Thank you Joshua Miller @ Shepherd Express for the interview and article!
In recent years, Shonn Hinton has spent much of his time as the touring guitarist for Mary J. Blige. However, when the pandemic forced touring to a halt, the guitarist, producer, and singer-songwriter found himself back in Milwaukee with free time to write new music.
It led him to realize it was time to create another album with his band Shotgun, who had been on hiatus for several years.
“With the pandemic slowing everything down, I felt like, ‘This is the perfect opportunity to really put the emphasis on working on a second album,’” Hinton says. “You hear so much about the sophomore jinx, I was that much more committed to making sure that this sophomore album for Shotgun is all killers and no fillers. That's what I was looking for. That's what my expectation was while writing the album.”
Hinton and Shotgun will celebrate the release of that album, RELOADED, on Nov. 6 with a live stream of their performance at Neverland Productions.
On RELOADED, the band’s chemistry even more finessed, eclectic, and energetic with shades of rock, blues, soul, and funk. In addition to their collective experiences aiding that growth, listening to classic rock on the radio—specifically 96.5 WKLH—provided Hinton inspiration for how to create immediate-sounding songs. He wants to emulate bands that can easily hop between genres, such as The Rolling Stones, and hopes the band can one day be listed as one of the greats.
Studying Classic Rock
“I really enjoyed listening to the up-tempo stuff,” he says. “That's what helped to get the creative juices flowing, man. I don't think classic rock is a dated genre because the stuff still goes hard…Working on this album really made me go to YouTube to study these cats. And not just their music, but their lives. What they did, how they operated, how they took care of their bandmates.
“It inspired me to really dig deep with Shotgun and make sure that we remain a tight unit for years and years to come,” he continues. “You hear the horror stories about The Eagles and how their last performance, they were all on stage threatening each other. It was like, I don't want that for my band, but I love all of the good parts about who The Eagles were.
“The bad parts, it was definitely a learning experience, but when I watch these behind the music's on YouTube or the documentaries on Netflix about these different ... about the bands that I enjoy listening to, it sent a chunk of energy to my every part of my being.”
That tsunami-like energy can be heard and felt on the band’s new music. So much so that you could assume that they recorded it together in a studio. However, due to the pandemic, they recorded their parts separately and traded the recording files back and forth.
Recording Home Alone
“Some of the people that have heard the album like our manager, Kris Raymond, or my mom, and they ask, ‘Where did you all cut the album at?’ And I tell them, ‘Because of the pandemic, we weren’t in a studio together,’” Hinton says. “That blows people’s minds. That's my favorite story to tell people, we cut this album during a pandemic at our homes…Being that I’m a songwriter and a producer and having a laptop and an interface and a studio mic, that just lets you know right there, a studio is a state of mind.”
Hinton has been focused on getting by as best he can during the pandemic, and offers that fighting spirit on “We Will Survive” and “Your Way Back Home,” With the former, he wanted to write a song to help people get through the pandemic but also address the protests and “civil unrest” around the country and the loss of lives at MillerCoors.
“My goal was to look at the glass half full as opposed to looking at the glass half empty,” he says. “Everything around us is going completely haywire, but I do believe in my heart that we will get through this thing. We will survive it. I started thinking about everything I’ve ever heard in school, quotes that I’ve heard. It’s always the darkest before the dawn. The trivia game show question that I heard about a wet towel in a dryer. It’s wettest before it can get dry. I took all of that into consideration and it actually helped to write it.”
“Your Way Back Home” also offers that glimmer of hope.
“You want it to be a personal experience for them even if they don’t have anybody to support them or support whatever it is that they’re dealing with,” he says. “I want it to be that beacon of light, like, ‘Listen, no matter where, what you’re doing, where you're coming, where you come from, what the situation may be, you can always find your way back home.’”
“That's what we all look for. Some sense of normality. A sense of home. When I think about home, I get warm and fuzzy feelings being at home, being embraced by my wife and my children. That was something that I felt was needed with what's happening around the world today.”
Link to the original article: https://shepherdexpress.com/music/local-music/shonn-hinton-and-shotgun-get-a-musical-reload/