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Rock is dead, they say? Hogwash. Don't even bring up such an idea with the four-piece
Cullman, Alabama-bred rockers Shallow Side, who have taken it to be their personal holy
mission to spread the glory of modern rock & roll as far and as wide as they can to anyone
who will listen. "The energy and excitement of rock & roll is missing nowadays, and we need
it now more than ever," believes Shallow Side's frontman, vocalist Eric Boatright. "Our goal
is that we want to revitalize that entire genre and remind the world how rock & roll can be
such a strong force in everyone's lives."
The proof of Shallow Side's pure rocking prowess can be found within the deep grooves of
their new EP titled ONE, which is being released by Thermal Entertainment on January 13,
2017. ONE is one tight, ass-kicking affair from the get-go, from the wham-bam all-out jam of
the opening track "We Roll" to the fist-waving defiance of "Rebel" to the put-up-or-shut-up
manifesto of "Fight or Flight" to their all-guns-a-blazing modern-day take on a well-loved
rock classic, Styx's "Renegade." (Oh, mama!)
Shallow Side garnered an immediate lifetime fan in Tommy Shaw, the Styx vocalist/guitarist
who's also the songwriter of "Renegade," the instant he heard the band's rabble-rousing
cover of their signature song. "I'm impressed by these guys. Good arrangement, good
performance, good video," Shaw says of Shallow Side's "Renegade" cover. Not only that,
but Shaw, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, feels an additional kinship with the band from
Cullman, a town just up north a ways from where he spent his own formative years. "My
Dad grew up in that part of the state — and so did Hank Williams," the Styxman observes.
"They have a great pedigree."
There's no doubt "Renegade" helped open the door for Shallow Side to make new fans.
"We needed that 'handshake' with listeners who already love rock music," Boatright says of
"Renegade," which became both a rock-radio staple and a YouTube sensation when it was
released as a single in late 2016. "Now that we're adults, we can appreciate a lot more of
the song's meaning, and the depth that comes with it. But we also wanted to make it our
own and add a newer vibe to it. I feel it's the start of a new era of where rock & roll should
be going. We need to be reminded that there are still renegades on the run!"
Ultimately, Shallow Side is creating new music that fuses the best intentions of classic rock
with modern crunch by planting their flag at the intersection of where Shinedown meets
Styx. "Not only do I respect bands like Journey and the Eagles, but I also look to current
artists like Daughtry," Boatright says of his songwriting influences. "It's the people who have
the rhythm, the rhyme, and the harmony. You put those things together, and you're not
going to miss reaching any rock-music fan out there. They're going to be a fan of what we
do immediately. As soon as the rhythm, rhyme, and harmony all kick in, they're going to
Dig deeper into the sound of ONE, and you'll also find a soul influence in Boatright's vocals,
especially when the man sings certain lines in falsetto. "Stylistically, I think that stems from
all those Motown guys — Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Lionel Richie,"
Boatright reports. "When I think of the singers who drove me as a child — it wasn't me
wanting to be a singer, it was just that when these guys were singing, it made me want to
sing with them. I was obligated, you know? When they started singing, I had to be there with
them. I had to hit those same notes, because it felt so good."
Another key inspiration for Boatright comes from having grown up in a church-going
environment, something that fueled his knack for writing instantly sing-able hooks and
melodies. "That was a big thing for me," he agrees. "A hymnal was created to have the
congregation sing the entire way through it, whether you knew the words or not. Those
songs were specifically designed for us to be able to sing them within the first 30 seconds.
Growing up in church like that helped me to write songs and naturally create hooks,
because that's all I've ever known. It all comes back to that for me. The way I like to create
a song is that by the second time through, you're stomping your feet and clapping your
hands right along with it. You're a part of the choir before you even know it!" (Considering
the automatic accessibility of the six tracks on ONE, we predict more people will be
testifying at the church of Shallow Side sooner rather than later.)
One song Shallow Side fans will be grooving along with right from the start is the current
single from ONE, "Fight or Flight," which unifies the ideas set forth with the one-two punch
of the EP's initial radio hits "Rebel" and "Renegade," songs that set the table for the band's
next phase. "That's the heaviest song on this EP," Boatright clarifies. "It tips the hat to the
rock & roll market that exists today and also says, 'If you guys want to run heavy, we'll run
heavy with you. We can do that — and we're not scared of it, either. We're very good at it.'"
The song's message is quite clear, too: Everyone in the world has a chance to achieve
something great — but you have to work for it. "If you have the brainpower to create words
and the motivation to move, then you have a chance," Boatright theorizes. "You can fight, or
you can just run away. That's the message to this song: 'Are you going to stand up, or are
you going to run away?' Because right now is your moment."
Taking charge of one's destiny is a crucial step. "Our particular war is our particular war,"
the vocalist continues. "We all fight many battles on many battlefronts on a day-to-day
basis, whether it's something in our personal lives or something in our industry that we're up
against or fighting with to create a larger world. This is our call to arms to say, 'It's either
time for fight, or for flight.'"
With such a well-recorded template now in hand, Shallow Side still has to deliver where it
counts — in front of a live audience. "If you think about it, a live show is like a sermon,"
Boatright observes. "Onstage, we talk about real things — not just the hamburger I had for
lunch, but about what we're going through in our lives as part of the youth of America and
the youth of the world. There are parts in the show where we get the people to move, to
clap, and to sing. There are joyful moments where we can tell the story of who we really are
and where we really came from. And there are also the inspirational moments that come
from the hardest times we have had. We make the crowd look around and understand that
we're not there anymore. We busted our ass, and we worked really hard to get here."
Boatright wants every fan to emerge from a Shallow Side performance with a renewed
sense of purpose. "People leave our show with an inspiration," he believes. "It's not just the
music that's inspired them — it's the story behind the music and the people who are telling it
through the music. They find in that music that they might have walked through those same
trials before themselves, once upon a time. For others, it's a new world. Maybe they thought
it was an unwanted world, but when they get there, they're like, 'Oh! This is really eye-opening!'"
At its core, the Shallow Side saga is a very relatable story. People feel like they want to
belong to something, especially when it comes to music — and that's part of the beauty
represented to a T with ONE. "That was the idea when we named it," Boatright concurs.
"There were a lot of different genres and atmospheres to put into the EP, but then again, if
you know the band and you know the story and dig a little deeper into what's going on, you
understand a bit more about who we are. So when you show up to our show, you get the
testimony that comes with it, and now you know. You go, 'Wow. I love this band. They're
just like me.'"
Shallow Side's main message is one of unity. "When we first started, rock & roll wasn't for
us," Boatright concludes. "We wanted to go to a concert, enjoy the music, sing along, and
be a part of the overall song and dance. We're now looking to bridge that gap to bring the
family together to where rock & roll was at one point. The mission since we began was to
take the wheel and steer it back into a direction where everyone from all walks of life could
enjoy a good rock show."
Considering the band's all-in philosophy, it appears that ONE is most definitely the best
name for this raucous EP. Let's all join together and revel in having Shallow Side show us the
ONE true way to the future of great rock & roll.