Ryan Shupe and The Rubber Band: Hard-Driving Hybrid Between Bluegrass and Rock
If ever a guy was genetically wired to play the fiddle, it's Ryan Shupe. The talent goes all the way back through his lineage to his fiddling great-great-grandfather. "If we were old enough to walk, we were old enough to learn the fiddle," he recalls with a laugh. Ryan has toured the country playing Bluegrass ever since was 10, though his offstage persona at the time favored punk and rock.
In the meantime, he's taken his genetic talent up a notch and added electric and acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and songwriting. And also a band, who's taking a new direction with their current album "We Rode On," which Shupe describes as "acoustic rock with a Bluegrass twist." The new release is in part an autobiographical one, with a song for his kids called "The Sun Will Shine Again."
Shupe produced, recorded, and arranged "Move On" in his home studio in a role that one band member describes as "A mad musical scientist. And husband. And father."
But in addition to the serious stuff, the band's songs can have a more playful side, such as a love song to the corndog, not surprisingly titled "Corndog," whose chorus goes, "Corndogs, corndogs, they are so good to me / Good when they're hot, good when they're cold / Good when they're fresh, good when they're old / Corndogs, corndogs, they are so good to me..."
Shupe and his band have appeared on an impressive range of TV programs: Good Morning America, E! TV, Great American Country and Country Music Television. They've also made an effective connection with social media, which Shupe says is more and more important to independent bands such as his own: "Social media has leveled the playing field for everyone. You don't need to have a giant company behind you. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow the artist to connect with people on a much more regular basis and you get instant feedback rather than putting up posters about an upcoming show.
"Back when I first started, you crossed your fingers that people would come to your show. But on social media, you see what people are saying about your material or respond if they're coming to your event."
As one critic has said of the new "We Rode On": "It marks a striking career transition and a meaningful evolution in Shupe's songwriting, his life, and the band's sound. It strongly and deftly combines the rock side of their musical arsenal with the acoustic instruments and virtuoso jamming the band has become known for in their live shows."
As in Beartrap. And they might even eat a corndog or two while they're here.