For the past six years, Shawn Brewster and Shelby Sangdahl have been leading a strong path through Cleveland’s music scene in the rock ‘n’ roll folk band Oldboy. With their new EP release “Sleeping in a Spell” Shawn and Shelby create an intimate and rustic invitation to honest and talented songwriting. Stripped away the electronics and percussion of their rock-oriented project, the back-to-basics approach of their hometown folk roots is stronger than any amplifier.
Shawn’s voice brings to mind the sincerity of classic folk artists like Cat Stevens and Richie Havens. He can sing into the depths and hold on to every last note, then return with gritty passion in songs like “The Sound of You Breathing” and “The Speed of Night.” In “Light” his vocal style even shows hints of Tiger and Boy partner Jenna Fournier, another great example of the local scene’s mutual songwriting collaborations. The steady breathing pace of the songs reminds me most of Mark Kozelek from Red House Painters. Shawn’s deep, personal lyrics perfectly complement the gentle, weaving undertow of Shelby’s touching cello melodies. In their rendition of Iron & Wine’s “Upward Over The Mountain,” they express more emotion than the original.
You can catch their next show on March 23rd at The Beachland Tavern with Matt Hectorne and Carl Anderson. For more details, check out the Blown Speakers Events Calendar.
Photo by Jenna Fournier.