Shades of August / Blog

Firefly Festival 2014

In a few weeks, our home state of Delaware will be hosting another Firefly Festival. It's the biggest thing to hit Delaware since NASCAR and has already dwarfed the races in attendance. We're known as the SMALL WONDER, but it's proof that music is appreciated everywhere. There has been lots of fuss as to why more local acts aren't included in this event. I guess, I'm a bit on the fence with this one. The musician in me cries out "LET US BE HEARD!" We're "that" good and it will give us tons of exposure! While this is most likely true, it would be hard for a company such as Red Frog Events to sift through the number of entries they already get and find time to organize something that would likely not gather a crowd filing in to see Tom Petty, RHCP, Black Keys, etc. .... or would it? Bottom line, it seems they've reached out to a few bands from the area and even though I've never heard of them and am less likely to become fans (from what I've listened to since becoming recently aware) my hat is still off to them for making the proverbial "cut". My concern is that there is a lot riding on the shoulders of these acts. They are the unwitting pioneers of future festivals. Their performance and music has become the ambassadors for the rest of us starving artists. I wish them luck, because a good show could further open doors for us. A bad show could close it just as quickly, with echoes of "That's why we don't want local acts".

In the end it's opportunities like the Firefly that can be a catapult for a band. It all comes down to being in the right place at the right time. And this year, we're lucky enough to have some great friends that are allowing us to use their property to put on a free show for attendees. We've played every NASCAR race there for the last several years and made some new friends, new fans and most importantly had a great time. We're hoping that since this is a music event, that we might see an even bigger growth. It's hard to get your music out there, even in this world of technology. Simply put, there is no end, limit or standard that must be met to share your music with the world. That being said, it's actually easier to be overlooked. So having the chance to play for a built in crowd could be a blessing for us. Stay tuned....

Shades of Reality

We live in a world that is linked by social media. It allows us to connect to people and places that otherwise would be out of our reach. When you’re a small town band like we are, using the internet is not only crucial but necessary if you plan on any shot of getting heard outside of your immediate location. But just because the chances of breaking out into the mainstream or getting national attention is daunting, doesn’t mean you still can’t offer your fans something more.

A while back, we had a fan ask what it would cost to come to their town to play a show. It was a sincere question. But the reality of traveling over 600 miles for a single show is just not possible. And since we’re all adults in the band with day jobs, setting up a tour at this stage was just as unlikely. So in the end, it dawned on me that for at least in the foreseeable future, here was a fan that would never get to see us….. or could they?

So the idea of SHADES OF REALITY was born.

We have a large group of fans that will probably never see us play or meet us at a show. So to me, it was a big disconnect. Yes, they could buy or listen to us, catch a post or two on facebook. But then what? Where is the personal connection?

I decided that the next evolution would be to create a way that we could become more personal with our fans. Let them see who we are behind the music. I wanted to give them an idea of what goes into doing what we do. So after discussing it with the band, we agreed to create an ongoing web series that would do just that.

From the onset, it was a much bigger undertaking than I imagined. I did some initial research, delving into the world of reality TV and dissecting the shows that I thought we could mimic. To my knowledge, there wasn’t a series that was along the lines of what we wanted to create. Sure, there are music reality shows, but nothing that followed a band or what it takes to try to make a name in this business. I can tell you now, that I will NEVER see any of these shows in the same light.

I spent countless hours of creating intros and breakaways. I literally sifted through gigabytes of footage to grab 2-3 seconds worth of usable material that would flow into some sort of story. Trying to learn a new program on the fly presented its own issues, but with each episode I can say there has been improvement in the final production.

The first episode took just under a month to do. Total hours spent was probably somewhere in the 80+ range; all for just about 10 minutes worth of video. And while it was definitely a labor of love, we have already seen a major jump in our fan base and interaction with them. And in the end, that’s all we wanted.

You can find the episodes here: www.youtube.com/shadesofaugustvideos


Hey folks... As we prep for our show tonight at the Green Stinger, I was just asked about our Kickstarter project. We want to thank everyone for helping us make our goal after only 15 days of being into it! Those who contributed are appreciated beyond words. I Mean that! During the conversation, I was asked about how they could get one of the items they saw on Kickstarter. They hadn't seen it on our Facebook or Reverbnation for sale. Simply put, I said, "YOU WON'T."

You see, the deal with kickstarter is that a lot of these merchandise deals will NOT be available publicly and you will only be able to get them by contributing to Kickstarter....

Yes, we've made our initial goal. We are already finalizing details for next month's trip to Louisiana to begin shooting the rest of the video. But, truth is, there are costs beyond this goal that we need to meet. We're not a greedy band, so we only asked for help with the bare minimum. The rest we will attempt to raise ourselves. But by continuing to help us raise the additional funds needed, you will get your hands on stuff that NO ONE ELSE WILL HAVE! So if you want some cool merch that we are offering exclusively, visit the kickstarter campaign at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofaugust/video-and-cd-project

We appreciate the help and continued support shown by our fans! Catch you on the B-Sides, Brian

Welcome to the Machine

If you ever thought being in a band was nothing but fun.... Can I join your band, lol? Playing music is therapy and if that's where I left it, it would be okay. But I guess I'm just not willing to settle for that. I don't expect to ever be a "rock star", but I would like to be able to travel and get the music heard by more than just friends and close family. Writing comes easy for me some days and finding the music to back the lyrics is like giving birth (OK... for those moms out there grumbling, just let it go. I'm certain there's no REAL comparison).

But there ARE some similarities. You want your kid to be recognized for all their "greatness" and as a musician, you want your song to be recognized for it's place in the grand scheme of life. Both are protected by the parent and nurtured and shaped into something that the parent feels is "worthy". But I digress....

Playing in a band "rocks". But it's not all just music. It's promoting. It's setting up gigs and photo shoots. It's refereeing 5 different personalities. It's sacrificing sleep. Paying for things out of pocket, even when the bills are tight. It's making decisions that effect the future. It's stressful time management.It's frustration when the song doesn't work one day but rocks the next. It's knowing when to switch gears and learning when to slow down.

Somewhere in all of this, the "Fun" tends to get lost and you ask yourself... "Why was I doing this again?" Suddenly you realize you've traded in your musician card for a manager label and then realize you were a better musician than you are a manager.

The other night, I literally woke up in a panic because I was afraid the band was just spinning wheels and going nowhere.

But in the end, it's still like your child. Some days you look at the kid and stick your chest out proudly. Other days, you wonder if you could just drop them off on the side of the road somewhere and never look back. When it's all said and done, you pick yourself back up and press on because in your heart you know... It's still worth it.

Catch ya on the B-Sides, Brian

CHAiNBREAk  (about 5 years ago)

So very true, as I can nearly identically relate. Now... how to balance all of that in the scheme of one's remaining responsibilities in life is even more "fun" yes? For the love of it all, we figure it out.
Steve [CB]

Future Says Run

Hey guys, Brian D here. Some of you know me and some of you don't. For those who don't, this may not make much sense. For those that do, I hope this puts some concerns to rest. 3 years ago I walked away from music because of drugs and the need to find a greater purpose in life. I did. I found God, a good woman and a new way of life. Since, then I've made a lot of changes, most I'm proud of. I lost out on a marriage and I'm certain I don't always honor God the way He deserves, but the one thing I walked away with was the knowledge that I had something to offer. And this is a gift of God; something that no longer requires drugs to obtain. When I strip down my life, I'm left with Christ as my savior and Music as my passion. I've had people ask if I was worried about returning to a life that I walked away from. Well, in a word...NO. For whatever reason I had to go teh path I did to get here. But HERE is where I am. Armed with another chance to share my passion and the wisdom to stay between the lines. I struggle with the whole bar thing and music which tend to go hand in hand. I feel hypocritcal to a point. How can a man who loves God play in bars? I guess the same way anyone walks into work each day or goes to a store does. I've actually ahd more chances to share how God has changed my life today than I did before I quit playing music. Bottom line, I have a chance to do this again and do it right. To share this with people. I spend my nights promoting instead of getting high. Life is good. Catch you on the B-Sides.... Brian


Without fail, every show... and I mean EVERY SHOW... someone always asked us to play Mary Brown. For the band, it was a real kick. We collectively LOVE that song. SIDE NOTE: I take an unspoken offense to his, as it's one of the only songs I wrote that wasn't DIRECTLY taken froma chapter in my life, lol. But maybe that's why that song has such power. I decided that I needed to step away from self writing therapy and take a walk into the unexplored territory. I wanted to write something that was more of a story. But if I was going to make that leap, it had to be a good story. It wasn't a major leap. A song about love betrayed was "fresh" to me at the time. But the storyline needed to carry its own weight. On top of that, the idea of making a character into a legend appealed to me as well. I think that's part of what carries the song. As the saying goes, "Love hath no fury like a woman scorned" is a powerful mantra. But taking it a step further by adding her mysterious disappearnce just added a nice touch to the overall story. The result paid off. The song is probably our most popular download, definitely our most requested and it seaks to an auidience that either has related to some degree or has -dare I say- wanted to relate in some aspect. So years later, as we continue to play this song and grow as band we decided to branch out into the VIDEO aspect of music. We wanted to give our growing fans more and let them know that even though we're a bunch of middle class boys from the burbs of the SMALL WONDER state, we aren't afraid to aim big. We wnated to give them more than just music. And what better song than MARY BROWN to kick off the project. So this fall, we'll be casting for the video. It's going to be a full on production, and we're not settling for something that looks shot from somebody's home camera. Keep your eyes open and stayed tuned.... Cathc you on B-Sides. B

Welcome to the Shady side of life

Hey guys. Brian Dawson here. I just realized that in one way or another, I've been writing or playing music for over 14 years now. That 's to say that for 14 years, I've had the the chance to experience the best form of therapy one can indulge in at a fraction of the cost. Music has been this "entity" in my life that I just could never escape. It's an outlet. A bookmark. A mouthpiece. I can't imagine a life without it, actually. There is no other thing in life that attaches itself to a memory and book marks it in a way that the minute you hear the opening chords in a song, will take you right back to that moment, emotion or place instantly. But it's more than just the "sounds". There are so many stories told in music that we all connect with or inspire us. It's an inside look at someone's soul that represents a chapter in their life that they chose to share with us. And the beauty of it is that to some degree we've been there, too. We understand the joy or sorrow, happiness or rage that the song was birthed from. Shades of August is one of those bands that tells it's own unique story, written from the pages of Blue Collar America. The songs are direct lifelines to the stories of so many of our fans, shared in away that they can relate to in a raw, unmysterious way. The music is straight forward and honest. The lyrics are scarred and yet freeing at the same time. Together they display an humble yet striking portrait of the reality that most of us live in. To say we write from the heart sounds canned and generic, yet at the same time, it's what makes our music so powerful. It's really not ours, it belongs to everyone. They are a soundtrack of life's little moments condensed in 3 minutes and some odd seconds, but contain years of pain, lessons learned and hopes to come. More importantly, they're not pigeoned holed themes. I love that I can sit with a group of people who hear our music and explain how it touched them all, each in a completely unique way. Or how a certina line or lyric hit them. You can't buy that type of expression. So I hope you'll become a fan or at least share in our experience, however brief your stay. Catch you on the B-Sides... Brian