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Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Hippy Hippy Shake Company Sits Down With... Jim McShee!

So last weekend, The Hippy Hippy Shake was invited to The Old Brown Jug pub just down the street from our Newcastle branch, by a couple of the bands who will be gracing the HippyHaze festival this Easter with their musical talents. You can only imagine my excitement when I realized that one of these acts was country/blues singer Jim McShee. Now, I'm sure you're all aware that The Hippy Hippy Shake Company has never been one to follow the crowd, and as a family of self-confessed country music lovers (it's just so American!) once we heard about Jim, we knew we had to have him. More than a little bit intrigued by a 20-year-old, Stoke-on-Trent-based, country singer, I had to compose myself in order to make sure I asked all of the right questions. Of course, Jim's so down-to-Earth that seconds after slipping out of the back door for a 'quieter' interview location (OO-ER madam...) I automatically felt relaxed and we were having a right laugh. Here's what came of it...


Tell me about Jim McShee then...
Well, it's just basically me playing country and blues music. Simples. Obviously it's something different as there aren't many people doing it in my generation. I'm only twenty.

I'm a huge country music fan and my dad's always been a total nerd about country too. We're huge Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire fanatics. So who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Musically I've got loads of influences. I started with rock music before coming over to country. Nowadays I'd say my biggest influences are Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen.

Good stuff, I approve. With such an unusual genre of music, I wonder how you've been received?
Well, I started just last February, and since then I've probably done about 50 shows in the local area with one in Manchester also. I think a lot of people around my age who don't really dig that kind of music have been warming to it because I am the age I am, and I think they are starting to think, 'Mmm this is something I could get into' and that's exactly what I want. I really believe in the Stoke music scene and at the moment it's exploding with loads of different genres and people are receiving it all really well. Country, folk, blues. They all have their overlaps but with subtle variations meaning it never gets too samey. People like something new after they get used to it.

Definitely. Throwing something unique in with the mainstream mixes things up and keeps it exciting. Like, obviously at HippyHaze, your genre is definitely going to stand out as we have a bunch of fab rock bands but only a handful of folk/country/blues-y type stuff which is great!
Yeah I can't wait! Sure it will become one of my favorite gigs.

*Massive dazzling grin catches my breath a bit* Let's hope so! What have been your other favorite gigs?
I have three.

Greedy boy. Go on then...
My first favorite was one where I supported Pete Doherty at the Undergound.

WOW!!! Subtle name drop... *We both laugh*
Yeah, it was a huge show. I'm close friends with a promoter from the Underground and because they were looking for acoustic artists he got in touch with me on Facebook. It sold out in a day and none of my friends got tickets. I thought I'd be eaten alive by a crowd that was there to hear Libertines songs and got me as their support act. But, after my first song everyone cheered and I've never felt so humbled. People were literally screaming, 'I love you Jim' and I couldn't believe it.
Then there was my first headline show at The Sugarmill. People were singing along to my lyrics and basically wouldn't let me off stage!
My third favorite was my gig in Manchester. There was only ten people in the audience. It had a folk-Americana vibe going on. I was the second one on and despite the small audience, I didn't have to fight over anyone talking which is often a bit of a pain. They were all there to listen to my kind of music so it was such an amazing experience. It was a huge learning curve. I didn't think gigs like that existed anymore!

Jeez, you've had some great times this past year! I'm sure you've also had some not-so-great times though too, and if I know country music, I know that the lyrics always tell a story right?
Yeah, they all are very personal and are usually about something sad that's happened but has since been resolved and ends in happiness. So my lyrics are definitely from personal experience. I like writing about things I WANT to happen too which haven't happened yet. Always looking forward. My favorite track at the moment is The Coffin Nail Blues which is going to be the title track on my upcoming EP.

Nice little bit of self-PR there Jim *I try to wink cheekily but remember I can't*
Haha. No-one else likes that song as much as I do, but that song is like a conversation between me and God. It's really personal. It's not my newest one but that's the song I'll always play even if the crowd don't like it, because it's just me.

I'm sure we'll all love it! Finally, what's your favorite Hippy Hippy Shake Milkshake?
Oreo or Double Decker. Actually definitely the Double Decker. I've had one too many of them without a doubt.


Jim McShee is what HippyHaze is all about. Getting something new and exciting out there and embracing it! He's a lovely guy with a beautiful voice and between you and me, The Coffin Nail Blues is my favorite of his songs too. Despite being touching and tackling some pretty heavy issues, it's actually surprisingly catchy too. This is definitely an act for anyone looking for the next big thing as Jim is definitely one to keep an eye out for. Not to mention the fact that his lullaby-style will be a treat for your aching heads as you'll all be recovering from the absolute rave that will be Easter weekend! Catch Jim McShee on Monday the 9th of April at HippyHaze and if you totally and completely cannot wait until then, check out his Facebook page for a bit of a teaser... Swear to God, you'll be back for more!


Love and milkshakes
The Hippy Hippy Shake Company

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