James Moore says, “Rick Shaffer delivers near perfect rock album with Idiot Flats.”

As a lifelong rock n’ roll fan, I can honestly say that I’ve explored and re-explored a wide range of what the genre has to offer.  Coming across the work of Rick Shaffer recently, though, made me wonder if I’ve really been paying close enough attention.  His new CD “Idiot Flats” is a joyous mix of the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and the Black Keys with an occasional rockabilly tinge to the proceedings, and it’s a solid effort.  “Unforgiven Man” showcases Shaffer’s one-of-a-kind pepped up badass vocal chops, and it would be hard for any rock fan to not love it.  “One More Heartache” brings Springsteen to mind with gut wrenching honesty.  Already, by track two, I’m blown away and requesting a physical copy for my nest road trip.  “Remember” doesn’t slow things down – it heavy’s things up a la 16 Horsepower to keep the momentum strong and forceful.  The title track is a low down blues number, dirtier than the Black Keys material we’re used to hearing these days.  Highlights from the rest of the release include the mean romper “Around The Bend” that’ll make you want to dance by yourself (it’s that kind of number), and “Dangerous Dance,” which brings the great Steve Earl to mind.

I would not hesitate to HIGHLY recommend this release to any serious fan of rock, rock n’ roll, blues, Americana, and even country.  This album is near perfect and delivers a swagger most artists don’t even dream up.  GET IT.

James Moore – IMP – Vancouver, BC, Canada

(James Moore is the author of the best selling music marketing book “Your Band Is A Virus,” and is also a contributor to The Muse’s Muse, Skope Magazine, Target Audience Magazine, Evor, and Music Think Tank.)

WATCH RICK SHAFFER’s NEW VIDEO

Tarock Music called on director and editor, David N. Donihue (Super Rad Motion Picture Group) to give “One More Heartache” the vintage look it required to match Rick Shaffer’s vintage sound.  Shaffer’s poignant lyrics of turning your back on what’s continually forced fed to everyone daily demanded Donihue’s expertise of creating commercials and music videos.  Donihue’s concept was to tell the story of children choosing not to blindly follow the hype from big company advertising, by visually creating two worlds − the real world in black and white,  and the glossy world of advertisers in color.  After searching through thousands of 1960’s commercials Donihue creatively shows the progression of the children’s alarmed state to the final conclusion of their ultimate choice.  The finished video provides the powerful query − is it what you believe, or what you know.  © 2012 Tarock Music

“One More Heartache” is track 2 on the album, Idiot Flats.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Chris West says, “Rick Shaffer has simply never told a lie.”

Until the release of his debut solo venture, I had never heard of Rick Shaffer.  I am proud to say that ever since that initial review, I’ve never forgotten him and apparently he’s never forgotten me either.  So when I was asked to review this latest dose of Rick, I happily obliged.  See, to me there is just something about keeping a sense of honesty to music and I personally feel that when it comes to his music, Rick Shaffer has simply never told a lie.

Following up his last album, Hidden Charms, in true Rick fashion he has continued to expound on his sound while sticking to his roots with Idiot Flats, his latest 10-track full length of bent-note blues, vintage garage fuzz and stripped down honesty, “Unforgiven Man” blasts at the intro with jarring blues finger lead over slightly dirty backing melody.  The hallmark vocal delivery is eerie in how much Rick can effortlessly channel a young Jagger.  Through the track he maintains his trademark “sense of urgency” with the lead still wailing through to the fade.  The fuzz finally takes the lead on “Remember” while the finger-picking wail takes the undercurrent role.  This is the facet where Rick shines most.  I believe in “too much of a thing” but no matter how much fuzz Rick pipes from his rig he never loses control of the ethos of the track.  The bluesy drone, guitar interplay and the vocal delivery find a commonality that makes the track mesh while allowing a full appreciation of the individual elements.  Title track “Idiot Flats” continues the dirty fuzz with bent-note fills and a nasally twang in the vocal delivery; noteworthy in that what I notice is Rick is peppering this album with a dose of vintage Psychobilly/Honky Tonk. The minimal shaker/tambourine percussion keeps time in the background while the fuzz melody plods the track along over the bluesy picking at the foreground.  What is dramatic about it is the multiple soundscapes and layers Rick can lay down and then morph into one harmonious drone.  “Around The Bend” features a slide work intro over the scratchy backing drone. Hard luck Blues vocals bolster the dirty ethos of the track with what sounds like triple guitar interplay.  Again, this track reeks of raw, organic grit that creates a complexity sum of the parts.

What’s important to note is that Rick Shaffer doesn’t put out new albums.  What he offers is a series of recorded evolutions of a sound.  Yes, the basic elements of blues guitar and 60s garage fuzz are ever-present, but the additional facets of vintage R&B, Honky Stomp and Hill Country rhythm can only be identified as evolutionary.  And fittingly so, in that Rick isn’t one to put out static music; this stuff moves and shakes.  It vibrates and resonates.  This isn’t simple “listening music”; it’s a sonic assault . . . an aural hostile takeover.  And there is something special when an artist can command your attention without asking for it . . . such is the case with Rick.

Christopher West – SKOPE Magazine – RATING: 4 (OUT OF 5)

Download a FREE mp3 of ONE MORE HEARTACHE.  The CD can be purchased directly from TAROCK MUSIC with FREE shipping to any country or planet, or from CD BABY, and iTUNES.  

INDIE MUSIC CRITIC Names Idiot Flats PICK OF THE WEEK

INDIE MUSIC CRITIC has named Rick Shaffer’s new album, Idiot Flats, PICK OF THE WEEK.

Shaffer’s latest venture is built on a garage/blues framework, Mississippi Hill Country rhythms, a garage/blues framework mashed together in a 1960’s psychobilly/R&B sound.

Download a free mp3 of ONE MORE HEARTACHE.

Psychobilly blues conjurer infused with a melancholically hopeful Gospelish stomp . . .

Rick Shaffer’s IDIOT FLATS is music by which to read Wild at Heart.  The distorted guitars harken back to Link Wray and King Bee-era Stones, but also ahead to garage-rock California blues billy bands like The Blasters.  But there’s nothing clean or obviously tight in Shaffer.  If anything, there’s a bit of the devil in him, in his stomp, an edge, an unwillingness to hoe the musically pretty party line.

He sings just as unapologetically as he arranges his bass, drums, and guitars.  He doesn’t posses a great voice, or a classically bluesy voice, or a classically rock voice, nor does he have the sort of voice that’s “seen things.”  Not that you don’t see things when your listening to Shaffer’s, One More Heartache.  You see all sorts of great things − duck tails and syringes and back alleys and dancers dancing hard to his music.

But Shaffer’s voice, like his music, like his musical tastes that have influenced his music, just is what it is.  It’s take it or leave it.  A bit haunting, a bit raw, a bit in your face.  But knowing, almost intellectual.  And with an unusually Gospel hopefulness lurking just beneath as well.  The kind of hopefulness that has the veracity of pain and sacrifice to it.  Damn fine.  Just really damn fine.

▬ Devon Jackson

(Devon Jackson is the author of Conspiranoia! (Dutton 2000), and Editor of the Santa Fean Magazine, as well as a freelance writer for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Details, Vanity Fair, and The Huffington Post, to name a few.)

Purchase the Idiot Flats CD directly from TAROCK MUSIC with free shipping to any country, or planet.

Tarock Music Releases 3rd RICK SHAFFER Solo Album

Tarock Music has released Rick Shaffer’s third solo album, IDIOT FLATS.  His latest venture is built on a garage/blues framework, Mississippi Hill Country rhythms, a garage/blues framework mashed together in a 1960’s psychobilly/R&B sound.  Idiot Flats’ lyrical and vocal tone takes on the packaged commercialized plague, asking the listener to live free in the moment, instead of in the past or the future.

The ten track rave-up comes straight on with reckless abandon.  Among the highlights are, Unforgiven Man, and One More Heartache.  Both are hard-hitting raw 1960’s R&B rockers, tapping into elements of, The Pretty Things, and early Stones. while delivering their own individual character and intensity.

The CD can be purchased directly from TAROCK MUSIC with free shipping to any country or planet, or from CD BABY, iTUNES.  And, it will soon be available from Amazon, Spotify, eMusic, and all popular music sites.