Brett Shady
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Brett Shady

Nevada City, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Nevada City, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Solo Americana Acoustic




"Brett Shady–dusty, nostalgic sunshine"

It has been raining here all summer but if it was sunny I would love to be lying under a tree with a glass of basil lemonade and the summery sounds of Brett Shady latest album. “National Hotel” is easy listening. It’s not too much of anything but it is oh so pleasant. Shady’s voice sounds like sunlight streaming through the pine trees. The instrumentals are fast and casual.

The album opens with “Someone’s Southern Song”. It’s a fun, classic girl-who-got-away song. It’s quick and punchy, the lyrics are engaging, easy to follow, and oh so nostalgic. I love the additional voices joining in on the chorus.

“I don’t need another heartache. I don’t need another mistake. I need love from you, girl.” “I Will Never Run” is sweet and ambling. I love the clappy rhythms and the shouted bridge.

“Stay Together” does not have the jiving, layered instrumentals in the beginning but it has a gingery sweetness all its own. When the chorus arrives, all of that sweetness pools into a lagoon of trumpets and guitars. I really like the harmonies, the subtle female voice in the first voice. I like the way that Shady’s voice rises almost to a shout when the music intensifies. This song is simple, beautiful, soulful, and catchy! Probably my favorite track on the album.

“It’s Not Going to Be Alright” incorporates those trumpets again. (Brass instruments are so underutilized in folk music.) This song swings and swoons. There are some glorious, off kilter harmonies, some tapping rhythms, some great lyrics full of memories.

“National Hotel” finishes off with “Come Say Hello” which is dusty, dreamy, sad, and full of apologies. I love the stories and pictures that these songs imprint into my mind. I love the way that the guitar carries them along. I love Shady’s classic sounding voice. “Wish you’d come say hello when the rain turns to snow.”

Check this guy out. If you’re in California, he’s playing at California Worldfest on Friday. - Ear To The Ground Music

"Shady to celebrate ‘National Hotel’ release"

Local singer-songwriter Brett Shady celebrates the release of his second album National Hotel, this Saturday, at the record's namesake, the historic National Hotel in Nevada City.

It has been four years since listeners were first introduced to Shady's lush harmonies; emotionally rich Americana pop songs a la Andrew Bird and Jackson Browne. His breakout album, The Devil To Pay, was recorded with a handful of friends and self-released, the record received favorable reviews and helped to open the doors to sharing the stage with the likes of Chris Isaak, Hank Williams Jr. and Jeff Bridges among others.

Written during a turbulent period in the musician's life, which included a difficult breakup, National Hotel looks back over a lifetime of love, regret, faithfulness and heartbreak.

"My first album was written from a stable, suburban house in Burbank, looking back at what got me to where I was then," explains Shady.

"This one was written bit-by-bit in the middle of the biggest transition of my life. The first song I wrote for it was written from a tiny one-room house, having just returned to Nevada City after 12 years away, I had just ended a serious relationship and was wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life. And one of the last songs written for it came out of a tune I was humming to my then six-month-old daughter from a home I was now sharing with my wife and new family."

Shady enlisted the aid of renowned engineer/producer Tim Green (Comets on Fire, Drunk Horse, The Fresh & Onlys, Melvins) of Louder Studios to record National Hotel. Shady knew he would be coming into the studio with a full band and was looking for someone to collaborate with.
"I mostly work with bands as opposed to solo artists. Working with bands, I'm in the position of making sure everyone feels like their input is important and that the whole creative process runs more or less by consensus," explains Green. "Working with a solo artist, like Brett, it's a similar dynamic, but really the final say is up to him because it's his name on the record. Luckily he is a benevolent leader who values everyone's input."

National Hotel features many of the same musicians Shady worked with on The Devil To Pay including Jason Graham, David Nicholson, Ryan Donnelly, and Jonathan Hansard. Several other local musicians make guest appearances on the album such as acoustic duo The Moore Brothers, Adam Kline and Ehren Haas of Golden Shoulders, and Randi Soule.

"On this album the band was more involved with the writing and arranging of the music and their parts," said Shady. "We tried a lot of new stuff, but there is so much I want to do. I already have another full concept album ready in my mind. I can see now, I'm not slowing down." - The Union

"#515: Interstellar / Top 5 Movie Sacrifices"

Josh and Adam actually recorded this way-too-friendly review of Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR three months ago – it just took a detour through a wormhole to get here. Plus, the Top 5 Movie Sacrifices.

Music: Brett Shady / Simon Harris - Filmspotting Podcast

"Stagecoach 2013: Stampeding to the Mane stage, chilling in the tents"

Relaxing in the Palomino tent was a far less strenuous activity. That’s where Brett Shady kicked off the festival’s music proceedings with his top-notch band.

The L.A.-based singer-songwriter, a former member of Northern California indie rockers Golden Shoulders, turned in a highly satisfying set culled from his excellent 2010 effort The Devil to Pay. His easygoing Americana music set was characterized by cascading harmonies, often reminiscent of the Band (on songs such as “Somebody Else” and “Waltz for a Girl in South Carolina”), as well as tasteful electric guitar solos (on “Jerome, AZ”) and a sense of honesty that evoked Jackson Browne. - OC Register

"Brett Shady: The Devil to Pay"

In all honesty this is one of the top 5 records on my playlist and has been since it entered my consciousness last year. The simple, yet soulful arrangements meld perfectly with Brett Shady’s classic storytelling imagery. The lyrics leave enough room for personal application while clearly pouring straight from the heart of an honest, sensitive man.
There is an infectious optimist to songs like Angels, Ghosts And Demons that comes off as a balanced counterpoint to the despair of Red House Plea.
A beautifully energized set of tales of love, loss and alienation; this is a record that has strong individual songs but plays best as a piece. Allowing the listener to move through the well orchestrated emotions contained in its 10 tracks. The Devil to Pay is not merely a sleeper songwriter’s record but a solid addition to any music lover’s collection of records that stay relevant and songs that speak to your heart in soothing tones. - The Past

"Devil To Pay"

I recently stumbled upon a musician called Brett Shady and I’m in love with his Devil To Pay album. Luckily for you, it’s on Soundcloud:
(My personal favorite is “Angels Ghosts and Demons”. I play it a lot – and loud – in my car, singing and hand drumming the whole time. And the end is so good!) - Suburban Bohemia

"On the Radar: Brett Shady"

The very name Nevada City calls to mind high dry plains, rocks and scrub brush, and whether or not this is what it actually looks like, the mental image a is perfect backdrop for the music of Brett Shady. His new album, The Devil To Pay, was recorded here in his home town with producer Dana Gumbiner (Joanna Newsom, The Moore Brothers). Here are two choice tunes from the album for your perusal.

Continued... - The Dadada

"Brett Shady: The Devil to Pay"

Brett Sent his music to us at TWJ a week or so ago and I grabbed it to post about. There is something endearing about his songs that is easy to grab onto. He’s got a little bit of country, americana and pop to his sound. It’s hard to get people’s attention as an acoustic musician these days, but Brett succeeds with his smooth voice, well written lyrics and sincerity. He reminds me of songwriters like Ron Sexsmith, crafting simple and heartfelt songs. I recommend listening to the whole album, The Devil to Pay, which you can do right here thanks to Brett’s sound cloud set. You can also download a couple of the songs. - The Wounded Jukebox



A rollicking, fun-loving drinking song, which is surprisingly tender. Really great for cheering oneself up. I hope the rest of Shady’s début reflects this formula. - CHRIS AND JAN'S EXPLORATION INTO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

"IndieFeed Music Discovery"

"Clear, simple, essential music" - IndieFeed

"Best Albums of 2010"

#6 [This] album's charms can be found in equal parts of simple yet smart and affecting ‘everyman’ lyrics, beautiful sparse country-tinged arrangements, and incredible sing-along pop moments. Not a poor track to be found here, but there are certainly highlights that hopefully are a sign of things to come. - The Music of James Gillice

"Fresh Track: Brett Shady "Angels, Ghosts & Demons""

A young and very talented new musician named Brett Shady passed his folky debut full-length LP The Devil to Pay my way and I was immediately drawn in by how defined his songwriting abilities were. Produced by Dana Gumbiner (Joanna Newsom, The Moore Brothers, Mariee Sioux), The Devil to Pay is as much of an album about heartbreak and loss as it is about life and all of its many journey’s. From it’s artwork to it’s lyrics, Shady draws a great deal of influence off of life out there in the open, and if he can’t be with the one that he wants, then there’s always an endless road to keep traveling down on.
This fresh track entitled “Angels, Ghosts and Demons” is the album closer, but rather then end things hopelessly on a royal downer, Shady opts to go with his most uptempo number, one that features a 1/2 kick, snare percussion and ramshackle strumming. In its closing minute, the number reveals it’s hidden beauty beneath it all with a few broken chorded note spatter and howling echoed chants: “You ain’t got the best of me” providing an optimistic farewell for those in need. - Neon Musical Insight

"Brett Shady - The Devil To Pay"

Brett Shady is a singer-songwriter who has fronted rock and punk bands for fifteen years, but after a cross-country tour with his last band, Golden Shoulders, he realized he need more artistic control and was no longer satisified performing other people's music hence The Devil to Pay (August 10, 2010, Unsigned/Self-Released). Most of the songs on the album were written about his move from Northern California to Los Angeles ten years ago which was a time marked with isolation, depression, and adjustment. Recorded in Nevada City, California with the producer Dana Gumbiner, The Devil to Pay is minimal production with the basics -- guitar, banjo, bass, and drums -- which helps to bring focus to Shady's lyrics.

Continued... - Common Folk Music

"Brett Shady: The Devil to Pay"

The opening track of singer-songwriter Brett Shady’s solo debut is very good (especially for the terrific lyric “For every somebody somewhere in love / there’s somebody else”), but it’s the defeated loneliness of the second track, “Jerome, AZ” that sets the album’s emotional hook. Shady sings of giving up on his big city dream and heading for open skies. But even though he didn’t give up on his own big city dream, his initial discontent with Los Angeles, born of the dislocation and culture shock felt by a gold country immigrant provides much of the album’s emotional fuel.

Continued... - Hyperbolium

"[Listen/Download] – End Of Summer Mixtape – 40 Songs To Mourn The Passing Of Summer"

The songs below are a representation of songs that remind me of Summer, have been a part of a previous summer I’ve had, or that I’ve been listening to on multi-repeat over the last few months. Some have a stereotypical Summer sound whilst others are just songs I’ve discovered during the Summer months.

Continued... - ListenBeforeYouBuy

"Brett Shady – 9.16.2010 @ Yellow Feather Coffee (Show Review)"

On tour with Adam Kline and Jonathan Hansard as Golden Shoulders, Brett Shady opened the show at Yellow Feather Coffee with a set of his own material. The songs were great, and I regret not picking up his new album when I had the chance. Don’t make the same mistake–The Devil To Pay was released on 8/10/2010 is now available on CD Baby. (My favorite song from the set? “Angels, Ghosts & Demons”.) - The Flat Response

"BRETT SHADY-The Devil to Pay"

A little quick one. Brett Shady, formerly of Golden Shoulders, has released a nice little singer-songwriter alum that’s rootsy, acoustic, well-writtend and well sung. Very well sung, indeed. - Berkeley Place

"Homegrown Artist - Brett Shady"

"The Devil to Pay features guitar, bass, banjo, drums, and vocals. It reminds me a bit of The Avett Brothers, as it’s a bit on the border of country-sounding folk-Americana." -

Appearing live on Sept. 24, 2010 at Cafe Muse at 9:00pm (6547 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA). - Amoeba Music

"[Introducing] – Brett Shady"

A few days ago on Twitter I mentioned that when I come across that one gem in my inbox, it makes it all worthwhile when you’ve spent an hour wading through all of the submissions that are either tedious or terrible.

Well that one gem I was talking about was Brett Shady, a dude from Burbank, California who just released his self-released debut album “The Devil To Pay” on August 10th. The song that got me hooked and swaying from side to side like an impatient drunk was “Angels, Ghosts And Demons”, an upbeat barnstormer with a ubiquitous and infectious chorus that has about 182 people yelling and all stomping their feet. The verses are similar to Glasvegas’ “Daddy’s Gone” but he makes it all entirely his own with the last minute of the song trailing off into an ethereal tunnel of harmonics.

Songs like “God, Change The Laws Of The World” and “Somebody Else” will get you lost in his voice and his lyrics as he wails over the top of his guitar and banjo, making people who don’t like even a hint of country music get right the fuck into it. You can hear three songs from his debut album below and on his MySpace page he has a couple of others.

Continued... -

"God, Change the Laws of the World"

This song is perfect for almost everything. Well, maybe not like murdering someone or choking on a hot dog but you get what I’m saying. - Hello Moye

"Best Albums of '08... Part Deux!"

25. Brett Shady (Burbank, CA) Demo
He sounds almost exactly Paul Simon, which might be a problem if he didn't write songs like Paul Simon, but he does... so no big deal. He's in process of putting together an actual album, and when he does I suspect you'll hear about it... at least from me.
Song: "Red House Plea"
Winner of: Artist Most Likely to Write the Song "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard, part II"
- London, ON: Burgeoning Metropolis Music Blog

"“Angels, Ghosts, and Demons” - Brett Shady"

After touring and performing with rock and punk bands for fifteen years, Brett Shady realized it was time to take his own talent to another level. And if you ask me, it’s a damn good thing he did. If it weren’t for him realizing his talent was worth pursuing, I wouldn’t be able to be sitting here, brand new headphones on, tapping my foot to a beat that’s reminscent of Johnny Cash and a voice altogether new. His upcoming album, The Devil to Pay, to be released August 10th, features guitar, bass, banjo, drums, and vocals. It reminds me a bit of The Avett Brothers, as it’s a bit on the border of country-sounding folk-Americana, but doesn’t cross over into what I consider a no-go zone: country music.

Continued... - Sunset In The Rearview

"Friday the 13th's Goodness: Brett Shady"

This is one of those 'lucky it fell in my lap' songs, as I've been listening to it all week and having some serious foot tapping sessions. There unfortunately isn't a ton of music to listen to online by this talented dude, Brett Shady, but what a great song this is, titled "Angels, Ghosts, and Demons." Lyrically full of personal experiences and ups and downs, musically upbeat, and easily evoking early Johnny Cash - it's a great jam. Call me an emo guy, but the final minute of the song actually gets to me a bit, it just seems deep rooted from somewhere, always have to wonder what experiences artists write about in their songs.

Continued... - Top-Shelf Audio Daily

"Tune For Today - Brett Shady's "God, Change the Laws of the World""

few years ago we were fortunate enough to work with the adorable emo boy Brett Shady here at WOW. All the while he was here, he was also fronting a band or two. Then this morning, while we were browsing the site of former WOW worker and permanent wowlebrity, the lovely Moye Ishimoto, imagine our surprise when we discovered she had posted a moving video of Brett going solo in slo-mo, which we present here. Yes, we've gone all warm and runny today; it's the combination of Brett and Moye. -

"Brett Shady Interview"

I started playing music in Nevada City, CA and have lived in Los Angeles for the past ten years. I've been singing in bands for about 15 years and recently decided to try writing and playing my own stuff.

I just recorded an album back in Nevada City with some friends of mine and I think it turned out great. It’s nice to have a ton of talented friends, it makes things much easier.

Continued... - Audio Ammunition


The Devil to Pay, 2010

National Hotel, 2014

National Hotel Acoustic Bonus Album, 2015

If Anything Means Anything This Means Everything (upcoming EP, release set for Spring 2018)




[Brett] Shady follows in a long line of rock musicians whose later years led them away from the outward-bound excess of rock and punk to the introspective songwriting of folk and Americana... There’s a sensibility in the combination of disparate musical influences – waltzing country, folk strumming, pop melodies, 50s balladry, indie-pop – that could only come from a single head full of music listening. It all tumbles out so seamlessly as to make it look simple.