I first saw Eryn Shewell at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park over a year ago and was blown away by her performance. It's hard to believe, but she says that was her first ever live performance of her originals. Since then, her songs have gotten better and her band is now comprised of amazingly talented musicians that bring her rock and roll / country tunes alive with a touch of jazz and blues flavoring. The band includes John MacDonald on bass, Antonio Gambrell on trumpet and backing vocals, Pat Ruh on guitar, Elliot Kessler on drums, Kat Verderosa on backing vocals, and Doug Scocco on organ and keyboards.
"It boggles my mind that I have all these talented people that are doing so much for me and I don't even know how to thank them," said Shewell. "I thank whatever the powers that may be for them everyday. I'm a lucky girl."
Shewell has floated under the radar a bit by playing shows at many untraditional original music venues. In addition to her original band she also fronts a cover band called Stronger Than Dirt. Playing in both bands allows her to work on different angles of her music and helps her make more connections in the area.
"I love doing both," she explained. "It's two different worlds. With my originals I get to be more creative and the songs have more meaning. My cover band stuff lets me kind of just let it loose and rock out a bit."
Born in Washington, DC, Shewell moved to New Jersey when she was 8. Since then she has been lead singer for the country band Sundance, pop/rock band Easily Amuzed, and was a member of the popular New Jersey band Jody Joseph & The Average Joes. She recently won over audiences in New Orleans singing with national touring band Soul Project.
Eryn's taste in music was partly influenced by her parents. Her father listened to the Rat Pack while her mother was into country music. In high school, Eryn began getting into jazz artists like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. Throw in some classic rock and those are the influences found in her songs. It's an interesting blend that has a distinct sound of its own.
Shewell and her band play throughout New Jersey and places in Pennsylvania and New York. Their biggest gig to date was last August's Musikfest, the 10-day music festival that takes place in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The band played in front of thousands of people who listened to every note played.
"It was amazing," said Shewell. "When it was said over the microphone that we had free CDs, it was like a bum rush to the table! We ran out of CDs and started handing out promos without covers or even cases. Then we ran out of everything! It was crazy!"
Eryn is currently recording an album with Grammy award-winning producer Jason Corsaro (Madonna, Sound Garden, Peter Gabriel, Mariah Carey). The process is taking longer than she'd like, but she hopes to have the
new record out sometime in 2008.