“I'm a Houston kid who's been writing, playing and recording music for over 12 years in Austin. I’ve been fortunate to play my music on all kinds of stages across the country and to release six albums. It's a labor of love and at this point, my life's work.”
After the release of five independent albums with various band mates – two under Shawn Nelson, one with Shawn Nelson & The Good Buds, two with Shawn Nelson & The Ramblers, Shawn marks his sixth release with “The Devils River” - a throw-back country album dipped in some americana sauce.
“This Devils River record has been a long time coming. I’ve played these songs for many years in honky-tonks, bars, clubs, dancehalls, big stages, small stages, backyard parties, campfires, patios, hotel rooms, motel rooms, parking lots, farmers markets, flat-bed trailers, boats and even buses. Some of the songs are set closers, but all of them come from the heart and some of them are even true.”
All the songs are written by Shawn, except for “Diamonds Don’t Shine In The Dark” and the title track, “The Devils River”. “Diamonds” was written with Shawn’s long time mandolin player and Good Bud, Fletcher Murchinson. “The Devils River” was written with Will Dupuy on the way back to Austin from Bandera, Fletcher was asleep in the back seat of the van. Will recorded and released his version of “The Devil’s River” on his band’s latest release, La Tampiquena.
Some of the finest musicians in Austin helped Shawn breathe life into these songs. Fellow Good Bud drummer and producer, Patrick Herzfeld, manned the control board, engineered and mixed the record at his new studio outside of Austin, Signal Hill, and also played drums and piano on the record. Long-time Austin guitar hero, Wayne Sutton of Sister 7 added his licks and riffs to the entire album and Will Dupuy of The South Austin Jug Band popped in to add all the vocal harmonies and upright bass on a few numbers. The bluesy-two-stepper “Tighten Up” and the bluegrass fueled “My Old Time Gal” features fiddler Noah Jeffries of Milkdrive.
“I’m lucky to call the musicians who played on the album, my friends. Every one of them is a fine soul and they believe in my music. I write most of my songs in solitude on a guitar or the piano, but for me, my music really comes alive when others are involved and that collective vibe and spirit is created - these guys made that happen and for that I am eternally grateful."
Shawn has shared all kinds of stages with all kinds of bands, from Gruene Hall with Asleep At The Wheel and Stubb’s with Drive-By Truckers to Shinyribs at Continental Club and Bungalow on Rainey Street for his weekly 2Fer1 show with fellow Austin songwriter, Graham Wilkinson.
“I am a songwriter, singer and player. My main instrument is the acoustic guitar, a Gibson J-45. I call her The Workhorse and she earns every inch of that name. I love to write songs, but there's nothing better than playing music for folks, it’s what got me here and what keeps me going.“