Shinedown Will Rock the Silver Dollar Fair in Chico
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By Phil Reser
Photo courtesy of Shinedown
Jacksonville, Florida has enjoyed a long and inspirational rock ‘n’ roll tradition. From the time the groundbreaking guitar sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd first put this vibrant city on the rock ‘n’ roll map, J-ville has played an integral role in the ongoing evolution of contemporary music.
Now a Jacksonville-based hard rock band named Shinedown has added another exciting chapter to its hometown’s noble rock history book.
The band was founded in 2001 by members Brent Smith (vocals), Brad Stewart (bass), Jasin Todd (guitar) and Barry Kerch (drums). A few lineup changes followed, and the band’s current lineup consists of Smith and Kerch, with guitarist Zach Myers and bassist and pianist Eric Bass.
Since Shinedown’s inception, the group has released five albums: “Leave a Whisper” (2003), “Us and Them” (2005), “The Sound of Madness” (2008), “Amaryllis” (2012), and “Threat to Survival” (2015), all on Atlantic Records.
“To be on a label for nearly 20 years and it to be Atlantic Records,” says Smith, “it just doesn’t occur very much anymore. We’re very lucky and fortunate that we’re on a label that has allowed us to be an artist on every single record we’ve produced. Of course, there’s pressure involved in all of that, and any artist that tells you different is lying to you.”
With its extensive list of chart-topping rock songs, massive touring and having sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, Shinedown has distinguished itself as a powerful force in modern rock ‘n’ roll and a steady fixture on the music scene.
Weathering a windy road of personal struggles, their music conveys the utmost sincerity. Within those struggles, vocalist/songwriter Brent Smith and his fellow bandmates have found clarity and resolution.
Each night the band takes the stage, band members open their audience up into their personal lives through their music.
“Our fans have told us that our songs have pushed them to quite frankly fight for their lives,” Smith explains. “I talk with them on stage. My commitment to them is, I want people to feel empowered when we perform. Without them we are nothing. Even as a kid I watched how music could take a bad situation and make it great. Or it can take a moment when you’re unbelievably just engulfed by sadness and there’s a song that comes out of nowhere or you can put a song on and it just changes your mood instantaneously. I’ve also seen music heal people. I really have. I’ve seen it bring people back from just ultimate despair.”
With Amaryllis, their fourth album, the song “Bully” was about not feeling like you can stand up for yourself and taking back your self-respect if you feel someone is belittling you or trying to push you around.
About bullying, Smith says, ”When I was 10 years old, my dad took me to the garage and put a pair of boxing gloves on me and said, ‘I don’t ever want it to come to this, but you need to learn how to fight,’” Smith recalls. “And I got my butt kicked sometimes, but I always stood up for myself. By nature, I’ve just never backed down from what I believed in, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone push me around. It’s the same thing with my family, too. I wouldn’t let someone come into my house and mess with my girlfriend or my son.”
All four of Shinedown’s previous studio albums gone either gold or platinum, and their latest release, “Threat To Survival,” appears headed down that same path. On “Cut the Cord”— a song that continues a record-setting streak in which each of the 19 singles released over Shinedown’s career has climbed to the upper regions of the radio charts — the band looks at the treacherous nature of self-destruction and puts out a call for self-empowerment.
“It’s about anything that might wrap itself around you and keep you from becoming the person you truly want to be,” says Smith. “There’s a sense that everything that’s bad has a little bit of good to it, just like everything that’s good has a little bit of bad. The songs on this album address the reality that we’re all going to die at some point and that sometimes the willingness to survive is all you have. It’s about holding onto that sheer will to live, and getting through whatever might come your way because the legacy that you leave behind is what will carry you on to your next journey.”
Friday, April 14, Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico