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A Changed Shane Dwight Returns For NYE

In Clubs, Music
Shane Dwight plays New Year's Eve at 9 Lives in Gilroy.

Shane Dwight plays New Year's Eve at 9 Lives in Gilroy.

Young musicians are often warned that if they leave home for a place like Nashville, it’ll change them.

The thing is, sometimes it’s for the better. Take Shane Dwight, for instance. Born in San Jose and raised in Morgan Hill, he made his name as a blues machine.

“I’d play anywhere that’d throw five bucks at me,” he remembers.

Quickly becoming a fixture on the small South Bay blues scene, he was getting regular gigs in San Francisco, as well, by the time he released his first record, 2002’s Boogie King. That same year, he won the Monterey Blues Festival battle of the bands. He was racking up fans and critical acclaim. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

Except, Dwight realizes now, there was no there there. He was one hundred percent committed to walking in the footsteps of his idols, but there was no Shane Dwight sound, no Shane Dwight style.

“I enjoyed hearing myself play someone else,” Dwight remembers. And damn, could he play them. But his new album, A Hundred White Lies, sounds as different from Boogie King as night and day. For one thing, Dwight has opened up to the other musical influences he was raised on—the rock of Zeppelin, the country of Willie and Waylon, the grooves of Prince. There’s still a lot of blues in his sound—the record is in the top 10 on the blues charts—but it’s a lot quirkier and more personal, part of the larger Americana movement that’s changed how people think about roots music.

The lyrics are more personal, too. Dwight wrote all but one song on the new album, and they draw on the painful experiences of his recent divorce. There’s a new maturity and confidence to his songwriting.

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