Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown –
By Dave Schwartz
Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown is a
blues-based rock band out of Nashville, TN.
Their latest record, “Pressure,” is a strong dose of emotion and
truth that is as good for the soul as it is for the ears.
Tyler called into DaBelly a few weeks back to talk about
their latest record and the joy of making music.
Checkout the interview! I
on the new record and thanks for calling me back.
I appreciate it. The new record is
called “Pressure” and is due out in about a week.
I would like to hear all about it.
TB: The record was
recorded in lockdown. It was sort of our way
of taking the pressures that we felt and at the start of this.
All of the tour dates were canceled and pretty much the
year was canceled and we said, what do we do?
Well, let’s make something. Let’s make the
most out of it. Just try to dive into being
creative and sort of do the thing that makes us really happy
which is music.
DB: Now I was reading
that you had something like 30 or 40 songs that you picked
through. It sounds like you were
cherrypicking your music. Talk a little bit
about having that kind of backlog to choose from.
TB: I have an
obsession with songwriting. It’s something
that I do every day. It’s something that I
would do even if it weren’t my job. And, I
have a studio in my house which is equivalent to an alcoholic
living in a bar! (laughs) So, I just do it all the time.
Every day I just try to make something like a Shakedown
song or whether I’m listening to a Townes Van Zandt record over
breakfast and then just write something to satisfy myself.
We did end up with quite a few songs to choose from.
A lot of them, Graham (Whitford) and I wrote together.
Some I’ve written by myself and with other friends of
mine. We just sat down with a list of all of
them, talked about it as a team and decided which ones to go for
and then from there we went after just about all of them!
DB: That leaves you a
little on the insane side. You’re in a
position where you have to pick from your children.
TB: It is a tough
process because, this band, we don’t do anything unless the
three of us agree on it. There were a couple
songs where I said, "Guys – this song – we have to do this
song!" But if they don’t agree… We try to
find common ground because ultimately this is something that
we’re all part of. I feel like everyone has
to be 100% behind every move. There were some
songs like “Hitchhiker,” for example, they kind of stem from,
maybe we were working on something and maybe the vibe wasn’t
happening. Suddenly a riff gets played and
all of a sudden, your kind of fallowing that moment of
inspiration. Next thing you know you are lost
in the woods and can’t get home. (laughs) ,
DB: Yeah, songs often
have a nature to themselves. They sort of
come to life, at times surprising you.
There are so many songs on this record that I wrote and
then, at the end of the process I would step back and wonder if
I was even here for this song! Where did that
song come from? (laughs) ,
DB: It’s amazing!
So, you had some guests on this record.
Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke, your wife Rebecca
(Lovell, one half of roots rock duo Larkin Poe).
Spend a moment on having the opportunity to work with
your friends and family.
TB: It’s no secret
that Noah Denney, our bass player, left the band in February.
Noah brought a ton to the Shakedown and when he left, one
of the things we really missed was the high harmonies that he
always sang. And so there were a couple of
songs, “Crazy Days” and “Hold My Breath” where we needed that
high harmony. We were really missing it.
And so I thought, who are the two best singers I know?
One of them happened to be my wife, Rebecca, and the
other was Charlie Starr who’s a really good friend of mine.
So, I called Charlie and I went upstairs and asked
Rebecca if they would sing on the songs.
Rebecca came right down and sang and made the song way more
awesome. And Charlie sent a vocal over and –
I just feel like both of them are just so talented and helped to
elevate these recordings.
DB: For some people
it can be a real challenge. I guess this is a
dangerous question but, for some it can be a challenge to work
with family. But even more so working with
family on something that’s artistic and involves so much
passion. It sounds like you have a very
natural and positive relationship with your wife Rebecca.
TB: Yeah, I mean
there have been ups and downs in that regard but when we first
started dating, I think we were a little more competitive with
each other and we realized pretty quickly that there was no
health in that! (laughs) So the goal has
always been for me to support her and her to support me.
Always add to and never take away from.
I have been fortunate to cowrite songs with her and vice
versa. I just engineered her next album
that’s coming out next month. They were on it
since May and it was recorded here in my studio.
It’s great that we can both be there for each other.
Especially during this time when so much of the music
industry has become lean and mean and sort of do it yourself.I
DB: You have a single
off the record – “Holding My Breath.” Please
talk about choosing the song and why it makes such a great
TB: That song was
actually written before the pandemic, believe it or not.
The lyrics sound like they were written as a reaction to
2020 unraveling the way it has. But it was
written prior to that. As we were making the
record, the song resurfaced and we couldn’t deny that it sounds
appropriate. I think we were just trying to
channel all the feelings that we were feeling into that
particular song. There’s something about the
way the chords and the melody works with them that is just sort
of brings on an emotional feeling and I like it.
I think it shows a different side of the band.
I’m just really proud how the song turned out and I had a
blast making that video as well.
DB: Try to contrast
this record with your last. Do you find that,
with so much legacy material my question is about the band’s
growth. Perhaps because you had such a
backlog of material to work with, the bands growth happened in a
different way. Please try to contrast the
TB: Well the “Truth
and Lies” record, there really wasn’t much of a different
scenario. I mean, there were 40+ songs going
into that record as well. (laughs) Like I
said man, it’s an alcoholic living in a bar!
This is what I enjoy doing. I’m constantly at
it and so the pandemic gave me, not to say the pandemic is a
good thing – it’s horrible – but I didn’t need an excuse not to
go to social events any more. Hope, we’re
isolated and I can just hold up in my studio and not leave.
I guess the main differences were that “True and Lies”
was recorded in a state-of-the-art studio.
We’re talking about one of the nicest studios in the world.
This record, “Pressure,” was recorded in my basement
studio. Do you know what I mean?
This record is much more down and dirty which I think
that, for a band like ours, I prefer that kind of approach.
Our music isn’t like a bouquet of flowers.
We’re a down and dirty bluesy rock band.
So, with a song like “Hitchhiker” yeah, go ahead and
throw a microphone in the bathroom. Every
song is meant to sound like you’re shooting a shot of bacon
grease anyway! It was just kind of a no rules
DB: I don’t think
I’ve ever heard that phrase before – shooting a shot of bacon
TB: I wouldn’t
DB: That is a great
analogy though. You play seat-of-the-pants, blue jeans rock ‘n’
roll. There’s a solid groove to it and the
songs I’ve heard from this record sound great.
I was going to ask a question regarding
the pandemic. This is a bit unusual so
please, hang with me on this. Many of the
bands that I interview have commented that this pandemic has
been a curse but, at the same time it has forced musicians to
reevaluate themselves, to redefine what is important to them.
This pandemic has put people in a cage and the result is
that the cage has forced them to find new ways to creatively
express themselves. So, strictly regarding
their music, there has been some positive consequences to this
horrible experience. Do you have any thoughts
TB: Yeah, I mean
obviously, all of us musicians have some extra time on our
hands. And some of us have chosen to dig down
deep and figure out what to do with their time.
I think that it’s easy to just accept that touring has
been canceled and to sit back and watch Netflix.
I know I’ve done my share of that as well.
But if you’re a lifer, which I consider myself a lifer
because I would be doing this regardless if I was making money
doing it, I would be trying to find someone to jam with even if
I didn’t have a show to rehearse for. You
know what I mean? I know you get what I’m
saying. This is something that just happens
and so these songs were already being written and if anything,
the pandemic only influenced how they were recorded and the
intention in their delivery.
DB: I get it, the
contrast of what a person does with who a person is.
What a person does, changes. The
pandemic can affect that. A creative person
finds ways to endure. A creative person will
always be creative. So, you have a challenge.
You have a great album to introduce to the world.
TB: The whole music
industry has been shaken quite a bit. I know
bands that have lost their booking agent. Out
booking agent has taken a different job, which I can’t blame
him. He’s not making money booking bands.
So, it’s a weird thing. We do have a
new booking agent and we are looking at the possibility of
touring next year. But for right now, I see
people announcing tours for next year but I don’t know if anyone
believes that there is a lot of certainty behind that.
So, right now we are focusing on our album release show.
We’ve prerecorded the show, rented lights, brought out
all of our sound equipment – we basically created our own venue.
We got some cameras and crew and put together the closest
thing possible to a real show. So, that is on
our website. There is behind the scenes
footage of the making of “Pressure.” And
there’s a chance that we’ll hang out with fans and chat while
the show is broadcasting. We’re doing a
European broadcast, a U.S. broadcast and exclusive merch items.
We’re doing virtual meet and greet hangs with fans.
You know, we’re just trying to make the most out of
releasing an album right now. I think a lot
of people have shied away from releasing music right now because
we can’t tour and promote the record on the road.
We’re just doing the best we can to make sure that the
steps we take are the right ones so that we can provide the best
experience for our audience.
I want to thank Tyler for spending a
moment with us here at DaBelly. Be sure to
checkout their new album, “Pressure,” and try to catch one of
their broadcasts. As always, check out their