Also see the newest CD from SHIPP, Crow Loudly, available at cdbaby.com featuring a who's who list of guest artists.
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See the Michael Shipp interview in the October 2012 online edition of the great Southern Rock Magazine, www.kudzoomag.com . Its Free!
BRAND NEW INTERVIEW FROM NIGHTFLYING MAGAZINE
MSX: Michael Shipp Xcursion, RED ZONE OF TONE 2007
I was standing in a room full of odd and end collectibles…Star Trek stuff, old record albums, various ceramic figurines, chatting away about the state of live music with drummer Kenny Hall. I had just finished up a couple of hours of interview time with Kenny and singer/songwriter/guitar player Michael Shipp and was freezing my ass off since there was no heat in the room where we had been talking. We were passing time waiting for Michael to finish a phone call.
It wasn’t long before Michael stuck his head back in the room and handed the cell phone to me. “Here. Billy Bob wants to say hello.” That would be Billy Bob Thornton. Thus was the end of what had been, short of a little frostbite, a very cool (no pun intended) evening chatting with two-thirds of the power trio, The Michael Shipp Xcursion.
Michael Shipp began playing music seriously in high school in the early 70’s. The feeling of the music and the need to play hooked him early on. “We grew up in Blytheville so the Memphis vibe was important and always around. And my brother, Nick, played in bands and my dad played guitar.”
His draw to music began much earlier than high school. When Shipp was around seven or eight years old he had an experience that put him on the path to where he is today. “My dad was a Johnny Cash fan. In 1966, Cash came to do a show in his home town of Dyess one Sunday afternoon. Carl Perkins was there too. I had just started to dabble with the guitar. After that I was into Johnny Cash songs, what I could figure out. Mainly what I figured out was the Johnny Cash Cool Factor.”
Through the years, Shipp would rub against the rockabilly influence and eventually be captured by the British invasion. “It was strange the way those guys got into blues by listening to the old American blues artists. I was into listening to the Animals, the Stones, Eric Clapton. The Animals were my main influence.” That music led Shipp to dig in and find out where its roots were. “That was where I learned about John Lee Hooker. I remember hearing Muddy Waters voice for the first time. It was like hearing John Wayne in the movies. You just don’t forget it.”
Shipp’s first attempt at a band came when he was in junior high school, still trying to find his way musically. Was that band any good? “Oh yeah” Shipp says smiling, tongue in cheek. “We were fantastic…unbelievable.”
Shipp’s influences at that time were home grown. “Back then Black Oak Arkansas was the thing. I just appreciated what they did. Their showmanship, the huge wall of amplifiers. I just remember the guys coming out and there were shiny cymbals, twin guitars and everything. I understand that Jim Dandy was a cartoonish-like character. The rest of the band was a great team effort. They weren’t that great individually except for Tommy Aldridge. He was a great drummer.”
Eventually, Shipp would be influenced by the likes of the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top and heavier music. But Black Oak Arkansas carried the weight for him at that time. “A lot of people may not want hear that or say it because it’s almost like it became not cool because of the Arkansas thing. But, I’ve always contended that if Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin had done ‘Mutants of the Monster’ it would be another ‘Free Bird’ or classic rock anthem.” Shipp’s musical conspiracy theory doesn’t stop there. “There were a couple of other of theirs. I’ve also contended that ‘Free Bird’ was a cop off of their song ‘Up’. That was a show closer years before ‘Free Bird’. Get their album Raunch and Roll and see what you think.”
In the 1980’s, Shipp would find himself playing with Black Oak Arkansas. “We got to work with them when we were doing the Tres Hombres thing…me, my brother and Billy Bob did some shows with those guys. I got to know Jim and Ricky better then. They even stored their tour bus at our place.”
As interviews and storytelling goes, one thing leads to another and this one led to the topic of Billy Bob Thornton, a long time friend and some time band mate. So, when did that relationship begin?
“Someone asked me out in Los Angeles the other day about how me and Billy met. I said August 20, 1976, and they looked at me real goofy. It’s the day that I was married the first time. Billy Bob’s brother, Jimmy, and I had met somewhere and he told me about his older brother wanting to sing in a band. At the time we were all aspiring southern rockers. Billy Bob lived in Malvern then and I still lived in my mom’s house. I was 19 and getting married. We got together at my mom’s house and talked about music and he left at about 4:00 a.m. that morning. I had to get up at 10:00 a.m. to get married. That probably didn’t set well with anybody. That’s how I remember it.”
Shipp and Thornton played in high school bands for awhile working with Rick Calhoun and Associates booking agency, Consolidated Talent, out of Little Rock. “We played every high school…proms, gyms and stuff like that. We got all the leftover gigs that Kenny’s band didn’t get. I remember playing at Glen Rose and Billy Bob was wearing spandex. They stopped the show to tell him to put his shirt back on. It was some funny times.”
Thornton was singing for the band and at the time had some pretty long hair. “Back then his hair was way down to his ass.” Hall chimed in “The first time I met Billy I said “Damn, he’s got the longest hair I’ve ever seen.”
Shipp’s family owned a rental equipment store in Benton. “Billy came to work for us there off and on for awhile. He went to New York or Los Angeles or somewhere for the first time in the late 70’s. During that period of time we took our business and opened up a place in Houston (Texas). Billy Bob came back at that time to play music with us down there. Some people at a place called Fitzgerald’s had seen me play or something…I don’t remember the exact details. We were approached by this Lone Wolf Productions, which were ZZ Top’s people. They wanted to know if we wanted to do the first official ZZ Top tribute thing. They named us Tres Hombres. That’s when we first started getting to know those guys (ZZ Top). That was around 1982. We did a record called Gunslinger. It did regionally well and got some airplay in Texas. There was a Texas magazine back then similar to Nightflying and I got nominated as the new artist…new guitarist…new something of the year. I don’t recall. I didn’t win. Some guy named Stevie Ray Vaughn won.”
Tres Hombres played from 1982 until 1986, touring all of Texas, parts of Louisiana and a big portion of the southeast. “We only came back home a couple of times. We stayed pretty busy and we ran the businesses too. We worked our butts off. Talk about paying dues. We paid some back then.”
Shipp has since toured with Thornton for Thornton’s Private Radio and Edge of the World CD’s. “We did a 16 country tour for Private Radio. I contributed a bunch of stuff musically to Edge of the World and we began touring when it was released. About that time I had completed my project, The Adventures of Roosterboy, over in Nashville and was ready to release it as an independent about half way through the Edge of the World tour. I ended up leaving the tour and going with my own band to promote it.”
The Adventures of Roosterboy was released in 2003. The songs on the album are all originals penned by Shipp with the exception of ‘If You Had a Soul’ which was co-written with Thornton. The music is swampy and hard driving with a lot of grooves throughout. Shipp’s guitar work is original and tasty and his lyrics are a sassy, in your face trip. His vocals have a breathy, raspy quality and put one in mind of Mark Knopfler or an early Bruce Springsteen. To steal a quote from the liner notes, Rooseterboy is “a moon pie for those dark moments of the soul.”
Shipp’s current project, The Michael Shipp Xcursion, has been planning strategy for about a year. Shipp, his brother Nick and drummer Kenny Hall make up the power trio. “Kenny and I have known each other for 25 year and had never played together. I hadn’t played with my brother for ten years. I had gone off and done the stuff with Billy and other artists. I took a hiatus for about two and half years after my child was born, running the business and letting my wife be a stay at home mom. Then, you get to wanting to play again. It’s kind of an addiction. So, I met up with Kenny and we started rehearsing some stuff and going through bass players. I finally asked Nick if he wanted to do it again and it all just clicked right off the bat.
Kenny Hall provides the back beat for the project. Hall is no stranger to the world of traveling minstrels either. So, what’s his story? “My brother was a heavy influence on me” Hall says. “He’s a few years older than I am. He’s a Nashville keyboard player with a doctor’s degree in music. Every time he plays something he does stuff that’s over my head as far as theory and all that. As for playing, I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and I started thinking ‘That’d be kind of cool to play guitar’. Here I am a drummer and I was going to play guitar. I was even going to play it left handed like Paul McCartney. I got a guitar and was playing when my instructor got shipped off to Viet Nam so I lost interest in the guitar. Then I kept looking at this blue sparkle set of drums in a magazine.”
Hall has been playing since he was around twelve years old and has been a paid “professionally” since the ninth grade. “Me and my brother and a cousin and his friend had a band that would play at the Kappa Sigma parties on the weekends because they were in college. I was making $150 - $200 a weekend, coming back and telling all my 8th and 9th grade friends. All the way through high school I played with a band called Happy Jack, a 7 piece band. We were more of an English invasion type band like Yes or Argent. A keyboard oriented thing, maybe two guitar players at one time. Kind of a Steely Dan deal. We had a huge sound with a lot of equipment which was a drawback at times. We were with the same bunch, Consolidated Talent, as Michael and Nick.”
Shipp and Hall were not strangers to each other music. Even though they did not play together until recently, Hall had a recollection of hearing the Shipp’s play for the first time. “The first time I saw Michael and Nicky I shut my eyes and thought ‘Man, they sound just like ZZ Top’. They were good but we never played together. We were always doing our own things. I played through high school and then went to college until I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I got an audition with the Buckinghams and played with them for awhile and then with the Box Tops. I’ve always been playing and it’s something I love…playing music.”
Shipp, with a mischievous grin, chimed in. “You know…he must have been really bad at the guitar for his mother to buy a kid a set of drums.”
Not exactly the case according to Hall. “Funny thing about that is I wasn’t that bad. But my new instructor started teaching me a bunch of Animals songs and bridge stuff. Here I am 9 or 10 years old and I’m doing ‘Beyond the Sunset’ and all these old standards and all of a sudden he’s starting me on this rock and roll stuff and it was scaring me so I lost interest in it. I got to thinking ‘You know Ringo’s kind of cool’. I was beating on my mother’s waste baskets and sofa arms so she had to do something.”
The final piece to the trio is Shipp’s brother, Nick, who plays bass. Nick Shipp brings a powerful bottom end to the trio. His Thundering Thunderbird bass prowess and a fierce display of stacks upon stacks of vintage Ampeg SVT amps are enough to make a person’s chest hair shake. Or at least put some hair on it.
Shipp is currently working on a new album which is being produced by Thornton. “I’ve had to jump on this chance when Billy Bob called me recently. He just signed a deal with Universal and they were asking him to produce some other artists. We always knew he was going to come back and work with me at some point. This has given us a chance to produce this new stuff with me at his studio out there and get it shopped and hopefully get a label deal. Maybe work on some other projects in the future too.”
I got to hear a couple of the songs the two had worked on in Thornton’s Hollywood studio. ‘Bring It On’, co-written by Shipp and Thornton, has a driving ZZ Top feel to it. But it’s more than that. Shipp’s sound, while having some Billy Gibbons influences, is all his own.
“Every one has always said since I started playing that I sounded like ZZ Top and Billy Gibbons. Growing up and everything, what nobody understands even now, is that as far as my major guitar influences, he (Gibbons) would be on down the list. He’s an influence to guitar players, of course, but I always think back to Keith Richards as probably my biggest influence. Then the blues guys which came later on. But Keith Richards, then Dwayne (Allman) and Dickey (Betts). Johhny Winter was a huge influence of mine. It’s what I wanted to do before I knew what ZZ Top was. Now fast forward to being good friends with Billy Gibbons. He tells me this, because I bring this up, that sometimes you feel like your career’s been haunted probably much the same as a singer who sounds like Elvis. Not Elvis impersonators but someone who gets stereotyped for having a voice similar to Elvis. Kind of like actors. There’s been a lot of those artists like that. Sometimes that’s how I feel about my guitar thing. That it’s stereotyped into the Gibbons thing. But Gibbons tells me he feels the same way. He says ‘Look dude. You learned from the same guys I learned from. You learned from Albert King and Muddy Waters.’”
Some of Shipp’s music does have a ZZ Top feel but there are subtle differences that set it apart. Bring It On has a little feel of Hubert Sumlin from when he played with Howlin’ Wolf. “
As any musician will tell you, your sound is your own. When you play, you develop a vibe that is yours and it makes you recognizable in the mists of the musical netherworlds. Shipp shares a story that illustrates this notion exactly. When he (Gibbons) walks into a room he can pick up any guitar and it’s going to sound like Billy Gibbons. He’s just phenomenal. There’s a story about Gibbons being in a studio in San Francisco. One particular artist was throwing a fit in the studio and Gibbons stopped by there. The guy was in a big argument with his engineer and asked Gibbons to help. Gibbons went over and started playing a Strat through a Fender twin and the artist that was throwing the fit said ‘See. Right there is the sound I want.’ The engineer told the artist ‘He (Gibbons) didn’t change a thing.’ It’s in the hands. So much of guitar playing is so underrated of what is in the hands.”
Hall jumped back in the conversation. “What I noticed about playing with Mike when we started this project is there’s no effects. There’s no wah wah pedal, no fuzz tones, no delays. It’s just straight tone. That’s what’s so awesome. He’s getting these tones out of that amp and his playing ability. Michael plays with a lot of conviction and authority. Not wild authority like an ACDC song, running around popping your head back. When he plays, when he picks his guitar up, people listen and they turn heads. They are watching him play. I’m mesmerized every time he takes a ride. It makes me smile.”
“There’s something about tone and taste that I feel like gets left out a lot of times” Shipp says. “A lot of other music you listen to you say ‘If they’d just do this.’ Some guitar players will put so much in there…too many notes, too much filler. They fail to sell the song. To me the guitar fills have to sell the song as much as the vocalist has to sell the lyrics of the song.”
Following up on this I wanted to know Shipp’s take on today’s music and the people playing it. As for blues, today’s younger kid’s history begins with Stevie Ray Vaughn. It seems there is not a lot of new music coming around. “Remember when you had cassette tapes?” Shipp asks. “And you copied one for someone and then they copied that one for someone else and so on. What happened to the quality of the sound the further it got away from the original? I got introduced to the blues by listening to the Animals. But that made me listen to Albert King and BB King and study that stuff. You had the British invasion. The in the mid 70’s the blues style of the Allman Brothers. Then a dead spot. Then you had Stevie Ray Vaughn so that IS their blues. Stevie Ray Vaughn lived the blues and knew who Albert King was. These kids today go back and visit that because it’s the trendy thing to do but they don’t get it.”
Hall adds “Younger kids are musically deprived. They don’t go back to listen to the roots. We grew up with the innovators and not the imitators. Hey, go back to where these people had influences, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eddie Van Halen. All of the guitar players know but many don’t go back to find the roots.”
“A lot of it is not just leaning on Stevie RayVaughn. Using him as an example, his lead playing came natural. He was a marvelous rhythm player that paid the dues and had to learn about and live the blues to play like that. It’s like me using Keith Richards…it’s a rhythm thing. The songs on the Roosterboy CD…everybody tells me those songs have a marvelous structure. I can say that because it just came natural and it was leaning back to that influence. For these younger guys today, rhythm is not part of the whole concept. They learn to solo. Some of them are fortunate enough to make it. It’s an American Idol world.”
So, where are we headed, musically speaking? “A lot of the music is making a turn. People are listening to what’s been put down the sheep’s throat and in their faces. That’s why I’m excited about our new stuff. Why Bob Seger is releasing new stuff. Why people are repaying to see Skynyrd and repaying to see a lot of the late 70’s rock acts. Not only are they reviving because they are old guys sitting around wanting to play music still. They are reviving because they can sell. People want to see the talent. People are looking for something different. They are looking for skill. People have reeducated themselves to what was in the playing and skill of those old performers against what is there now. Kind of like you can download new stuff at any point. I think they are realizing that some of the other stuff is actually in the skill.”
Downloads. There’s an interesting topic. There are lots more chances for exposure these days through taking advantage of the internet. From ring tones to music downloads, it seems there is an endless stream of access and potential income.
“I see my music going the same way as the industry. Right now I think it’s still overwhelming and everybody just has an opinion and I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going to happen. One out of several 100 who hear it are going to purchase something online so it doesn’t get them out of the coffeehouse or the garage and into the big mix. If you can figure out a way to get one out of 50 to purchase you are moving in the right direction but it’s so overwhelming still. It’s like my CD’s. All of a sudden they started selling in London, England not long ago. I was shipping CDs to London every day. What was going on? Something hit. There’s always that possibility someone is paying attention to you. But even the artists who are successful at it still don’t have the answers.”
Shipp will be traveling between Arkansas and Los Angeles for awhile as he works to complete his current project and to help out on Thornton’s project. “We’ll be working on a three to four song demo to shop to a label. Billy Bob and I are working on writing for both projects. He’s got such a cool place to work and it creates a nice vibe. We can both get depressed and write a sad song. We won’t know the direction until we actually get going on it. And there are no time lines. We don’t want to put a time line on the creative process. Billy Bob’s studio is world class but it doesn’t have a clock.”
Shipp’s love of music shines through but he admits it can be a sacrifice and it can be grueling. “I’ve never been able to sell out and do the sleeping on the street thing because I have always had a family since I was 20. It gets busy between starting the two projects with Billy and doing the Michael Shipp Excursion and being with the family…I don’t know if they make a pill for that. I get stretched pretty thin but the other thing is however stretched it is, it’s such a fix to have that music thing to dive back into.”
The Michael Shipp Xcursion MSX RED ZONE OF TONE 2007 will be performing on Saturday, January 27, at Maxine’s in Hot Springs. For more information on Michael Shipp go to www.michaelrshipp.com. For booking information call Unknown Legends Artists at (501) 620-3596 or log onto www.unknownlegendsbooking.com or www.myspace.com/unknownlegendsartists.
"Adventures of Roosterboy" by the Michael Shipp Xcursion has now sold in 14 countries worldwide. Well crafted tunes, working class lyrics, Shipp's growling voice filled with a life long trail of living recklessly, hurt, pain, and smoky roadhouses is sure to tug and identify with the heart of every listener. Guitar slingers rest easy, though. This CD is simply a hidden little treasure chest of tone! Michael collaborated with the ultimate tone guru, Billy F. Gibbons, his pal from that lil ole band from Texas, ZZ Top. The two had worked together previously in Shipp's escapades with Arkansas buddy, Billy Bob Thornton. Armed with a Goldtop, an arsenal of Gibson Goldtone amps, and the Rev. Billy G's tone blessing, Shipp cranked out some devastating licks, tasteful Keith Richards like rhythms, masterful feedback, harmonics and overtones for every single song on this CD. The tunes and the tones all seem to share some common threads that tie these tracks together marvelously. That is also the signature trademark of almost all great guitar grinders, and Shipp can hold his own. Another way of putting it, if it bothers you that every song has in your face signature licks with huge tone that form a character weaving in and out of the lyrics, this might not be your CD; and you probably don't dig the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton......you get the picture! You'll be captured instantly on the opening track, "Voodoo In Tallulah", a song about shining and slinging some black magic. Shipp pays a very explosive tribute to Howlin' Wolf with some of his best guitar laid down in a frenzied pace filled with tremolo, sustain and that treasured tone. His raspy, sexy vocals lend plenty to all the tunes on this CD. "Feelin' Kinda Crazy" is a tune about a macho guy with a heart of stone starting to fall for an unapproachable chick. This tune is a sexy, drenching, dripping duet with Ms. Kimberley Dahme sharing the vocals. Ms. Dahme is currently the bass player for Tom Scholtz and Boston. She is all over Adventures of Roosterboy with her perfect well seasoned vocals.
Adventures of Roosterboy is a throwback to the early 70's concept type records. Co-producer Steve Tolson even suggests a heavy lean towards a headphone listen will unveil some very cool production and head tripping enjoyment. The CD follows the path of a poor guy, down on his luck as he proceeds with life in the Deep South. Caught up in love, losing women, and fighting off demons follows him wherever. Fooling around with a sheriff's wife lands him in Angola Prison for a crime he didn't do, as suggested in a slow ballad called "Blue Malibu". Shipp claims this song is about getting out of prison and going back to retrieve a lost love, not what you thought it would be. He says it "shows us that we all have our demons, but sometimes they are riding in the backseat with us!"
Michael Shipp grew up in Arkansas, not far from Memphis. His guitar playing is phenomenal, but these songs on this CD are personal, yet we can all identify with them in some way. One track, "If You Had A Soul" is co-written by Shipp's longtime friend and partner, Billy Bob Thornton, the Oscar Winning actor as well as talented musician from Arkansas. Shipp met Billy Bob Thornton when the two were still teenagers. They shared the same passion for music then as now. In the 80's, while living in Houston, Texas, the two toured in a band called Tres Hombres. They nailed ZZ Top tunes in a tribute show, and also performed their own tunes. Tres Hombres recorded one album, (vinyl) on Trigger Records titled 'Gunslinger'. (Now out of print, although a few have surfaced on Ebay recently due to Thornton's movie fame and Shipp's popularity among his dedicated music fans.) The two Arkansas cats enjoyed touring 12 countries in 2002 promoting Thornton's Private Radio CD on Lost Highway Records. They also toured together on Thornton's 2003 release of 'Edge of the World' CD. Michael penned a nice tune with Billy Bob for this one titled 'Everybody Lies'. He also arranged several of the songs and played some cool guitar all over the CD. During that tour, Shipp left Thornton's band to focus on his own music, band and tour schedule. Thornton is quoted in the credits of Adventures of Roosterboy stating "Michael Shipp's eerie, swampy music is the southern music we miss so much these days". Another fantastic quote from a major artist says "you will have to listen to the whole CD once you have heard one of Michael Shipp's songs. He takes you on a guitar driven ride through Texas and ends up with the blues somewhere in Memphis", says Felicia Collins of the CBS Orchestra on the David Letterman Show.
Shipp's music certainly crosses over into the jam band genre, as well as blues rock, and progressive rock. One super cool moment on the CD includes a guest appearance by the Godfather of Jam Rock, Col. Bruce Hampton, ret. Hampton enjoyed major success with his Aquarium Rescue Unit in the 80's and is currently touring with his band, The Code Talkers. Col. Bruce guests on Adventures of Roosterboy on a track called CBH: Sermon from the Cell Phone. It's a sermon all right, straight onto the cheesiest answering machine and certainly follows up on the 'self-righteous' theme of the haunting 'Voices".
More on the life of Michael Shipp can be found on his official website, http://www.michaelrshipp.com. A great article on another guitar giant friend, written by Shipp, discusses in detail a major jam session with Dickey Betts that took place on a steamy night in Cleveland, Ohio. Another article discusses a video directed by Thornton using Shipp's Arkansas studio featuring superstar jam band Widespread Panic. Shipp and Thornton are friends of this Athens band and have jammed with them a few times in the past. A great photo gallery including shots of Shipp with Thornton, Billy Gibbons, Johnny Cash (a major influence), Little Feat, Matt Damon, Felicia Collins, and many others is on the site.
Adventures of Roosterboy is a huge step in the career of this great artist. You will not be disappointed. If you love guitar rock, great songs, raspy vocals and dig artist such as The Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones, (Keith Richards another huge influence), ZZ Top, Johnny Cash, and the concept records of the early 70's vibe, you will dig this CD. Take a trip, turn this CD up loud and you will rock like it's supposed to be done, starting with the very first tune. Every song, every story, this is certainly not one of those 'one song' CD's. So take a trip, crank it up, and give a listen......but watch out for those demons in your own backseat!
Note: Michael always appreciates hearing from you, your reviews, or stories of where his music may have taken you. Take a moment to email us, post a message on the guest list at the official website, or post a review right here on CD Baby. We want to hear from you.
The reviews roll in....here's what they're saying....
Blues Lightning This Good Never Strikes Twice!
by Cynthia Hawkins Rating: 10
The Michael Shipp Xcursion's "The Adventures of Roosterboy" knocked my silk stockings off! I haven't heard an album this good since the late Warren Zevon's "The Wind" came out last fall. The song "Voodoo in Tallulah" is worth the purchase price of this sensational album all by its lonesome, but the rest of the cuts are 100% pure backwoods gee-tar kaballah! "Messing With My Heart" has been messing with my head for weeks with its wicked, sexy riff. We're talking music on the prowl! I may never get my black stocking seams straight again! Axe-master Michael Shipp is a full-tilt-boogie sex god! Buy this CD!
by Bill Allison Rating: 10
Oh man. This is incredible. I've been infatuated with Mike's playing since I first heard a song called "Island Avenue" from a cd called "Hollywood Goes Wild". I'm not sure what it was, but something about his style just totally won me over in a way that no other axeman could ever hope to touch. Maybe it's just good old fashioned "soul". When I got wind that he had a solo album out, I was all over it, and believe me, I was NOT disappointed. Who knew that he was also a great singer as well? "The Adventures of Rooster Boy" is not only a great guitar-rock album (it's SO much more than just that) it's kind of a spiritual journey that will transport you to the backwoods of Arkansas (GOD I miss it) and will pick you up no matter how down you are. When I hear this, it (to put it simple) makes me glad to be alive. This is one of the few albums in my extensive collection that I can put on and never skip a song. I have to hear the whole thing straight through.
It's so refreshing to hear such an original voice out there. Michael Shipp is a one of a kind artist with a brighter-than-bright future ahead of him. His guitar work has effected me in a way that can never be matched and I'm HIGHLY looking forward to seeing him live.
Seriously folks, if you're tired of all the mainstream stuff that's passing of as rock music these days, this is a MUST own. I wouldn't just reccommend this to guitar-rock fans, I'd reccommend it to anyone who loves great music. I'm at a loss for words. I can't praise it enough.
PLEASE keep up the great work Mike.
Roadhouse Rock at its Best
by Carl Cotton Rating: 10
I went on the Michael Shipp Xcusion today. Just got the CD and am listening to it for the second time as I type. WOW! I love it. This album is filled with humor, heart, and the pain of lost loves. It's roadhouse rock the way it was born to be. When asked to define good rock 'n' roll, Lester Bangs said, "It's something that's makes you feel alive, it's something that's human...." He would have loved Xcursion.
Michael Shipp is a poet of the heart, who lays visceral feelings on the table. My favorite tracks, so far, are "Voices," and the untitled final song. About his voice, you guys remember when people used to say that Dire Straights sounds like Bob Dylan if Bob Dylan could sing? Well, Michael Shipp sounds like Tom Waits if Tom Waits could sing. No offense meant to anyone, I love, and listen to, all those guys.
The Lester Bangs quote is from his biography, "Let it Blurt," by Jim DeRogatis, and that's a good read by the way.
by Jahna Rating: 10
This artist has a great sound, dig those smokey vocals. Great talent and production.