Long before playing hundreds upon hundreds of shows and sharing the stage with countless venerable icons of their craft, the members of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown were just wide-eyed, attentively mesmerized kids listening to records; knowing early on that music would guide their journeys through life. Perhaps it’s for that very reason that the last few years have urged them to ask a question that has become so ubiquitous in our culture, both in America and abroad: “What am I meant to do with my skills? How can I best serve myself and the people I care for? How do I keep the enthusiasm of a kid hearing rock and roll for the first time alive?”
Following the release of their last album on Snakefarm Records (Pressure) in 2020, TBSD decided it was time to return to their independent roots. This change in course was inspired both by urgency and an enduring sense of commitment to their audience. The hope ultimately being that having a greater degree of ownership over the recording, promotion, and release of their music will strengthen the conviction of the band, while tearing down any barriers that could prevent fans from hearing their most earnest work. The decision was made and Rattle Shake Records was born.
“We spend so much time writing and recording, it’s time we start spending more time sharing our art with the people who care. We’ve seen how the soup gets made and are confident that any ingredients we are missing will be obtained. That’s the spirit of this band and has been since day one. We’ve built our fan base in such a grass roots way that it only makes sense. They want to support us and OUR collective cause. When I say “our,” I’m including the fans. They are the reason we feel confident enough to make this leap. This is the next logical step in our trajectory as a band and we are thrilled to offer up “Shake The Roots” as the first release from Rattle Shake Records.”
Bryant remains grateful for the journey thus far, and brimming with excitement for what lies ahead. In his mind, he, Caleb Crosby, & Graham Whitford are neither too far removed from the early days of the band playing clubs overseas, or an enduring ‘DIY’ mentality for what lies ahead. Bryant says, “The “Do It Yourself” mentality is very close to the heart of rock and roll. Oh you say no? Well, we say yes, so look out.”
Although the band has shared the stage with artists such as AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Aerosmith & Jeff Beck, to name a few, one doesn’t get the sense that any of these guys are above driving all day, pushing their own cases, and leaving it all on the stage when given the chance. This is a band that has something to prove and will go to great lengths to do so.
The first single Shakedown fans can look forward to from “Shake The Roots” is “Ain’t None Watered Down.” It’s a song penned by Bryant and Rebecca Lovell. “When Caleb, Graham, and I started talking about what we wanted to do next, we kept kicking around the idea of getting back to our initial roots as a band. So much of that was steeped in low down blues and rock and roll. One morning I was kicking around a little song idea with my wife and “Ain’t None Watered Down” was born. Everything fell into place so naturally. Once the Shakedown got hold of it and it served as a road map of sorts for the new album.”
“Shake The Roots” is the bands fifth full length album. It encompasses the energy of their live show and is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Shakedown. The edges are not sanded down, but the attention to detail is not lacking one bit. It sounds as if they approached the writing and recording of this record with the same intention they approach their live performances with. It is evident that the band means it and wants it to mean even more to their fans.
“Ghostrider” is another standout on the the album. The no frills approach makes you think, “If I was a sound guy, I would want to mix this band loud!” “Roots” is a classic tip of the hat to the band’s inspiration and you can hear that they’ve diligently studied at the school of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. “Learned to swim in muddy waters, learned to walk on rolling stones.” The track “Sell Yourself” says, “If you don’t sell yourself, you’re gonna get sold by somebody else.” So many of the lyrics on this record feel as if they are telling the truth and nothing but the truth.
As the Shakedown embarks on relatively uncharted waters at this stage in their career, Bryant feels fortunate to have such a wide-ranging and evolving education. These days, the lessons have come courtesy of the frontman’s studio in Nashville, TN. Tyler & Caleb recently contributed to the new Larkin Poe record, “Blood Harmony.”
“I got to do some engineering and co-produce a new record for Larkin Poe! Over the last few years, I really started focusing a lot of my energy on producing records. Caleb, Graham, and I all spent so much time in the studio. Our writing got better and my skills as an engineer/producer have certainly developed in a positive way. I started working with a bunch of artists that I love. I felt I could bring a certain danger to the process. Getting to co-produce “Blood Harmony” with Larkin Poe most certainly proved that investing in a bunch of old microphones was well worth it. Caleb played drums on the majority of the record and all of the time he and I have spent over the years makes us a force in the studio. We can look at each other without saying a word and the conversation gets had. To me, it reminded me of the team spirit that I always imagined and admired in so many bands that I love. To have that in my own band and be able to harness it to make music… That’s a powerful feeling.”
Tyler puts this pivot in their business model simply, “We want to release MORE music and we want our fans to know that their support is what is fueling it.” It’s one thing to choose to become the master of your own destiny, but it’s an entirely different animal to identify the adversity that may come your way in the process. Bryant has grown into the type of person who no longer sees that as a red stop sign. For him, it’s often a useful indicator to keep pushing forward. “I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety over the years and there are certain techniques that you use to manage it. You learn how to breathe properly. That’s sort of what the Shakedown is doing right now. We’re learning these techniques that will allow us to breathe and thrive as a band. Sure, there’s some insecurity in what we’re doing, but that insecurity is fuel. If you know what you’ve gotta do in your heart, you’ve just gotta do it.”
For a band that’s stood on too many decorated stages to count, and seen first hand how the greats always seize the opportunity to push beyond their comfort zone, we shouldn’t be surprised by their new endeavor. It’s just the latest in a long list of lessons learned. If there is one thing we know for certain, the roots run deep with Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown.