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..........I know what you're thinking out there.
..........You who, when faced with an ever-narrowing range of music choices from disposable dance-pop, derivative hip-hop, and rock bands whose influences apparently run the gamut from Pearl Jam's "Ten" to Alice In Chains' "Dirt", asks yourself, "Doesn't anybody write songs anymore? Songs that sound just as good when you strum them on a porch as when you hear them blasting from a car radio or out of a PA system set to eleven?"
..........The answer to your hypothetical question is, "Yes." There are a few out there doing it right and struggling to be heard. One of those bands is Shrug, whose bio you're holding in your hot little hands.
..........Born in Dayton, Ohio, Shrug pulls off a combination of absorbing the good stuff from all different styles coupled with a go-your-own-way-ness that is unique to the midwest, where things tend to move slow and safe and where you need to be an alpha cat to keep from getting sucked into the routine. (Or you need to be deranged. Trust me - There is no eccentric like midwest-eccentric.) But I digress. Let's get to the heart of the matter, like I mentioned earlier: the songs.
..........Imagine the structure and attention to craft of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers combined with the edge of Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers. Imagine Counting Crows' party being crashed by Nirvana. Or Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie refereeing a battle between Elvis Costello, The Who, REM, Steve Earle, Jeff Buckley and the Jayhawks. That should give you an idea of what Shrug is about. The signer/guitarist grew up on classic rock radio. The drummer grew up on 80s pop. The bassist's a jazzer, and the second guitarist's into psychedelia and other English weirdness. Put these ingredients in the stew, and out comes Shrug, with both a reverence for the past and a desire to take it somewhere new.
..........In a region where other outfits have withered and died, Shrug has survived, playing energetic, heartfelt, literate rock 'n' roll to a devoted following that knows a good thing when they hear it. Give 'em a try. I think you'll be glad you did.
..........The song lives!
....................- Fred Shank
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