Shane Dwight is truly a fan favorite at Springing the Blues. When it was announced that he’d be performing at the 2018 festival, fans immediately took to social media to spread the word. Shane is on the brink of super stardom and we’re honored to have him join us again this year.
Shane has been recording and performing for close to 20 years. He has performed with some of the biggest names in the business, including B.B. King, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, the Marshall Tucker Band, Johnny Winter, Etta James, Collective Soul, the Goo Goo Dolls and Jimmie Vaughan to name just a few. He’s created a fan following that spans the US and several countries. And yet, Shane Dwight is not yet the household name he should be. He’s had his share of successes and setbacks that make him the artist he is today.
Shane recently shared a little of how this all started and what fans can expect at this year’s STB Festival.
When did you first start playing guitar?
How much time do you have?
I started playing traditional blues but wasn’t sure I could make a career of it so I was a UPS driver by day. I had to go out on disability and decided that was the perfect time to start my own band. I asked my former guitar teacher to join me and luckily, he said yes. I only played guitar at the time but the band morphed into me singing vocals. I was a popular guitarist to hire at the time. We were getting bookings. I was even offered a record deal with a smooth jazz band.
I then got a call from the Monterey Blues Festival that changed everything. They had a band cancel and they wanted to know if we’d be interested in taking their spot. We were announced as a “special guest” and drew a crowd of 3,000 people to a stage that typically gets a couple hundred. And we won the Battle of the Bands!
Soon after, we had a release party for our first album and sold $600-$700 in CDs that one night.
From there we started getting played on the House of Blues Radio Hour with Dan Aykroyd and before you know it, we’re being played on hundreds of stations around the world.
How did you first come to play at Springing the Blues?
There was a fan in Florida who heard me on the radio. I’ll never forget him. His name was Bob Strasen and he is responsible for getting me to Florida. He just pestered the organizers of Springing the Blues until they agreed to let me play. I’ve played the festival now 6 or 7 times.
What is your favorite song to play live?
Wow, that’s a hard question. I guess it’s whatever is moving me emotionally at that time. Whatever I’m feeling that night. It’s raw and not perfect. And I think that’s why people respond to it.
‘A Hundred White Lies’ was a very personal album for you. Is it painful to play those songs live or it is somewhat cathartic?
I’ve written over 100 original songs and there is a huge faction of them that I can’t perform live because they bring me to tears. I tell real stories in my music. They’re not made up. Sometimes they are too painful and personal. I’ve only recently been able to play some of the songs on that album.
How did you follow-up on the success of ‘A Hundred White Lies’?
After a Hundred White Lies, I wrote a follow-up album and signed with Delta Groove Records. That’s a crazy story though. The owner was indicted for fraud and then died before he went to prison. My record was eventually released by their new label, Eclecto Groove Records, but was never promoted.
That whole experience made me re-evaluate my life. I was playing 200 shows a year for years. I had 40 guitar students. I was doing well. But I had been gone so long that I missed birthdays. I missed weddings. I missed my family and friends. I moved to Nashville and started writing. I started reconnecting with family. I was developing my art. I now have four albums worth of music.
How do you decide which direction to go next with four albums worth of music?
The first album I’m going to release is called “If You Ain’t the Devil, I Don’t Know Jesus”. It’s got an all- star cast. I’d say it’s an original rock record with elements of blues and country. Everyone on this album dug into their creativity and shined. They’re all platinum recording artists, except for me.
But you do seem to have some pretty cool friends?
I have amazing friends. When I moved to Nashville, my next-door neighbor was Kevin McKendree, Grammy award winning producer and artist. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great people. I’ve played with some of the best. I really feel blessed.
What’s next after “If You Ain’t the Devil, I Don’t Know Jesus”?
I’m going to re-release some of the material from that Eclecto Groove album. I’m also going in the studio later this month with Kid Andersen and members of the Charlie Musselwhite band to record a traditional blues record.
You’ve released multiple albums at one time before. Why?
I have so many songs of different styles. They don’t all fit together on one album. So, I create one that may be more blues, one that’s more rock/country. I don’t think an artist has to be exclusively one style. I really feel like what I’m doing could affect the landscape of blues music.
Will we get to hear all this new music at STB?
Absolutely! I will have plenty of the new CDs for sale. I’m looking forward to it.
Shane performs Sunday, April 8 at 2:40 at the Blues Lounge stage and 5:20 on the Pavilion stage. Meet Shane at the artist merchandise tent near the VIP entrance after his performance and check out his new CDs! You can follow Shane on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reverbnation and learn more about him at his website.