To say it’s been a long, strange trip for Hal Shows is surely an imperial understatement. His band “Persian Gulf” broke new sonic ground, first in Tallahassee and later in New York City. As a solo artist, Shows drew fans in U.S. college towns, and he broadened his creative vision overseas for a few years. Shows’ past records, such as “Changing the Weather”, “Birthday Suit”, “Lifeboat” and “Native Dancer” were all cut in commercial studios. He says his new collection, “Treasure of Love”, was all tracked in his own “Witching Stick” studios behind his home off Apalachee Parkway east of Tallahassee.
"This is the first record I've recorded in my own studio, which is nice. I built this place to do that record and maybe a few more if I can manage in whatever time we're allotted."
And the artist tapped some of the Capital City’s top players to help out.
"Carie Hamby, Sharla June, Clay Byars, Steve Jenovese, he's on almost every track; Mark Patton plays a lot of wonderful stuff on the record, Perry Nelson has drums on most of the tracks, Walter Kelleher plays drums. There's just so many I can't really name them all, but they're all on the record," he said.
In any modern musical production, laying down the instrumental and vocal tracks is just the beginning. And the result, says Shows, is an album – a term leftover from the days of long-playing vinyl recordings – that gave him a chance to stretch.
"There's acoustic numbers on it, there's numbers with horns. It's the first time I've done any work with an orchestral arrangement. A buddy of mine up at Berklee School of Music did a string quartet for a song.
"It's the first one I've had since 'Birthday Suit' in 1990. I like instrumentals and I come from a kind of surf culture. I'm from Jacksonville Beach, St. Augustine over around there. So I love beach music. always have."
But Shows insists “Treasure of Love”, while visiting some familiar ground musically, comes from a very different place emotionally.
"The record is also touched by a lot of personal things. It's dedicated to a 'cuz of mine who was murdered last year. Some sociopath with a gun shot him as he was planting a tree in his yard. It was a random act of gun violence by a guy who had a gun who shouldn't have had a gun. It's dedicated to him and there's a couple of other people I've lost recently including my mother. It's an album that's a little bit about loss," he said.
“Treasure of Love” comes more than eight years after the release of Hal Shows’ last record, “Native Dancer”. So, will there be a similar gap between now and the next production?
"I have no idea when the next creative 'whiff' or where I'm going...but that's not bad. I kind of like that. I feel I did everything I could in this instance and I'm happy to wait until the next inkling comes along and I start following that."
“Treasure of Love” by Hal Shows is available as either a CD or download from: www.cdbaby.com.