With the release of his End of the Ride EP, Rem Shaw takes the best parts of some classic genres and builds a fresh take on a vintage sound. Laced with addictive melodies, a roots-rock backbone, and plenty of authentic character, End of the Ride is a neo-folk gem.
The lead single of the same name is a song with vivid lyrics, an infectious melody, and a classic rock vibe reminiscent of Tom Petty and Bryan Adams.
According to Shaw, the song is about Bonnie and Clyde: "I remember traveling through Vegas a few years back and stopping at a random casino in Primm, Nevada. At the time, I was feeling lucky and simply wanted to try my hand at some blackjack. To my surprise, inside the casino was a Bonnie and Clyde exhibit that included the bullet-riddled car they were killed in. There are something like 112 bullet holes in the car. The exhibit also included some of their personal belongings and Clyde's blood-spattered shirt. It was all very weird and macabre. There was also a photo of the two of them in the car right after they were killed and Bonnie had a smile on her face. That stuck with me. As I was writing the song, I was thinking about what Bonnie might have said to Clyde when she realized they were about to die."
Although the single speaks volumes as to Shaw's songwriting talent, it is merely one great song among many. To get a sense for where Shaw is really coming from, the full EP is a must-hear.
According to Shaw, "I've grown tremendously as a songwriter over the past couple years. For the most part, if I can't picture it in my head then I don't write about it. I try to state the obvious without stating it obviously. That's my motto. I think it takes a really talented songwriter to put a unique twist on a common experience."
Shaw's love of music started at a young age. He credits his dad with introducing him to classic rock and many of his earliest influences like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and The Who. As Shaw explains, "My dad took me to my first concert, which was Ringo Starr & his All-Starr Band at the Minnesota State Fair. I remember that show vividly. Ringo was playing with Jack Bruce from Cream, Roger Hodgson from Supertramp, Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople, and Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. I was blown away."
When he was 15, inspired by the likes of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix, Shaw began teaching himself to play guitar. During his freshman year of college, he heard Bob Dylan for the first time and from there things were never the same. He soon began writing his own songs and performing in coffee shops around campus: "I remember playing in rooms to only a handful of people. Sometimes they weren't even listening, but that only motivated me to write better songs. If people weren't going to give me their attention, I was going to grab it."
It was classic rock and Shaw's relentless desire to be a great songwriter that lit a fire within him, one that burns to this day. Shaw's End of the Ride EP arises out of that fire and is a testament to his knack for writing catchy, relatable tunes. As Shaw explains, "Ultimately, my hope for this record is that people will be able to relate to the stories I'm telling and walk away with an earworm or two. Hopefully they'll hear something and think to themselves 'oh, that was clever' or 'oh, that was interesting' and want to hear more. Whether it's positive or negative, I just want the music to make people feel something."