The Charlie Shafter Band churns out the bad-boy Americana as effortlessly as posterboy Ryan Adams does but with a little less pretension. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Shafter and drummer Joel Dreistadt hail from Decatur, Ill., but Shafter has lived in Texas for several years. The eponymously named outfit, Shafter said, “kind of fell together” in Lubbock seven years ago.
The band’s late-2007 debut, 17th and Chicago, features a conglomeration of songs full of complicated lyrics, fuzzbox-y guitars, and the occasional odd effect. On the title track, Dreistadt used a washing machine for percussion.
“Lately/When You Believed in Unicorns” is a soft, brutally sad, and unfortunately timely song about a wounded soldier watching his family fall apart. The band’s current single, “Not My Girl,” starts out kinda sweet, with poppy handclaps, but turns scary in the blink of a verse. The song, about a guy who won’t let a restraining order keep him from the object of his affection, has been flirting with the Texas Music Top 20. The ditty, according to Shafter, is “not about anyone in the band.”
“And if it sounds like it’s about you,” he continued, “you should get professional help.”
Despite the band’s outwardly punk scruffiness and decidedly non-country songs, Shafter says that some folks don’t get it. At live shows, at least one redneck is bound to shout out, “Free Bird!”
“We give ’em ‘Free Bird,’ ” Shafter said, intimating that he will present the offending party with the good ol’ one-finger salute. “No charge.” – Laurie Barker James
Thu w/Josh Abbott Band and Rich O’Toole at Rockin’ Rodeo, 1009 Av C, Denton. 940-565-6611. •
Fri, July 24, at Woody’s Tavern, 4744 Bryant-Irvin Rd, FW. $5. 817-732-4936.