Shinyribs, the swamp-pop and soul band hailing from Austin, TX, release their highly anticipated ninth studio album, Transit Damage, out today. This marks their first collaboration with the esteemed Jesse Dayton-led Hardcharger imprint through Blue Élan Records. Bonding over their shared hometown of Beaumont, TX, as well as their love for a unique Texas-bred sound, Shinyribs and Jesse Dayton have joined forces to release something truly special. Transit Damage showcases the band’s musical prowess and further solidifies their reputation as one of the most exciting acts in the industry.
Transit Damage was produced by Grammy winner Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Raul Malo, Deer Tick, Greensky Bluegrass), who helped shape the record and pushed Kevin to reach beyond the party band specs. Culled from 30 to 40 songs Russell sent to him, spanning unrecorded works from across his career, to newer songs, the album encompasses a deeper and more meaningful collection. The band’s celebratory bayou funk/R&B/soul sounds are leavened with Russell’s most personal songwriting yet, while still retaining the Shinyribs trademark need to get up and dance.
The album features leader Russell with a studio edition of Shinyribs that includes carryovers from the live band - bassist Mason Hankamer, pedal steel guitarist Marty Muse, background singers the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Courtney Santana) and the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns – trumpeter Tiger Anaya, saxophonist Mark Wilson and Paul Demeer on trombone, augmented by Ulrican Williams’ trombone on the damn-near-disco thumper "All The Best Things." The studio-only Shinyribs accompanying Russell’s guitars, ukulele, and distinctive lead vocals include Dan Creamer’s keyboards and Frank Mandujano on drums & percussion while producer Berlin adds additional keyboards on "Pink Turns To Blue," "Dark Cloud," "Little Drops of Summer," & "If Love Is Earned."
Opening track and first single “Simply Belong To You” seems like a happy-go-lucky, rolling Bayou funk paean to monogamy on the surface, until you hear the lyrical payoff: “In a world opposed to simply belonging/I simply belong to you.” It’s a deeper contemplation on the forces that can tear a relationship apart. Then there’s “All The Best Things,” which couches a Zen musing into a guaranteed dance floor filler. Musical backdrops resembling Allen Toussaint, or The Meters gettin’ loose in Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Recording Studio, cushion rusty razorblade lyrics such as “Dark Cloud” and a surprise cover of Hüsker Dü’s “Pink Turns To Blue.” It’s quite a feat.
With the title track, a reluctant Russell recorded what he calls his ‘most personal song.’ “I had that song for a long time, and I always loved it,” the singer/guitarist continues. “I probably never would have put it on a record, because it’s just too personal. I’m not a confessional kinda writer. That’s why it’s good to bring in a producer, an objective person who’ll say, ‘No, that’s really good. You should do that.’”
Just who is Shinyribs? It’s a sprawling nine, sometimes 10-piece cast, but ultimately it is the funky brainchild of Kevin Russell, who grew up in Beaumont, TX and Shreveport, LA, the cradle of the swamp pop and bayou R&B sounds that drip off his fingers like honey and hot sauce nowadays. Think Gulf Coast meets Muscle Shoals with strong pop-song structures and their trademark need to get up and dance. The evolution of Shinyribs came about when Kevin began playing a solo residency under that moniker - after an incident involving Russell buying a homeless woman a plate of ribs in a Houston club in the mid-2000s. “I was already a lover of New Orleans R&B from the ‘40s and ‘50s,” says Russell. “That music is some of my favorite music ever. Suddenly I realized I could play that style with these horns.” Renowned for their electrifying live performances, Shinyribs has captivated audiences nationwide, consistently selling out venues. A full tour itinerary for summer into fall is below with more dates TBA.
Shinyribs On Tour:
7/14/23 - Godley,TX - DelNorte Tacos
7/15/23 - Roswell, NM - The Liberty
7/16/23 - Santa Fe, NM - SWAN Park
7/18/23 - Venice, CA - The Venice West
7/19/23 - Morro Bay, CA - The Siren
7/20/23 - Novato, CA - Hopmonk Tavern
7/21/23 - Cloverdale, CA - Cloverdale Plaza
7/22/23 - Navarro, CA - The Redwood Ramble
7/25/23 - Eugene, OR - The John G. Shedd Institute For The Arts
7/26/23 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
7/27/23 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
7/28/23 - Boise, ID - The Olympic Venue
7/29/23 - SLC, UT - Soundwell
7/30/23 - Carbondale, CO - Carbondale Mountain Fair
8/01/23 - Telluride, CO - Club Red Telluride
8/04/23 - 8/06/23 - Del Norte, CO - Rhythms On The Rio 2023
8/05/23 - Denver, CO - Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
8/12/23 - New Braunfels, TX - Gruene Hall
8/23/23 - St Louis, MO - The Old Rock House
8/24/23 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
8/25/23 - Newport, KY - The Southgate House Revival
8/26/23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Thunderbird Cafe
8/27/23 - Sellersville, PA - Sellersville Theater
8/28/23 - New York, NY - City Winery
8/30/23 - Montgomery, NY - City Winery
8/31/23 - Norwich, NY - East Park
9/01/23 - Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
9/01/23 - 9/03/23 - Charlestown, RI - Rhythm & Roots Festival
9/06/23 - Hummelstown, PA - The Englewood
9/09/23 - Richmond, VA - Get Tight Lounge
10/04/23 - Atlanta, GA - City Winery Atlanta
February 4-10 - Outlaw Country Cruise, Miami, FL
More Dates TBA