Localized Appreesh: The Shants

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Beautiful was the Shants.
PHOTO BY SHANNON CLAIRE/B SIDE IMAGES

Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

The Shants have done something curiously rare these days: created an authentically Southern and categorically enjoyable stompy blues and folk record in the heart of garage punk and hip-hop obsessed Oakland. That authenticity come from real roots, as these sorts of things often do – the new record, Beautiful was the Night, is said to be a “haunted love letter” to singer Skip Allum's youth in the South Louisiana delta pines.

The resulting record is a lively mix of Americana, twanged vocals, bluesy riffs, bits of piano and violin, and steel guitar, with guest appearances by the likes of multi-instrumentalist/horn player Ralph Carney, Blue Bone Express, and vocalist Quinn DeVeaux. I think singer Brianna Lea Pruett, who also guests on the record, describes the music best when she says in the short documentary on the making of the album, “Even in the dark parts, there's a sweet treatment to it.”

With the long-awaited release of its debut full-length record finally here, the quartet will play Cafe Du Nord this Thursday.

You can watch the making of the new album here:

Year and location of origin: Oakland, 2009

Band name origin: Its a reference to the Gaelic word, shiant, meaning blessed or charmed... and the Shiant Isles of Scotland. Skip came across it while doing some research on his Scottish family origins, which can be traced to those islands. That's the short version, anyway.

Band motto: "Is the pedal steel too loud? How 'bout now?"

Description of sound in 10 words or less: A dusty, slow blend of Southern folk, and country blues.

Instrumentation: 1954 Harmony archtop guitar, Emmons double-neck pedal steel guitar, 1970s Peavey bass guitar, drums. May soon have a new fella on many other instruments. Stay tuned!

Most recent release: Beautiful Was The Night, our first full-length! Available now at live shows, our website, iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. and all Rasputin Records locations. It was recorded with all analog gear over at the Rec Center (formerly Bakesale Betty's storage space) and at Tones on Tail Studios in Oakland, with Mr. Eliot Curtis.

Best part about life as a Bay Area band: The diverse musical community is pretty inspiring. We may not sound like a lot of other bands coming out of Oakland and the city... but we are all very DIY-focused & often looking to expand our sound with new textures.

Worst part about life as a Bay Area band: Tolls and parking tickets are a bitch, man. After shelling out this much money, we should get board seats with Caltrans and Alameda County.

First album ever purchased:
Skip: Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
Carver: Nirvana - Nevermind
Adam: The Police - Synchronicity
Sam: Son Volt - Trace

Most recent album purchased/downloaded:
Skip: Samantha Crain - You (Understood)
Carver: Etta James - Etta James Rocks the House
Adam: Keith Jarret - Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues
Sam: Calexico - Feast of Wire

Favorite local eatery and dish:

Skip: Aslam's Rosoi on Valencia. I love their lamb Madras.
Adam: Lo Coco's on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Their Maria and Suzanne pizzas so good.
Carver: Brown Sugar Cafe in Emeryville. Get the chicken & waffles.
Sam: Bakesale Betty's in Oakland. Fried chicken sandwich, of course.

The Shants
With Chadwick Stokes
Thurs/1, 8 p.m., $17
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
(415) 861-5016
www.cafedunord.com

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