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article imageInterview: Aaron Beavers, founding member of Shurman Special

By Adrian Peel     Nov 5, 2015 in Music
Described as a "high-energy Austin Texas-based roots rock and country soul band," this fervent foursome, led by the singer, guitarist and primary songwriter mentioned above, are about to release a new album, their first since 2012.
Texas-born Aaron Beavers formed Shurman with the group's original drummer Damon Allen some 15 years ago. After various lineup changes, the current incarnation is Beavers, Mike Therieau on bass and vocals, Harley Husbands on lead guitar and drummer Clint Short.
Due to personal struggles and issues related to the music business, it has been three years since the quartet's last album Inspiration. Their new effort and sixth LP overall - different from anything they've ever done before and out tomorrow - is called East Side of Love.
"We started the record quite a while ago," explains Aaron, a well-known figure on the Austin scene. "We actually took a little break from the music business altogether... We were kinda going through some personal stuff - I basically went through a divorce and had a lot going on in my personal life.
"It felt like we were trying to juggle music with what the business has become now. Obviously it's much different than it was when we started out in the early 2000s... We're trying to adjust to all the changes because that's part of the game, no matter where you are, right?"
"We started the record in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in early 2013," continues the popular singer/songwriter who never fails, it seems, to satisfy his fans. "I was trying to finish it while we were there. Then I got a call from my wife and I was like, 'I need to go home and see if there's any way this can be salvaged.' We ended up divorcing, but we're still friends."
Discussing his initial intentions for the new album, Aaron recalls, "We had this idea that we were gonna make a record in the studio, like go in and write it. I had some song ideas that I wanted to flesh out with the band, kinda like what The Band would do in the early days...
"I just wasn't in a place, creatively, to pull it off. I was sad and my life at home was falling apart, so I really couldn't focus on being creative. I basically told the guys: 'I need to go back home to Austin and take a little time to get my life together.' The timing was wrong."
Shurman:  East Side of Love
Shurman: "East Side of Love"
Mike Gowen
"On our previous albums, we had a lot of people helping us to pick the songs, to flush out ideas and 'produce' our sound," observes the frontman, commenting on what it is in his opinion that makes this new release special.
"I think we were always asking, 'What do the fans want to hear?' We were conscious about what people wanted to hear from us and I think this is the very first record where rather than looking outward, I looked inward on what I wanted to hear from us, what I wanted the record to sound like.
"The songs ended up being a little bit more melancholic, in my mind, although when people hear the record they don't hear that... I took out all the drinking songs and all the typical things that we'd been doing for over a decade and replaced them with songs about loss, regret and about love not working out."
"It's a line I just made up," says the talkative thirty-something of East Side of Love, the title of the album and also its opening song. "It's the idea that pretty much wherever we've been, often the East Side of town is kind of the shadier side of the tracks.
"The West Side is where the sun sets and the East Side is the dirtier, grittier sound of town - where you'd find the Charles Bukowski kind of characters. It describes the way I was feeling at the time. It seemed to encompass where I was, like on the wrong side of the tracks of love, if you will!"
The album contains 11 tracks, four of which Beavers wrote. Mike the bass player wrote one - and also sang lead on it - and the other six the two friends composed together. I wondered which were the bandleader's favourites.
"Well I'm pretty partial to the title track; I just like what we captured, sonically," he replies. "The two others that jump out to me right off the bat, one of them is a song called 'I Don't Know Why' that's basically three and a half minutes of me singing with a guitar before the band comes in.
"It would never have been on any previous record because it's such a long song, but also it's such a naked song - there's so little going on at the beginning. It's a long, sad, naked song! I'm proud of it because we were able to do something we never would have done before.
"The other tune is one I wrote for my son called 'Dive Right In.' I think of him when I hear it, so for that I'm partial to the song... I went to Harley, our guitar player, and he's a great, expressive player. On previous albums we've really cut him loose and let him go crazy.
"On this, I wanted a 'less is more' approach and I think he knocked it out of the park... I love hearing his lick that starts the song off and keeps repeating throughout. I hate to use the word 'hook,' but it's the hook of the song.
"The story behind it also draws me in. That, to me, is the most 'Shurman-sounding' song on the record as it's more similar to what we've released previously. It's like, 'This is what Shurman sounds like, but in 2015.'"
East Side of Love is out tomorrow, November 6.
For more information on Shurman, visit their official website.
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