It’s always a pleasure to see a small local band do well. I began following the Shane Dwight Blues Band in 1999. We saw him on New Year’s Eve at Lou’s Blues Club in San Francisco, California. It was a perfect night, with amazing music that electrified the night, turning it into a true celebration of the New Year. We fell in love with him immediately and have seen him countless times since. He is a true artist that plays a mean blues guitar and has smoke behind his voice.
Recently, through a lucky twist of fate and a Facebook post, we caught him again at Ramona Mainstage in Ramona California.
A plain, no frills venue with a limited bar and even more limited menu. However, it is not the small bars that we used to see him in. Although it is a simple place, it is definitely a real concert venue that attracts acts the likes of John Waite and The Marshall Tucker Band. Gone are his days in smoke filled dives playing for peanuts. He’s approaching the big time now. Playing with heavy hitter artists, his songs are played on the radio and cable music channels.
Unfortunately, as musicians get bigger and more popular, things change. Now simply calling himself Shane Dwight, the band looks a little different these days. There is a new drummer, the harmonica player has moved on and no more saxophone. Of course I am rooting for him to do well, but I kind of miss the good ol’ days with the cute blonde “road manager” selling t-shirts and CD’s for the band over in the corner. It’s always the same scene. A very heavy set woman dressed in clothes too tight and shoes too high. The middle aged cougar with a low top and high skirt trying to recapture the not too distant past. And invariably, there are the younger girls on the dance floor, scantily dressed, trying to get the lead singer, or anyone, to see them. It’s a sea of legs, cleavage and the occasional guy in the mix who is brave enough to stand among the throng of woman to shake it to the music, possibly because he had too much to drink. Let’s not forget the couple who have taken their line dancing or ballroom lessons and are using the opportunity to show their stuff. Then there are the people in the crowd, simply there to enjoy the music, get lost in it and fall in love with the band, for the first time or the fiftieth.
As I have watched him evolve over the years, the music has changed. He no longer simply covers the classic blues songs. These days, his set is filled with music he wrote himself. Although Shane’s music has changed, his passion hasn’t. He plays with love. He makes love to his guitar in a way that would make one envy the women in his life. I can’t help wonder why his guitar doesn’t begin to smoke as he plays. Time has changed him too, like it does for us all. He’s not as thin, which I think is better. He’s a little more worn from life on the road to musical stardom and it comes through in his music. It is called the blues after all. Although he’s still handsome, his real beauty lies in his talent. It always has. Beauty he shares everytime he’s on stage.
There was a day when he’d jump off stage and play in the crowd, for the crowd. Standing on a chair or the bar, pure joy emitting from his instrument with every stroke across the fretboard and neck. Each broken pick and busted string scream of the passion expressed for our enjoyment night after night. Tonight he didn’t leave the stage. In his defense, it was an eight foot drop onto the dance floor.
It has been said that the only constant thing in life is change. As his music has morphed into something new, I have continued to love it. But every once in a while, a song comes out that rings true of the artist I first fell In love with. The passionate star wannabe that would do anything just to play. He’s a rising star now. I will continue to follow him from town to town, gig to gig, to hear that passion. And not just because of his genius but because of what it does to me. It makes me, and others, sway, swoon and want to make love. It’s a pleasure that shouldn’t be legal, but it is. I’m glad it is. If Stevie Ray Vaughn were alive I’d like to think he’d ask Shane to play with him. Through Shane, he and other blues legends live on.
He called it a night by 11:00 pm and I left reminded of why I’d fallen for his music in the first place. To me he’ll always be the true ‘Boogie King’. I’ll be listening to his genius for the next week, and well beyond on his new CD and all the others of his I own. Oh yes. He’s a star. And I saw him when …