By Rebecca Fiedler
This weekend the Shane Howard Band, a group from Central Texas, will play multiple venues.
They will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the Slippery Minnow restaurant at 3201 Overflow Rd. at the Lake Waco marina, and then join more than 30 other performers for the event West First, which will take place at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Melody Ranch at 2315 Robinson Drive to benefit those affected by the recent tragedy.
Shane Howard, the band’s founder and lead vocalist and guitarist, classifies the group’s style as Texas music.
“It’s kind of a combination between country rock and red dirt Americana,” Howard said.
The Shane Howard band was originally formed in 1992 as Shane Howard & Rampage, which consisted of different members over the years, according to the Shane Howard Band’s website, www.shanehoward.com. According to the website, Shane Howard & Rampage played mostly cover songs of some of Howard’s musical heroes, such as George Strait and Hank Williams. Now the group plays more of the original pieces Howard has written himself.
Howard said he has been writing songs since he was 11 or 12 years old. He finally reached a point in his life where he was ready to share the songs in public and not just keep them for himself, he said. Steve Scheifley, vocalist and drummer for the band, said Howard decided in 2002 that he didn’t want the band to play just covers anymore.
“When we play we usually do 20 to 40 percent original music, and then the rest is kind of cover stuff,” Howard said. “It just depends where we play. A lot of places don’t want to hear just original music.”
Howard said the inspiration for his songs come from his experiences in life.
“Probably my first song was about a lost love,” Howard said. “You know, I was 11 or 12 and thought I was in love and broken-hearted. That’s usually where songs begin from.”
His first song is called “If You Fail at Love.”
“We actually recorded that song on my first album,” Howard said. “We still play it live all the time. It happens to be a pretty good dance song, so we keep playing it because we can get people out there dancing to it, so we keep it in our set list.”
The Shane Howard Band has performed at the Slippery Minnow before, and Howard said that normally the band plays outside on the dock.
“It’s a really relaxed atmosphere,” Howard said. “A lot of times people, if they’re on the lake, drive their boats up to the dock and sit and listen.”
Howard is versatile and will change set lists to accommodate venues, Scheifley said, such as when an audience wants to hear more rock music than country dance music.
When the band plays at the Slipper Minnow on Friday the restaurant won’t be used so much as a restaurant but more as a venue for people to party Scheifley said. He said he thinks it’s a fun place for the band to go to.
This weekend’s concert to benefit West will not be the first musical performance the band has done in relation to a large tragedy. Howard wrote the band’s song “1953,” which discusses what Wacoans of the past had to endure in the 1953 tornado that greatly damaged downtown. He wrote the song after talking with his grandmother, who had experienced it first hand, Scheifley said. Howard then realized what an impact the tornado had on the Waco community, Scheiefley said. Scheifley helped arrange the song and then the band recorded it and made a full music video. The work didn’t stop there, though.
“The video just kind of blossomed into an actual documentary,” Scheifley said.
The music video includes real footage of the aftermath of the tornado and live broadcast recording from the day of the tornado, Howard said. Now a full DVD, also called “1953,” has been created from the work that the band did concerning the Waco tornado.
“The DVD that we released – it’s about an hour long,” Howard said. “It has that video, and I did interviews with survivors, I did interviews with, you know, people that were there or helped or remember it, or things like that.”
One person who was interviewed was Scheifley’s wife’s grandmother, who experienced the tornado passing by right outside her house on that day in 1953, Scheifley said. The interviews on the DVD were conducted by Scheifley’s wife, Elizabeth, except for one in which Howard interviewed his own grandmother, Scheifley said.
The group has thus documented oral history on their DVD that no one else has, Scheifley said.
“All of us musician people know or have family,” Howard said. “I mean, I have some musician friends who lost their houses.”
The Shane Howard Band has a new CD coming out in the coming weeks, Howard said. The CD is called “Rattlesnake Rd,” and will also be available on forums such as iTunes and Amazon.com.
The concert at Melody Ranch is $10 at the door and $1 for kids 10 and under. There is no cover for the band’s performance at Slippery Minnow.