On Monday, Slates in Hallowell will host a CD release party for Sam Shain & The Scolded Dogs. The album “A Song We Know” features 10 songs written by Shain who penned all the lyrics and had help with the music from band mates Josh Shain, Dan Corbett and Steve Guilmet. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Bob Colwell at his Root Cellar studio and features an infectious, toe-tapping sound. I recently called him at his Hallowell home.
Q: Do I detect a note of funk in the CD you sent my way?
Shain: Oh, yeah!
Q: Does that reflect influences you had growing up?
Shain:Yeah, definitely. I listened to a lot of Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone and stuff like that that really has that good funk edge.
Q: It certainly works on the feet, doesn’t it.
Shain: Yeah. You know some times you’ll hear a local band that does a certain thing when they play live and sometimes their CD doesn’t sound like that; I think our project sounds like what we’re doing it live. I mean, the originals will fit into our set list that we use at our bar gigs very well, It’ll sound natural when we play these originals with the covers that we’ve already chosen.
Q: Will the Slates concert be all original material?
Shain: Yeah, almost entirely — but I’m sure we’ll throw a little surprise cover in there at some point.
Q: Will the band at the gig be the same one that’s on the CD?
Shain: Yeah, the four regulars of the band are me, Dan Corbett, Steve Guilmet and my brother Josh and in addition, we’re going to have my dad there and Adam Soosman — Alfred Lund won’t be there. But, he’s obviously on the album.
Q: Is this your first album?
Shain: Yes … and the show at Slates will be the official CD release party.
Q: Have you ever played there before?
Shain: It was one of the first places I played, I got a surprise last-minute, fill-in gig there as a soloist so this will be a much different experience from that, I would say.
Q: As a solo artist did you have the same musical direction your band has now or was it more singer-songwriter-esque?
Shain: Some of those songs don’t translate at all when I play acoustically. I wrote almost all the songs using an acoustic guitar, just sitting there messing around, but a few of them do and I still play a couple of them when I play solo but I’m playing with the band more and more now.
Q: Well, you’ve got a good chemistry going with the folks on the record, that’s for sure — you can hear that quite clearly.
Shain: We have all become pretty good friends … and it’s kind of funny because I’m 25 and Josh is 22 and then you jump up to Dan who is 40 and Steve is either 46 or 47. It’s funny how we all got together — with the age differences and all — two or three years ago now and started playing. I think we sound pretty good, too. Oh, and we started out in October of 2010.
Q: Was Dan and Steve in other bands before yours?
Shain: Oh yeah — those guys are true working musicians that have been around. Steve was in Elderberry Jam and Dan was in The Charlie Black Band until they split up. They both have played on all kinds of stuff during their time as musicians.
Q: And it is a tip-of-the-hat to you that they’re coming on board with you, in my opinion, that is.
Shain: Oh, it’s awesome! It’s just really cool that they gave us a chance. I mean Josh and I had never been in a working band before, we had just played together with a few friends here and there. We needed some guys who were going to be really solid. Steve has said this many times — that we sound better and better as we’ve gone on. It’s fun to look back and realize that.
Q: Is there anything you would like to pass on to the folks reading this feature?
Shain: Yeah, I feel that this is going to be a pretty up-beat show for Slates’ standards … a lot of these shows (there) are kind of acoustic and quiet, and we’re kind of rambunctious sometimes when we play live. I think that, combined with the fact that we’re going to have Adam and my dad (Brett Shain on harmonica and backing vocal) playing with us, people will hear things they’ve never heard before — they’ve never heard us play with a saxophone before and a lot of people haven’t heard these songs before, either. So tell them this: “You can see us play at Slates like you’ve never seen us before!”
Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.