Blues rockers Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown just released their fourth album, Pressure, on October 16th. The new album is a great mix of songs that elevates their song-writing skills and will satisfy long-time fans of the band as well. I had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Tyler Bryant himself about the new album and how it came about.
What was the first time you experienced a huge sense of accomplishment while playing the guitar? What was the moment that made you think, “Hey, maybe I’m doing the right thing for me”?
TB: The first time I jammed with Jeff Beck on stage was an incredible moment for me. He was someone that I looked up to from day one, so getting to jam with him definitely helped me re-assure myself that I was on the right path.
If there was a dream tour that you guys could be a part of, what would that tour look like?
TB: I would love to get to tour with The Rolling Stones. They’re one of my all-time favorite bands. I can imagine geeking out on blues records with Keith Richards, for sure.
What song or songs off Pressure are you most excited to try out live once you’re able to tour?
TB: I can’t wait to kick off a full-on Shakedown show with the title track. It will be insane. I’m really excited to play most of them, honestly. I think “Like The Old Me” will be a special song during our show.
What song on Pressure was the hardest to finish?
TB: “Loner” was easy to write but put up more of a fight than the rest of the tunes when we started tracking it. All in all, I’m glad we fought for it, though.
The track “Like The Old Me” feels like it comes from a very personal place. Can you speak on the subject matter of that song?
TB: I kind of wrote that song without even realizing it was happening. I think I’m still trying to figure out where it came from. When I sing it, I have my own thoughts that I attach to it. When I listen to it, different thoughts come to mind. All in all, I think it’s the story of someone that lost something that was important to them.
The quarantine presented a perfect opportunity to have your wife, Rebecca, do vocals on “Crazy Days.” Was it a plan for the two of you to record together at some point, or was it a spontaneous decision?
TB: When I originally wrote the song, I played it for her and asked her if she would sing on my demo. She did just that, making it impossible for me to be able to hear that song without her voice. It’s just too good. I’m very lucky that she sang on the record with me.
What song from the Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown catalogue do you feel has been largely overlooked by the fans as being one of your best?
TB: I think “Couldn’t See The Fire” is one of my favorites to play and sing. Something about the way that the melodies and lyrics work together gets me right in the heart.
Many of the songs on Pressure have a certain feel to them that could be viewed through the context of the current pandemic, where there could be a loose theme of dealing with stress and isolation. Was there a conscious intention to capture this moment in time or did you just write what you were feeling?
TB: Some of the songs like “Pressure” and “Holdin’ My Breath” were actually written before the pandemic. I guess we rubbed the crystal ball just right. [Laughs] In all seriousness, I do believe that our situation heavily influenced the intention that we recorded each song with. We used the recording process to escape to our own little world, but we couldn’t ignore everything that was going on.
What or who inspires you?
TB: Tom Petty is one of my biggest inspirations. Every time I listen to him I hear something new that motivates me. He was just the greatest.
What artist do you listen to a lot that you think your fans would be surprised about?
TB: Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, or Tom Waits. These are three of my all-time favorites. They are all three master songwriters. I listen to them all the time.
If restrictions are not relaxed shortly and the touring industry is still unable to restart, is the plan to begin writing and recording the follow-up to Pressure, or just take it easy for now and rest on your laurels?
TB: Taking it easy is something I rarely do at this point in my life. Making music makes me happy, so as long as that’s the case, that’s what I’m gonna keep doing. I’d love to keep making records until the world starts spinning normally again and we can all get together on the road!
What is something you wished people asked in interviews but never do? And the answer to that question?
TB: Maybe something like… “Would you like a snack?” My answer would be, “Yes.”