Beyond the Music with Laura: Shawn James at Louisville’s Bourbon & Beyond

by Laura Lou / 2328 days ago / Comments

During Louisville’s Bourbon & Beyond Festival, I had the opportunity to talk with Shawn James as well as Shawn James from Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

If you are a little confused at first, it is okay, keep reading and watch the interview for clarity.  Confused is exactly what I was when I was introduced to James.  Let me explain the best way I can because even that sentence is a little twisted.

James, a singer, a songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist, is an artist himself as well as the front man for The Shapeshifters.  His music is described as “heavy blues rock” and does not fit into one genre box nor do I personally think one genre box could hold the amount of talent and “shifting” that James delivers.  There is an “acoustic” side of James, that is completely different and softer than the “full band” side.  If you have experienced one or the other, make sure you do not miss out on the other half of what makes this artist so unique.

The music is a blend of blues, folk, rock, soul, and metal that is described as full of contrasts.  “Dark and light, anger and joy, earthy and airborne, all the while remaining gritty and real.”  When James is on stage, the energy level of this performer is unlike any other.  His voice has extreme gravel and passion at the same time and in fact, if I had not seen a live performance, I would still have a hard time believing that voice comes from that body.  That is the talent and power that James offers to his fans.

Watch our interview and listen to James describe the differences between himself as a solo artist and as the front man for The Shapeshifters.  We discuss that confusion is occasionally the common thing people say however when music fans stop and pay attention, they quickly realize this is a whole different and new sound which opens a spot for James at any type of musical event.

I had to ask how a banjo and a fiddle fit into a heavy blues rock format because typically, a person thinks “country” or “bluegrass”.  James took what you may think and twists it into what a reality can be for that instrument. 

James released his first album in 2012 and since that time his music has reached millions of people worldwide.  He has songs that have been featured on NBC, CBS, HBO, Discovery Channel’s Yukon Men and most recently in Sony Playstation’s trailer for the upcoming game “The Last of Us 2”.

There seems to be no stopping James or James & The Shapeshifters anytime soon and we should all be thankful for that.  James gives us all, no matter your preferred genre, a chance to color outside of the lines and discover that music has no boundaries. 

Make sure to visit James on all social media platforms and download his music today.  Be sure to check out a show or four, as soon as you can.  This is one of those rare artists that you want to make sure you see live.  It is guaranteed to be an event you will not soon forget.



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About Laura Lou

Laura Lou Journalist

Beginning about age 13, music always been my “safe place”, my “escape”, it became a part of who I am. My background includes being a photographer/journalist for newspapers, magazines and radio stations and more recently I have been an artist manager. What I continue to strive to learn is, what is important to the fans/readers? I find that the answer is always that they want to feel close to the artist they are supporting. The human contact that we all need is something that I want to deliver to anyone that happens to read something I write or see a photograph I shoot. It is important to me to provide that experience, because I am, after all, still always a “fan” and that giddy 13-year-old girl is simply amazed! I never imagined that my passion and love for music would lead me where I am today! I use the hashtag #iamtheluckiestgirliknow because I cannot believe how blessed I am! I’m excited to see “what happens next” and take you all along with me! This is going to be amazing…