Rem Shaw is an emerging singer, songwriter and guitarist who is making his professional solo recording debut in 2022. However, although the Minneapolis musician is new to the digital streaming world, he arrives after years of performing his music in real-world venues around his city’s legendary music scene.
Coming from the great tradition of hobo-storytellers like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Rem Shaw has been surfing coffee house stages for years, honing his craft. With an Americana vibe that is equal parts 80’s College Rock and 60’s Folk/Rock, he tells real life tales of lovers, haters, artists and ramblers. Now the singer has committed five of those stories to posterity.
“End of the Ride” is the debut EP from Rem Shaw, released worldwide to all major streaming services on May 25, 2022. From the Alternative Rock surf vibes of the title track to the deep, dark psychedelic Prog Rock Blues of “Sugar Queen,” Shaw weaves his way through the decades and genres that have all informed his sound.
Between those two bookends the singer delivers three great rustic Americana nuggets. “Asshole Alone” is a quirky Folk tune that is as funny as the title suggests. “Angeline” opens with a subdued percussive intro before sliding into a funky and folky Classic Rock groove. In that vein the song transitions through phases of Art Rock cinema and psychedelic chillout. “My Lucille and Me” drops a bit of fiddle-fueled sunshine on the record before the dramatic closer.
Rem Shaw’s “End of the Ride” is an excellent debut from a talented young artist who stepped from the stage to the studio with his guitar and a notebook full of stories in hand. Check it out below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the title track on the Deep Indie Dive playlist.
We had the chance to chat with Rem Shaw about the record. Read his answers to our 8 questions, and follow the links at the end of this article to join him as he launches this new leg of his musical journey. Then head over to Bandcamp and download your own copy of “End of the Ride” by Rem Shaw.
8 Questions with Rem Shaw
Where are you from?
I’m from Minneapolis, MN. I’m a born and bred Minnesotan.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been a songwriter since my late teens/early twenties and I felt like it was about time that I formally released something.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
The musicians who worked on the album with me are a talented bunch. Dex Wolfe produced the album and he and I worked together closely throughout. We recorded the album over the course of a few months at his home studio in Minneapolis. I wrote all of the songs and sang lead vocals. We had a lot of fun bouncing ideas off of one another and messing around with all of the toys in his studio.
Dex really helped me to flesh out the songs. I think our relationship grew stronger as the recording process progressed and we developed a nice work rhythm. We brought in Bryan Hanna, a talented percussionist, to play drums on all the songs, and Clifton Nesseth, a talented multi-instrumentalist, to play strings, upright bass, piano, and keyboard on a few of the songs. Dex and Clifton also contributed backing vocals. Finally, Krissy Bergmark played tablas on Angeline, which Dex and I thought was a nice touch.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Bob Dylan is my musical hero. My favorite period of his is probably his mid-70s Blood on the Tracks/Desire period. I’m still captivated by the Rolling Thunder Revue. I’m inspired by a lot of other songwriters too, e.g., Beck, Jack White, Tom Petty, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. Those are my Mount Rushmore guys and probably the ones who most influenced this album. I like Fiona Apple and PJ Harvey too. I try to keep an ear out for new stuff and stay on top of what’s happening in the music world.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
My greatest non-musical influences are probably my relationships with other people. Those often serve as inspiration for my songs. This album in particular is about relationships I’ve had with different people over the past couple years – some good, some bad. Regardless, they all made an impact.
What inspired you to create this project?
I wanted to get something under my belt and I wanted to do it right. I also wanted to have a way to share my music with a wider audience. I realized that playing open mics would only get me so far.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I have a lot more songs that I want to record. I write new songs all the time. Dex and I have already talked about recording again. In general, I just want to put stuff out there for people to enjoy and I hope they can relate to it in some way.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
One more thing. When it comes to songwriting, I think the best songwriting states the obvious without stating it obviously. That’s my motto. It’s like you’re writing about things that people can relate to, but you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t bore them. You’re making them think about those experiences differently.
It takes a talented writer to put a unique twist on a common experience. That’s one thing I love about Fiona Apple’s writing. Just look at her song “Anything We Want”. That’s one of my favorites of hers. The first line of the song is “my cheeks were reflecting the longest wavelength.” She could have said “my cheeks were red”, but where’s the poetry in that? I love clever writing like that.