The Rappahannock roots of Shinola Creek run as deep as the county itself, a collective of nine musicians who have gathered in various combinations, bands, jam sessions and recording projects for the last fifty years.
Their sound is diverse and heartfelt, rooted in decades of playing folk, blues, rock, funk, jazz, classical and reggae around the globe, in concert halls, bars and log cabins; in cities and hollers; alone and together; on back porches and trailer beds, and always late into the night.
And now they can be heard together on a new record, “New Moon in the Old Shadow.”
In 2004, the bulk of the band began a regular jam session that quickly took on a transcendent, sacred quality. They showed up as individuals, pulling worn black instrument cases and music binders out of the backs of hatchbacks and trucks, but then almost instantly dissolved into the sounds of the collective.
Not wanting to rush into anything, the members gathered privately for 14 years before naming themselves Shinola Creek in February 2018 and playing their first gig. That evening, the audience of about 80 locals crammed into every corner of the small Central Coffee Roasters and spilled out onto the front and back patios.
The feedback heard was that it was a “special” and “magical” and “rare” night, which suits the band just fine, as those are just the adjectives members use to describe what they feel when they gather and play.
The time to capture the sound and history, the group realized, was now. Warren Phinney, who wrote “Rappahannock Rhapsody” on his porch at the base of Old Rag Mountain, died in 2008. The musicians who found Rappahannock and each other in the 1970’s have a wealth of music history to share, not just the songs, but the sounds and the feel and cross-pollination of influences that echoed through these old hills for a time. The band aims to capture it all before it slips through their fingers and is gone.
For this project, it has recorded — through a generous grant from RAAC’s Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund — original songs (divided among the six songwriters) at Shahin Shahida’s professional studio in Huntly. It then mixed, mastered, duplicated and copyrighted the songs now being offered to the public, which will be invited to a CD-release party tentatively set for May 11 (more details forthcoming).
Local businesses (see below) have also been provided with copies to sell. Each songwriter will retain the rights to their songs. CD sales revenue will be divided among the members.
The group will aim for a larger audience using social media marketing strategies and the creation and distribution of a short documentary film, and will seek to play live shows.
“We aim to capture the sounds, feelings and voices of this place, Rappahannock County, during these times,” the members state collectively. “We feel that the music we make is one of the nicest noises we know. It has lifted our hearts to gather and make it. Now we hope to share this special, magical and rare sound with any other hearts that might be seeking such a lift.”
Band members include Andrew Smith (Drums, Percussion, Harmonica, Vocals); Forrest Marquisee (Engineer, Guitar, Pedal Steel, Vocals, Songwriter); Frank Austin (Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter); Jonathan Marquisee (Banjo, Dobro); Miranda Hope (Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter); Robert “Smiggy” Smith (Engineer, Lead Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter); Shahin Shahida (Engineer, Lead Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter, Studio Owner); Terry Waggener (Bass); Vincent Day (Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, Vocals, Songwriter). Mack Starks Linebaugh, III (Producer).
For more details and song samples visit: www.shinolacreek.com. CD’s available at Central Coffee Roasters in Sperryville and soon online at store.cdbaby.com. Digital downloads available March 19 on Apple iTunes, Amazon, Google Music Store, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music. Facebook: Shinola Creek.