Seattle legend Shawn Smith and longtime friend and musical savant, Happy Chichester are about to set out on their first tour together and are playing two NYC dates, we chatted with the guys about what’s in store for the co-headlining shows and more recently.
If you don’t know who Shawn Smith is I suggest you listen to this song before reading further (keep the tissues handy). Shawn has been around for quite some time now in various bands such as Pigeonhead and Satchel as well as releasing numerous and gorgeous solo recordings. He is best known for his work with BRAD (with Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam) and their many radio friendly hits. Shawn has a way of telling a story in every song he sings in his silky smooth voice that makes you feel and ponder what it’s really about.
Happy Chichester is one of the most versatile musicians walking this earth and can play any style of music you can think of. Formally of Howling Maggie and touring with the Afghan Whigs, Happy has forged a modest solo career and recently joined BRAD and Shawn on their newest album and tour. This beat driven song shows Happy’s versatility and showmanship.
Being a fan of both musicians, I was interested in knowing how the tour and setlist would go down and if there would be any collaboration between the two, Shawn responded ” Happy is always happy, one of my best friends of all time and can play anything that was ever written so I hope to build something as the tour progresses and instead of two different sets would like it to evolve into one”. Happy added ” I look forward to working with Shawn and have some songs pipelined in and hope to get his help in filling out the songs”
Since both guys are far from NYC I inquired what it’s like coming into the city and the challenges of touring; Happy said “Finding a bathroom, a good place to eat and trucking gear around are the biggest obstacles that I face, I love the East Village and the whole scene there” Shawn added “Since we have never toured together it’s tough booking clubs but coming to NYC is like going there for the first time every time, it’s exciting and energetic, I love it”
I’m always interested in how a songwriter goes about his craft and both guys are very similar in their writing processes so I asked how do they go about writing a song; Happy- “One of the many things about songwriting that it can come from anywhere, I grew up playing the drums, I’d get kicked off the kit and I’d move to the piano then to the guitar so a lot of my songs start as beat driven and I work from there” Shawn- ” I don’t write songs unless I have a recording session going on but I liken it to woodworking, if your into woodworking you just start and build something”
I for one, cannot wait for what is sure to be an exciting and evolving tour featuring two of the most underrated artists of our generation so make sure to get your inexpensive tickets now before it sells out. The first show will be at Cameo Gallery on 7-22 and can purchase tickets here and the second show will be at Rockwood Music Hall a few days later on 7-25 and can buy here. Hope to see a bunch of you there to make sure these guys receive a proper New York City welcome!
Article by: Shayne Hanley