ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: RICK SHAFFER

GARAGE-ROCKER RICK SHAFFER HAS BEEN GOING STRONG SINCE THE 70’S, AND HE CERTAINLY HASN’T LOST EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF THAT FLICKER AND FLAIR THAT MADE HIM SUCH A RECOGNIZABLE FORCE IN THE UNDERGROUND ROCK SCENE.

It is an unfortunate reality in the current world of music crafted by today’s generation. It seems as if fearless, ambitious artists are becoming more and more rare and undiscovered.  This is mostly due to an unapologetic desire by most new-coming artists to shamelessly reach into existing successful markets, void of any integrity, and follow an incredibly safe musical formula of commercially appealing and catchy copy of a copy Singles.  This trend has infected almost every musical appendage and genre, whether it be commercially produced or independently released.  The most unfortunate result of this trend is the stifling of musical ambition and the lack of innovation to set oneself apart in the industry.

While this approach may work well if your goal as an artist is to make fast cash, albeit becoming forgettable, it certainly isn’t the winning formula for industry longevity and lasting notoriety.

Rick Shaffer has been rebelling against this trend for decades, with no signs of stopping.

In Rick’s 8th solo release entitled “Stolen Moments”, his approach is refreshingly vintage-inspired and passionate, while his music remains curiously relatable and hard hitting.  Raw and gritty vocals shine through searing guitar riffs, bluesy bass-lines, and a wildly groovy rhythm section; making for a diverse and lively musical experience.  Much respect to the backing rhythm section of Teddy Rixon (bass) and Stevie Carlisle (drums).  Rick’s overall sound is an amazingly varied fusion of Alternative Indie and Garage Rock, while maintaining effective and impactful songwriting.  “All I Want” acts the perfect opener, effectively containing a satisfying blend of all the album has to offer.

Listeners are taken on a sonic journey through a broad spectrum of Classic Rock & Roll that pays homage to such revered acts as The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop; all while adding an entirely unique self-defining twist. “Downtown Suzy” is a great example of the variation in style you can expect within the album.

Rick Shaffer has proven over the years that with his addictive, passionate, and highly engaging tunes; music, as an artistic medium, can transcend the label of “commodity”, and become something much more intimate and memorable. Each track featured on the album is fantastically arranged in a way that maintains the listener’s interest, and contains undeniable style and instrumental intricacies that are both unique and add undeniable character to the track. Rick consistently surprises and impresses with his vocal ability and displays a strong understanding of what made the Garage Rock genre so distinct.  With the powerful and effective backing of guitar, bass, and driving percussion; Rick proves that his vocal prowess is simply just one example of his many strong assets.  Each vocal performance is authentic and memorable for his thoughtful lyrics.  It is interesting to note that this album was inspired by the concept that there are no guarantees or promises in life, and every minute he spends writing and recording is precious time. Songs like “Time Stays” and “Chopping Wood” captures this dedication to energy and immediacy perfectly.

Rick Shaffer is a remarkable act and an amazing breath of fresh air within an industry that has become overly saturated with copycat artists whose sole goal is to cash in on an increasingly uninventive formula.  We can only hope that his music influences a new generation of independent artists and inspires a return to what made music something special. “Stolen Moments” is a MUST LISTEN! 

•John Keith — SCREAMING MATCH PRODUCTIONS