There are few singer-songwriters that are able to create something that successfully marries the rich tradition brought the genre by luminaries like Dylan and Cohen in the sixties with a vitality and vibrancy that is germane to current audiences. However, I believe that Tom Shaner does just that on his new recording, Get Real or Get Gone. This disc begins with “Waltz 13”, a track that does more than merely introduce Shaner to those listening in. Rather, the track travels every generation from the fifties all the way out to the current period.
With the story-telling skill of a Simon & Garfunkel or Donovan, the coy attractiveness of Shaner’s vocals is further highlighted by an emotional and form-fitting arrangements lovingly provided by the acoustic guitar. “Get Real or Get Gone” simultaneously exists in the sixties and nineties; Shaner’s breathy vocals here are benefitted by the atmosphere created by the instrumentation here, a slight nod to Chris Isaak and Duane Eddy. The back and forth created by the two sides of the track – one female, one male, each containing their own distinctive instrumental sound – will undoubtedly cause listeners to pay more attention.
“She’s In The Air” keeps listeners on their toes; starting out in an instrumentally-heavy fashion, there is a dirge or spiritual style crafted throughout the track’s three-minute runtime. The blend of repetition and ethereal vocals establish “She’s In The Air” as a must-listen on “Get Real or Get Gone”. The album ends with “Waiting For You”, a bouncy track that benefits from a blend of psychedelic, sixties pop, and even fiery Latin brass. “Get Real or Get Gone” showcases a number of sides to Tom Shaner, but I have a feeling that he has only scratched the surface with this release. Make sure to buy this EP, listen to the wide array of influences, genres, and styles contained here, and see how he blows your mind with any subsequent releases that he may cut.
Top Tracks: Get Real or Get Gone, If I Could Give You A Star
Tom Shaner – Get Real or Get Gone (CD) / 2011 Self / 7 Tracks / http://www.tomshaner.com