We first came across Shea Abshier & the Nighthowlers when we received their entry video to our Top Pick Songwriter competition this summer. From the first play, we noticed the infectious vibe of the music and Abshier’s alluring vocals. The Stephenville songwriter’s performances were phenomenal throughout all three rounds of the competition, and he ended placing 2nd (pretty impressive considering we had 53 initial entries and 26 selected performers). As soon as our competition was over, we emphatically told him to keep us in the loop of his future happenings and were excited to hear that he and his band had plans to record at Melody Mountain Ranch Studio with Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato soon.
We’d been anxiously awaiting to hear the final product ever since, and our wait finally ended in early November, when the “Potluck” masters made it in to our inbox.
As we played it through, we were immediately pulled in by the captivating production, originality of the music, depth of the harmonies, and colorful songwriting.
Most notable is the vulnerability in Abshier’s voice that really allows the listener to connect emotionally with the lyrical offerings. The heavy songwriting yields opportunities to dive in to different layers of songs like “Something Sacred”, “Bleeding Eyes”, and “As You Weep” and find one’s own personal implications.
Whether it’s the the toe-tapping search for fulfillment in “Get Me There”, the smokey, southern revival of “Kickapoo Redemption”, or the rhythmic and airy, “My Oh My”, the collection provides a wide-range of tunes, but never strays from the project’s lane; delivering an album that is versatile, yet cohesive.
Our *PICK* of the album is “Wash Away”. Boasting the best instrumentation on the record, the heavy strings, and earthy base line, set a perfect background for Abshier to bear his broken heart, yet the impact of the full chorus and catchiness of the tempo take it over the top; transforming the tune in to therapeutic venting, rather than just wallowing in heartache. The fragility painted in the line “I feel so helpless knowing that you control the tide, so wash away, wash away, my lonely mind” really provides a gut punch to the song and makes this one stick with the listener long after the song is finished!
Overall, we’re very impressed by the record. At best, a debut album, presents a band well on the way to finding their sound, rarely does it showcase a band with a signature sound already in place, and in this case, it seems to certainly be the latter. The album… the band… the front-man all offer the listener a fresh, yet mature sound that we could envision cranking out a bountiful catalog for years to come.
The sound, the content, the vibe, it’s all there…making it one hell of a complete product and a fierce introduction to the masses! It drops New Year’s Day, so make sure you get your hands on it! In the meantime, enjoy an early listen to our favorite track from the album, “Wash Away”, below!
You’ll also be able to here a few of our favorite tracks from the album, as well as, plenty of other great Texas Country, Americana, and Red Dirt tunes here on our Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/texas_music_pickers/playlist/4X1EDu99kIPVqHleQfLen2
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.