CFN – When Eric Willison talks about his band The Shiners, it’s hard to not to imagine what would happen to the roots-rock group if they were to get that “proverbial” break. Certainly the band has paid its dues, working hundreds of gigs and lending their music to charity compilation CDs and movies. Still, it is making it to the next level that captures the attention of singer/guitarist Willison and his band mates, bassist Joel Labrosse and drummer Jason Collis.
“We put a lot of ourselves into our music and we would love to be able to share that with people on a larger stage,” says Willison. “The Internet has helped indie acts get their music out, but it has also meant that the competition for the listener’s ear has never been more fierce.”
The Shiners second album Not Alone, was released on the band’s website ( TheShiners.com ) and iTunes earlier this month. CDs will be available on November 26. The album was recorded and produced in Cornwall, Ontario with the help of one of the region’s most sought-after producers, Glenn Forrester.
“Reaction so far has been very positive,” says Willison. “This is the first time we’ve released the album first on our own website, and we’re excited about the exposure that iTunes can give the recording.”
Following the success of their debut album Happy Now, the band discussed future recordings and began gathering new material. After dozens of songs and song ideas were written, and boiled down, the direction and core for the new project was revealed.
“The last time it was a lot like going through an orchard and picking the best fallen apples from different trees,” says Willison. “And even then, we were certainly very happy with the results. This time, we collaborated and inspired each other, and we’re still picking fallen fruit, but from the same variety of tree.”
All of the songs on the new CD are original, written by The Shiners. Typically once the lyrics were established the band worked together to develop the musical arrangements.With Americana and Canadiana at the heart of their music, the band enjoys the influence of East Coast and classic country. Not Alone brings back Glengarry famed Ashley MacLeod on fiddle and cello, and adds Newfoundland born Greg T. Brown on fiddle and accordion. Both reinforce the roots-rock mosaic that defines the Shiners’ sound. Compared with the likes of Steve Earle and Blue Rodeo, and drawing on groups like the Band and the Cardinals, Shiners’ bassist Joel Labrosse adds “right now, this is exactly where we want to be.”
The Shiners were recently featured on Ottawa’s CTV Morning Live where they were interviewed and performed the first single from the new album, Hurry Up and Take It Slow. The band continues to tour to support the new CD, and is planning a home-coming concert in Cornwall in early 2012.