Lance Cowan Media
Dec 15, 2023
Finally mixed & mastered, the new album is slated for release!
With each successive album, Rees Shad has been committed to raising the creative bar, and The Galahad Blues signals a significant uptick as it may well be his most ambitious effort yet. As Shad explains in the liner notes, the songs were spawned from a musical he has been crafting for several years.
“That's how I often work, assigning myself compositional parameters and writing pieces of music that must work within those creative restraints,” he reflects. “This approach provides me with a particular directive as I sit down to compose that is very much like a design assignment.”
On The Galahad Blues, the process worked brilliantly, resulting in an album that reimagines the Knights of the Round Table recast as gangsters, King Arthur’s Camelot as a 1940s Chicago nightclub, and rather than focusing on gallantry and chivalry, Shad explores the potential of finding honor among thieves.
“The project has involved me wordsmithing on a whole different level as I researched and adapted the hipster language of the 1930s and 1940s to my music and lyrics,” Shad explains. “As of late, the two have been strongly influenced by the American Songbook writers I grew up listening to, like Cole Porter, Hoagie Carmichael, and the Gershwins.”
That influence is obvious throughout, particularly in the expressive tones, dramatic arrangements, and especially in the riveting melodies that are threaded throughout the album. The production is cinematic, and for good reason. Shad’s love of film was nurtured by his parents who encouraged his appreciation of the drama and dynamic of filmmaking with particular attention to the art of story-telling overall, which he has always endeavored to incorporate into his work.
Consequently, there is a storyline to be found within The Galahad Blues that makes this part concept album, part fantasy, and, most of all, a fascinating collection embroidered with richly detailed micro dramas.
Rees and his band The Conversations (Bobby Kay, Jeff Link, & Carlos Valdez) do the primary heavy lifting in the performances here, but guests appearances by Tony Aiello (Joe Jackson, Southside Johnny) on reeds, Larry Campbell on violin (Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon) Ira Coleman on Upright Bass (Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Sting), and Tom Major on drums (Bo Diddley, Pousette Dart), round out the production.
The album will be released on CD and USB March 1st, and on Vinyl April 1st. ALl formats are currently available for pre-order at Rees' Record Shop.