Thursday, November 04, 2010

John Shipe Brings a Villain or Two to Life February 1st

John Shipe’s latest album, Villain, should come with a dramatis personæ. Creating, inhabiting, and giving voice to characters is what Shipe does best. Villain is filled with them: an artist begging critics to go easy; a woman whose commitment to saving the world cripples her ability to love; and from the title track, a man who blames his bad luck on women who always go for the villain. Each of these people is rendered honestly, but with empathy, giving the album a fun, storytelling feel which fits the folk-pop feel of the music. It seems that Shipe’s philosophy on this, “If you fully embrace the character, it will flow out effortlessly; you won’t have to force or contrive it” is spot-on. Villain, Shipe’s 10th album, is due out February 1, 2011.

While John Shipe now resides in North Hollywood, it hasn’t always been bright lights, big city for him. Villain was born from a time in the wilderness. When Shipe returned from living in Yellowstone, he had songs, but was puzzled about how they fit together. A friend and collaborator, Ehren Ebbage (The Dimes), who produced the album, helped him find the links. The album celebrates the way people deal with disappointment; sometimes with sadness, sometimes victoriously. For Shipe it reinforced the fact that he should “trust my instincts and keep working; the meaning and usefulness of the work will show itself in due time.” And he knows a thing or two about work. His rigorous practice schedule and constant desire to learn new things is what keeps driving the music to new places. “I’m not complacent about my style or ability, and I still dream of pulling off the amazing stuff that I haven’t yet mastered,” says Shipe.

Love Belongs to Everyone by johnshipe

Yellow House
, John Shipe’s last album, was recorded at his home studio West of Eden and received some significant attention, including charting on the Freeform American Roots charts and independent and commercial airplay. The success of Yellow House convinced Shipe that acoustic freeform Americana was the way to go. Villain is the next logical step, bass and drums recorded at state-of-the-art Crossroads Productions in Vancouver, WA, more instrumentation, and the help of Ehren Ebbage give the album a more polished sound without losing the focus on Shipe’s songwriting.

On Villain, audiences will find, along with vivid, cinematically-drawn characters, pop cadences in a folk package, with rural touches, but without country twang. His sophisticated composition draws comparisons to the Beatles, Aimee Mann, Elvis Costello, and other songcraft-oriented pop acts.


Track Listing

1. Lion
2. Villain
3. Love Belongs to Everyone
4. Some Hidden Things
5. Hard to Believe (with Halie Loren)
6. What Right Do We Have to Fall in Love?
7. Little Boats
8. Another Disaster
9. No Use Crying Over a Spilt Life
10. Dead Kite
11. Feel Good Song

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