In the back of an old smokey bar, most likely in the Southern half of our United States, you may suddenly find yourself contemplating the delicious temptations of a hell-bound lifestyle as the grit and groan of a rock and roll soundtrack booms from the reminents of a creaky makeshift stage. This is where the intimate perspective of a new generation of southern Appalachian hillfolk can nearly blind the blatantly obvious. Indeed, The Shifters are among the
heaviest form of rock and roll, but only alongside the influences of thier ancestors.
When The Shifters rose from the ashes of their former band, genericpeople, and with years on the East TN and Southwest VA local music circuit under their belts, they found themselves impowered by the prospects of a new trio.
Wasting no time, they changed gears from a technical and electronic based new rock band to a gritty, bluesy, vintage inspired, heavy Southern rock band. A reincarnation, one might say; the new simplicity of playing as a trio along with the introduction of bassist Emily Dickenson’s new found songwriting and singing passion transformed thier sound into something fit for a film laden in tales of an outlaw tearing ass down the road in a Pontiac Trans Am, without excluding the naughty scenes of making use of the back seat. ;)
With total creative control, The Shifters began writing and recording their first album. Naturally, it was their collective love of the blues that served as the adhesive for the components of their sound.
Calling Bristol, TN their home, Billy Thomas, Emily Faith Dickenson, and Jordon Benjamin Yates make up the trio. Southern roots, as well as an obsession with vintage equipment, remained as evident influences for The Shifters as they began chipping away at the stone of local music success. As interests peaked and word began to spread, it wasnt long before the three found themselves booking nearly all of the regions venues and with exciting opportunities on the table. In their first year performing as The Shifters, they would record their first live 1 hr television set for Heritage TV in SW Virginia, play in the area’s largest venues with nationally and internationally known acts and artists (such as the Le Moustache Burlesque Group and Josh and Bill from Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners Show, and fellow southern rockers Beitthemeans of Birmingham, Al.), perform at festivals such as Blue Plum (Johnson City TN) and Rhythm and Roots Reunion (Bristol, TN/VA), headline large events sponsored by businesses such as 2TonTattoo, work with the area’s best promotional companies, play to their largest crowds ever, and be featured multiple times in the local press outlets like The Bristol Herald Courier. Overall, they wont argue that they have gotten a wonderful start to a long winding journey down the road to rock and roll utopia, filled with hell raising in that Trans Am we talked about earlier.
Between their fearless delivery and a strong hold on unique rawness, these three drive it home with their hard rocking modern blues jams. Dickenson's sultry overdriven bass and Yates' perfectly aggressive drumming lay the foundation for Thomas' bluesy guitars. More recently, the addition of an early 1960s Hammond organ, played by Thomas alongside his guitar, incorporated in to The Shifter’s live set has again opened the foreground to new and challenging endeavors for the trio.
You never know where The Shifters are going to take you next, but you can damn well bet they are going to get you
there in a 1970s American muscle car flying like a bat out of hell.