Mighty Shady — vocalist Eric McCoy, guitarists Chris Freier and Jared Murphy, bassist Joel Schwichtenberg and drummer Keenen McBroom — has always carried around the label of “jam band.” To be sure, its sound is certainly reggae-tinged, which nowadays is almost synonymous with jam, but the guys have always felt like their influences ran deeper than that.
“The bands you play with shape your sound, I think,” Murphy said. “It’s hard for us (to define ourselves) because we mix a lot of things. I think that’s shown in the record.”
“The record” is the band’s new LP, “Double Think,” set for release this week in a show at Gas Lamp. Produced by local editing wizard Phil Young (Annalibera, Tires), the album allows Mighty Shady to wear all of its influences on its sleeve.
“(Young) described it as ‘schizophrenic,’ ” Murphy said. “But he liked it. I guess we’ve got some reggae and some rock (influences), and now we’ve added more of a jam influence, since we’ve been going to all these festivals.”
But the band is quick to point out that, unlike your stereotypical jam act, Mighty Shady’s music has more to say than just “sit back and enjoy the next 20 minutes.”
“My favorite song on the album is ‘Body Language,’ ” Freier said. “It’s about losing yourself in mundane society. We’re all so tied up in TV and making your house look pretty, and all these things that don’t matter. So (‘Body Language’) is about breaking free and actually enjoying people and individual connections.”
Freier and Murphy do all the writing for the band, with Freier handling the lion’s share, while Murphy often adds the important finishing touches. It’s a collaboration that started with the band’s inception nearly three years ago and has served them well throughout.
“Most (songs) will start with me and (Jared) just kind of riffing on the guitar in my room,” Freier explained. “Then, when we find something I like, I’ll start to unravel the song, and the rest is a collaboration between me and (Jared).”
“I write lyrics on probably half the songs Chris writes,” Murphy added. “Usually he’ll get about three quarters of a song done, then I’ll kind of finish it up.”
Murphy also does most of the band’s arrangements, with McCoy, Schwichtenberg and McBroom then coming in and giving the ideas full life. But don’t just think of Mighty Shady as a jam act. In fact, “Double Think” makes it hard to think of them in any one way at all. CV