By Dan Ouellette
DownBeat, ZEALnyc, author of Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes; Bruce Lundvall: Playing by Ear
Guitarist/songwriter/producer Shea Welsh reflects on why his melody-rich album is titled Arrival. One factor is acknowledging his passage to Los Angeles in 1999 from Baltimore, where he was born and raised and where he broke into the gigging stream. Another signpost is his emergence as a vital artist—not just a hard-chore musician going through the professional motions—who boldly eschews genre boundaries, digging expressively into a sumptuous amalgam of rock, r&b, classical and jazz. Finally, remarkably, this is Welsh’s long-awaited debut recording. And indeed, he has arrived.
“I’ve always been a sideman, worked in studios, had my own bands for years but never had the right reason for making a record,” says Welsh, trained in both classical and jazz and today a faculty member at the USC music program. “But now the time has come. I’m not focusing on one style over another. In the past when I was gigging in different settings, I loved the idea of giving one hundred percent to the style I was playing in. I didn’t just dabble. So in my own music, I strive to be authentic in every song while also expanding into the adventure of improvisation. I enjoy jumping into that gray area.” READ MORE