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Interviews: Randall Shreve

Randall Shreve: Interview
October 2007
By: Lauren Jonik

"I found the cure for yesterday / It's tomorrow, my friend," sings Randall Shreve in the sweeping title track from his debut CD, "The Cure for Yesterday." After growing up in the south and living in Orlando, FL for several years, Randall Shreve migrated to NYC less than a year ago. In that time, he's been establishing himself as one of the newest and brightest talents on the scene.

Though songs on the album tell the love story of two characters, photo of Randall Shreve copyright Lauren JonikCharlie and Beth, "The Cure for Yesterday" holds many autobiographical nuances. "Basically, I tell stories. All of my songs either tell a story or a part of a bigger one," Randall Shreve explains. And when performing, Shreve revels in bringing the songs to life. "My shows are intimate and it's like watching a movie. All of the parts may be out of order, but somehow it always works and tells a different story every night. It's my non-fiction creating fiction for the night." Shreve likens the start of a show to meeting someone new and beginning a conversation. By the end of the night, when the rapport has been established, only then can the deepest shades be brought to the room. "The end is where I'm loosened up and feel more comfortable with the crowd to express my soul and be more open."

Shreve often begins his shows by playing guitar, but "if there is a piano there, I'll switch half-way through." Proficient in several instruments, Shreve managed find a unique way of have time to practice during his high school years. He signed up for a gym class and ended up cutting a deal with his teacher who let him practice his drums while the other students were busy exercising. When he realized that he could make similar use of his study hall time and the time during his music class, Shreve suddenly found himself preparing for the career he would later pursue. "I practiced for four a day during the school day and then, I would go home and practice. There was a piano there, too, so I that's how I learned piano. I'm all self-taught -- after all, I had four hours a day," he adds, laughing.

All of that practicing has indeed paid off. Randall Shreve had the opportunity to perform at the Canal Room for the first time in August 2007 while opening for Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root. The fans decided who would open the show by voting online and as Shreve enthuses, "The Canal is one of the most amazing places I've played." But, when continuing to talk about NYC venues, a familiar artist and fan favorite immediately was mentioned: Rockwood Music Hall. "Rockwood was the first place that gave me a chance in New York before I even lived here. When venues treat you like you're not just "tonight," that's something special and Rockwood has always done that."

Shreve has found his inspiration for creating and performing from many sources, including three people whose style his has been compared to, Jimmy Gnecco of OURS, with whom he played a moving show at The Living Room earlier this year, Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. "Jimmy has been really kind to me and has helped me in ways that he doesn't even know. He's helped me to find more of who I am and to sharpen that." But, one source of inspiration has come from a bit closer to home: his brother, musician Benjamin del Shreve. "He is an old soul. I learn from him every time I'm around him in every way, both musically and ethically," says Shreve.

Randall Shreve appreciates the journey his music has been taking him on since his youth into every new tomorrow. "It's a good feeling to be able to tell people who I am. I put myself out there in the strongest way that I possibly could. I couldn't in detail describe my whole life and the things I've been through and the things I've experienced more clearly than through my songs." Randall is performing at Bar 169 on October 19, 2007 at 9:30pm.

Interview originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY (Issue #27 Octobber 2007). Photo by Lauren Jonik. Reprinted with permission.