts. With heavy airplay from 95.9 The Ranch here in Fort Worth and a wealth of love from other stations, Red is finally gaining the notoriety outside of the insulated world of music scene. Before the iTunes launch of the album, our local record shop Chief Records happened to be the exclusive retail outlet carrying the physical copies, selling out of the first batch they received. (Do yourself a favor and drop by Chief’s in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Their selection of local & regional Americana acts blows away any shop in the region).
Men & Coyotes carries on Red’s swampy Blues Rock sound that made him a popular artist in Lubbock. From the beginning with the popular title track to the gut wrenching last tune, Move Over, Red and his crew have crafted a superb album that will no doubt inspire a slew of future artists. DD