Shane Alexander was given his first guitar at the age of ten and there’s been no looking back. Quietly making a name for himself with an extensive touring history in the US and Europe (supporting acts such as Bon Iver and John Hiatt) and dozens of film and TV credits, he has also been working hard in the studio both producing and creating.
A Life Like Ours marks Alexander’s 7th studio album and his 2nd that has been self-produced out of his own Buddhaland Studios in Ventura County, CA. The new album, mixed by the Grammy-winning Brian Yaskulka, follows the critically acclaimed Bliss and once again draws together some of the finest musicians in the Los Angeles community. Returning from his previous release is Jesse Siebenberg (Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) on lap steel, guitar and percussion. The album also features Ted Russell Kamp (Shooter Jennings) on bass, LA-ace Carl Byron (Jim Lauderdale) on piano, accordion and keys and Austin Beede (Grateful Shred) on drums. The productions range from stirring solo acoustic pieces to lush full-band rockers.
Alexander is a self-confessed “shameless” guitar collector. “Much of the new record features a jumbo Guild acoustic from the 60’s that used to belong to Bruce Springsteen,” he divulged. “It’s a juju machine. The piano in my studio has been in my wife’s family for ages and it really shines in a classic way. At the end of ‘Nights in White Satin’ you can hear the piano’s hammers softly hitting the strings and Carl’s ticking watch, which adds a certain Floyd-ish element after such a dense track.”
In addition to writing, co-writing, and producing his own records, Alexander has been busy producing other acts at his studio including critics-darling Jenny Van West’s Happiness to Burn and Shelby Figueroa’s Highwire EP. For Van West’s record, Alexander enlisted Kamp on bass and Beede on drums and realized he wanted them for his own record. “Ted and Austin are just a powerhouse rhythm section.” Aside from “Nights”, which features the rhythm section from Alexander’s album, Bliss, Byron, Kamp and Beede are on all the full band tracks and together they have a slightly groovier, less heavy-handed feel than his last record.
Alexander, A long practicing Buddhist, allows for a certain vulnerability and spirituality to come through in his songs. “I’d written a lot of angry music in response to the current political state in America,” he explained. “I was fed up with the divisiveness. People are marketed specifically to pick sides, and all of the finger pointing isn’t healthy or necessary. Ultimately, I put a lot of music on the back burner because I didn’t want to contribute to the din of negativity. I ended up wanting to put more love and peace into what I made.”
Often upbeat, A Life Like Ours also deals with some harsh realities, including the suicide survivor’s song “Lost Road”—written for the family of a boy Shane went to high school with, and the anti-gun violence anthem “I’ll Be Here” (recently featured on ABC’s The Rookie), written within hours of and in response to the horrible Vegas mass shooting.
The title track is a sparse acoustic song recorded live that features Chris Pierce on harmonica. The song is a reflection on growing older and making peace with everything and everyone before we “return to where we came from and we’re just particles of stars.” “Fault Line” is a quiet folk song about keeping a relationship together through highs and lows and highlights guest artist Aubrey Richmond (Shooter Jennings) on fiddle. “Evermore” with its idyllic lyric about a parallel universe, ends the album on a note of hope.
Known for his pretty, evocative voice, moody melodies, and fingerstyle guitar chops, Alexander is also a storyteller in every sense of the word. “I’m always writing,” he confessed. “The real juicy inspiration comes from a mystical place that I don’t fully understand. I’ve learned not to think so much, just put pen to paper and see what comes out.”
Shane Alexander truly believes in the making of an album as an art form. “ I hope that my fans will listen to A Life Like Ours top to bottom to get my full intent. In this age of picking off songs digitally, I’m making this record on limited edition white vinyl for those who are into that sort of thing!”
For more information: https://www.shanealexandermusic.com/