The music community has tried for decades to define country music. Are steel guitars and fiddles required? Or is the essence based in the true-to-life message?
Shy Blakeman is an old soul who portrays his own country music heritage on Long Distance Man, his acclaimed third studio album. Blakeman successfully melds together all the rural musical styles from below the Mason-Dixon line in order to create an album that is “so eclectic it’s really hard to try and define it by one genre. And that’s the way it should be,” Blakeman notes. “But it all still feels within the realm of what country music is and used to be.” This unique style developed naturally from a childhood in Wyoming and East Texas, added to years spent in Nashville, New York and LA collaborating with an eclectic group of classic country-rock musicians.
At the young age of 15, Blakeman picked up his guitar for the first time. “I really don’t believe music is a choice. It’s a calling. And when you hear it, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re compelled to pursue it like you’re compelled to breathe.” He set off down a music-making career and never looked back. The determination to communicate his music jolted forward in 2003 after a botched robbery attempt outside a Dallas music venue almost took his life. Blakeman narrowly escaped after a gunshot wound to the face. “After that, I said, you know what? You only have one life. I’m following my dream.” And by releasing the organic and unexpected Long Distance Man and three of the album tracks to Texas radio, he has done just that.
Although he has ventured out to all parts of the country, Blakeman considers Texas home. “Texas is a big part of who I am. It’s where I’ve lived longer than anywhere in my life, and I’m glad I lived in Texas in my most impressionable years when I was coming of age. What makes Texas music great is that it’s organic, it’s real, it just is what it is.”
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