Melbourne act-country act Shaky Stills have announced that they will be launching their new album Genuine Moonshine with a free show as part of Leaps And Bounds Festival. The launch will take place at Collingwood's Gem Bar this Saturday July 15, but before that we caught up with the band's Matt Rodd (guitar) to see what makes them tick.
What kind of influence did music hold for you in your formative years?
Music was always a very big feature in our home. Firstly there were shelves packed full of cassette tapes, the folks also had some really fine records, Fats Waller, Monk and Gillespie, Ray, Chuck Berry that were being spun a lot. Mick, the old man also had a player piano as well with a few hundred rolls, there’s no doubt that had a great influence on what I listened for in music, parts and musical feel, counterpoint and great rhythms. Black American music first and foremost infiltrated my playing, rhythm and blues song writing and style and the great country and city blues guitar traditions. I always connected with the African American styles I was listening to and copied that into my own playing.
Who are your favourite musicians and why?
As a kid one of my greatest musical influences growing up was my brother Tombob, we taught each other to play, guitar and bass, and that’s what we’re still doing in Shaky Stills today. His musical tastes were very different than mine, I learned all about rockabilly, psychobilly, garage, punk, early metal, really great sub-cultures, mainly around the start and into the 1980’s. We would imitate and learn riffs, lead breaks, stomps, licks, and more importantly we’d discus the shit out of them all, for hours, the subtle characteristics, feels, nuances that we felt were being implied musically and intentionally. We have a very deep musical language together forged from these formative years.
Tell us a little about your own music.
So the progression to playing American Country and Western music, straight, swing, shuffles etc., was another natural development into studying and performing the music and song writing, orchestration and cultural traditions of more Anglo-centric roots music. The songwriting and common story lines and themes are at the centre of this genre; humour, great love and loss, an inordinate amount drinking and not drinking or abstaining, working hard, general roadside philosophising about what’s it all about? For me it’s as much the songwriting as the instrumental and improvising sections, the solos that play as equal and necessary part in twangin’, sliding, pickin’, thwacking and bending through this incredible style of music. Trading solos with Ed Bates pedal steel prowess is a hugely exciting way to engage in music.
The group specialises in a very traditional, disciplined delivery of this genre, with this particular line up and country style, give or take a three or four decades. We pride ourselves on giving a very classy show, we play by the rules, we stretch hard in the solos, we keep the smiles flowing and we drink what ever people hand to us on a tray.
Tell us about the launch this weekend.
The choice to launch our brand new album, Genuine Moonshine at The Gem Bar in Collingwood was a easy one as they’ve hosted some of our best nights, the people and the food are a perfect fit, we all get what we’re all doing there. It’s going to be our best shindig yet, everyone is welcome to dance, open the gates, jive and boogie. We’ll be the only band on for the night and will play two massive sets of music.
Shaky Stills will launch their new album Genuine Moonshine on Saturday July 15 at The Gem Bar in Melbourne. Genuine Moonshine is out now and can be ordered here.