“Going Down Slow” Gets Music Blogged

musicbloggedRick Shaffer is an artist with a truly distinctive approach to his vision and sound. This talented musician cleverly combines alternative music and country rock in order to create songs that hit the spot emotionally and technically.

The songs on Rick’s recently released album Outside Of Time demonstrate high quality musicianship and timeless song-writing wits, reminding me of the sound of seminal influencers including the likes of Neil Young, The Cramps or The Blasters, just to mention but a few.

The album’s lead single “Going Down Slow” does a great job of driving the album with a set of stunning rhythms and melodies. The song effortlessly goes between blues, rock and country. The aesthetics of the song have a truly 60s flavor, but the arrangement and the production value have a punch that is all modern and up-to-speed with the needs and want of today’s audience.

Rick is a charismatic performer whose style is refreshingly direct, iconic and versatile. Behind its thought-provoking enigmatic title, this album hides a refreshingly down-to-earth approach that goes back to the roots of Rick’s passion.

Ben Corke – Music Blogged

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Tarock Music Releases Rick Shaffer Video ∎ TALKING ABOUT YOU

02_5381708“Talking About You” is track 5 on Rick Shaffer’s 2013 album release, STACKED DECK.

All the photographs in the video are the work of photographer, Morris Huberland (1909—2003). Mr. Huberland’s family immigrated from Poland to New York City’s Lower East Side in 1920. In 1940, he joined New York’s Photo League, citing Eliot Elisofon’s lectures on photojournalism as influential to his artistic approach. In the 1950’s he took numerous photographs in various NYC neighborhoods, labeling them, “Girl Gang.” Mr. Huberland continued to exhibit work into the 20th and 21st centuries at various New York City institutions, including: the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the Jewish Museum. Additionally, his photographs often accompanied articles published in The New York Times.

In August 2016 The New York Public Library made hundreds-of- thousands of photographs for use with no fees, allowing Images to be used, reused and shared commercially and otherwise, and can be downloaded from their digital collection ► http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ The Morris Huberland photographs compiled for this video are from The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Photography Collection, at The New York Public Library.

WATCH THE VIDEO ► https://youtu.be/Tz6r3KSH8qU


“Rick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk . . .”

CrossradarRick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk, just as bristling and energetic as ever.

‘Killer Time’ kicks things off with swaggering vocals that race alongside the furious guitars which splutter along and give way to a solo that is curiously slurred and tight at the same time. ‘Going Down Slow’ paints the picture of devil-may-care driving down the road late at night, with flashes of British rock thrown into the mix. Rick Shaffer’s work continues to be exciting and engaging, on the one had looking back to the influences of early punk rock, while on the other always looking for new ways to communicate that punk aesthetic. ‘Your Charm’ takes a classic riff and redevelops it for its own purposes, like taking some old clothes and deconstructing them to be recreated in a new way. It’s all still the same fabric, but it’s sometimes time to be used differently. As a result, the tracks found on Outside Of Time have a feeling of familiarity while also offering the excitement that comes from engaging with new tunes.

Shaffer certainly sticks to a consistent model, and anyone who knows of his work is unlikely to be disappointed with this new selection of upbeat, swaggering tunes.

• Chris Marsh • August 24, 2016

The Ministry Of Truth Reviews “Outside Of Time”

Chairman RalphAnd so, the clock rewinds, the minute hand takes a moment to reset itself, the second hand waits for an encore cue, and we renew our acquaintance once more with Rick Shaffer, former guitarist of those amped up ’80-s Philadelphia New Wave ravers, The Reds, who’s lately racked up an impressive streak of solo albums that shows no signs of letting up.

That’s certainly the case for his latest effort, Outside Of Time (Tarock Music), which maintains the standards that we’ve come to expect from him: high energy, stripped down garage-psych and punk, infused with flecks of old school R&B, and a little hill country blues, too, while he’s at it.  As usual, Shaffer carries the load (guitar, percussion, lead vocals), with a little bit of strategic assistance from Teddy Rixon (bass) and Russ Mitchell (drums, percussion).

If you’ve followed Shaffer’s work this far, you’ll know his albums start off with a houseshaking opening track, and “Killer Time” is no exception.  The track builds around a fuzz-laced riff, and a drum/tambourine track that just propels it right along, as Shaffer asks someone — a business partner, friend, or lover, we don’t know — to just drop the pretense, and deal with life’s hard truths, for a change (“Why are you waiting for things you can’t see?).  Then, in the middle, the song explodes into a truly paint-peeling, overdriven lead solo that provides an apt counterpart to its theme (a favored subject of previous Shaffer efforts).

This up-tempo approach and unapologetic mindset prevails on tracks like “One By One” (“Ask me once, but please don’t ask again, where I’m going, and mostly, where I’ve been”), and “Blowing My Mind” (“I ain’t changing, I ain’t changing my mind now”), on which Shaffer laces his lyrics with dark flecks of guitar fills. Like I’ve said before, and feel obliged to say again — if the Rolling Stones are serious about reclaiming their mojo, here’s where that mission should start.

“Going Down Slow,” on the other hand, is a shot of grungy blues energy that nods to simpler pleasures: in this case, cruising the cityscape, and listening to music, without worrying about where you’re going, what you need to do next, or whether you’ve got to be on time (“Going down, going down slow/don’t tell the things that I already know”).  It’s a fitting subject, considering the site of the album’s recording (Del Tone Studios, Detroit, MI).  The blues elements return in full force on the closing track, the aptly-titled “Hellbound Trip,” which will definitely give a glimpse of a hellhound’s pursuit.

Other highlights include “Show Me,” a shimmering, moody piece of psych-pop that (honestly) recalls the world-weary, “shrug my shoulders” resignation of the Music Machine’s twilight years.  As on the other songs, Shaffer leaves the listener to determine just who he’s taking to task here, though it’s definitely someone that he’s happy not to see anymore (“How many times/must I try to explain/Trouble coming down like a pouring rain”).

Other tracks show Shaffer in a more pop-oriented mood.  The biggest surprise here, and a hint at a direction to explore on future albums, if Shaffer chooses.  Notable snapshots include “Blowing My Mind,” “Your Charm,” whose guitar hook nods to T. Rex’s breakthrough (“Get It On”), and “Changing Anything,” which boasts an earnestly singalong chorus amid its underdog determination (“This ain’t changing anything, no this ain’t changing anything/No this ain’t changing anything I know”).

 In less adept hands, the sonic collisions that often occur here — the layered vocals, persistent leads, and strategically deployed guitar and percussion fills — would sound soggy and deadly. On Outside Of Time, they sound just right.  Ladies and gentlemen, may we present — Mr. Rick Shaffer, Philly guitar slinger, who’s bearing down on you with everything he knows — the one-man last gang in town, who hasn’t chased the trends.  With works of this caliber, he won’t feel the need.

Ralph Heibutzki

Chairman Ralph’s Ministry Of Truth       

Tarock Music Releases Rick Shaffer Video ∎ GOING DOWN SLOW

RICK SHAFFER GOING DOWN SLOW (final).mp4 - Google DriveRick Shaffer and director, David N. Donihue struck up a friendship when filming the video, “One More Heartache,” for Shaffer’s 2012 album, Idiot Flats.  When Shaffer told Donihue he wrote “Going Down Slow” in Detroit while recording his latest album, Outside Of Time, because he was struck by how the economy caused crime in the Motor City to skyrocket out of control.  He was especially moved after meeting so many good people that were in desperate straits as a direct result of the nose diving economy, and a seemingly uncaring Government.  Shaffer wanted to evoke a story line that would convey the desolation of Detroit, so he enlisted Donihue to create the visual scenario for his lyrics.

Donihue, a fan of Shaffer’s timeless sound, readily agreed.  His vision materialized into a story line that follows Jack Clyde, a young, handsome, yet hard edged, man living in the turmoil of the wavering American economy.  When Jack impregnates his girlfriend just as the slumping job market leaves him with no prospects, he hastily decides to rob a liquor store.  When Jack’s actions leaves the mother of his child alone in the world, it becomes her turn to launch her own plan.

CREDITS: Director: David N. Donihue | Producer: Noubar Antonyan — SuperRadFilms.com | The Criminal: Arman Oganesyan | The Heroine: Kristin Vannieuwenhoven | The Prisoner: Noubar Antonyan | Still Photography: Theresa Marchione | ©2016 TarockMusic.com

WATCH THE VIDEO ON YouTube . . . https://youtu.be/Hvk44kOocp0


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“This is one of the better engineered garage rock records, with a sound that cuts like lasers.”


I could repeat the words of dozens of reviewers and talk about how raw and visceral the performances here sound. But what amazes me about this record, by contrast, is how good it sounds. To talk about the musicianship of Rick Shaffer as a point of punk orthodoxy or Garage rock seems beside the point when you listen to Outside Of Time, the new album by Shaffer.

The guitars that dominate the entire album do not sound sludgy at all, despite the heavy reliance on good old fashioned fuzz, overdriven and psychedelic sounds. They bubble and sizzle like a sirloin in a skillet; the flares and trebles sound just right. The rhythm section is rock solid, and without it, this record would go nowhere fast. Rick Shaffer, likewise, knows exactly what he’s doing.

This is one of the better engineered garage rock records, with a sound that cuts like lasers. It is a remarkable performance regardless of who should get the credit. What we have here is an amazingly sharp, dense, harsh and muscular sonic attack. I don’t listen to a lot of new pseudo rock but I’d like to hear someone outdo these tracks for pure, sheer power.

The songs never drag; actually the whole album is remarkably well-paced. “Killer Time” kicks things off with a menacing prowl, “Going Down Slow” kicks things into high gear, “Blowing My Mind” hints at the craziness still to come, if you’re looking for a slow-burn, catch-your-breath centerpiece to the album, you won’t find it.

The closest you’ll come to slow burn, is “Final Surprise”, but that’s track 9, and it’s not slow either, just slower. Moreover, by this time Rick has kicked the breath out of you for 8 whole thumping tracks!

Once the madness kicks in with “Your Charm”, it’s like the afterburners have been lit and there’s no turning back for the rest of the album. Words don’t do it justice. Lyrically, I don’t know much about what is going on because I’m so stuck on the driving rhythms and gravelly vocal deliveries.

There may, or may not be, some mystery as to what exactly Mr. Shaffer is trying to say in each song, but the messages comes through in the various grunts, snarls and shouts that he cuts loose, adding another cataclysmic instrument to the already potent musical combo.

It is your sole duty to find and understand them. For Garage Rock or Proto-Punk lovers, this is essential stuff. Hell this recording could stand alongside the best of those classic releases by Husker Du and Interpol.

Overall, this is an incredibly powerful album and represents a real hybrid of the free- form acid drenched jamming from the latter sixties, whilst looking forward to punk, garage and alternative rock. Yet there is more –you’ll find traces of Blues and Americana roots music buried in beneath the electric turmoil.

If you pay careful attention, this happens with overt candor, precisely from “One On One”, through “Show Me”, “Final Surprise” and “Hellbound Trip” – truly a nice blend of pure rock experimentation and musical innovation. I doubt there is another album, recorded recently, that captures such a feeling of raw, energetic, rock n’ roll exhilaration such as “Outside Of Time”!

Rick Jamm — Jam Sphere Magazine


” There’s no time to sit back and slowly dip your toes into the sound of this album . . .”


There’s no time to sit back and slowly dip your toes into the sound of this album – from the second you press play, you’re thrown full speed into the crash and chaos of distorted, riff heavy, melodically grunge-like rock music, and it’s a fantastic experience.

Killer Time is the perfect way to open a project such as this, the guitars and the drums and the leading vocal all sound intense, insane, and inescapably addictive. That hook is pretty sensational too, a real anthem of anthems, a great melody, a stunning rock voice, and a really unique and interesting concept behind the whole thing. The lyrics throughout this track are wonderfully unusual and reflectively poetic. They’re sometimes soaked in so much sound that it’s hard to pick them out first time around, but that only makes it all the more compelling – once you’ve shaken of the buzz of that punk-rock ambiance, you go back to dig deeper into the meaning, into the mind of the artist.

As you move on through Going Down Slow and Blowing My Mind, you fall further and further under the spell of this sound. Rick Shaffer’s eclectic musical past has led him to the point of writing and creating only the sharpest and deepest songs possible, so there’s no emptiness, no filler, only rock and roll – a little of that rock and blues (Going Down Slow particular), and a vast and varied array of thoughts and ideas. It’s great to hear the stories of experience, especially when it’s presented in such a skillful and well practiced manner.

The music has that greatness in quality whereby there is a lot here that sounds free; carefree, free to create, free flowing – yet there is also a lot of that effective structuring, playing, and song writing – suggesting again the sheer level of experience the artist has. The free spirit meets and collaborates with the wise owl, and it sounds brilliant. It sounds hugely modern, in fact – Blowing My Mind could well be an indie anthem for the youth of the summer.

Your Charm opens up with a stunning riff that will simply make you smile and make you move your body. It feels like a classic rock and roll hit at times, but you’ve never heard a voice quite like this, and you’re not familiar with this melody and these lyrics. It’s a huge song, it leaves a lasting impression after you’ve listened – definitely a great moment within the album.

Changing Anything is another one that launches it’s undeniably strong riff at you right from the start. The chord progression here and the notes used in the vocal melody have a noticeably uplifting sound to them, it creates an optimistic and hopeful vibe; it’s a track you can believe in, a track you can escape to, reflect on your own life, drift off into your mind a little, or just feel utterly happy for a while and enjoy the moment. The guitar solo work here is beautiful, so much character oozes out with every note and every bend.

Walls Of Heartache has a superbly funk-like vibe to it; that strikingly raw, rock and roll sound, that screams personality. It showcases a very thoughtful and inspired set of lyrics and melodies – the vocal choruses sound fantastic, really helping to bring the whole thing to the front of the stage; along with that classic Rick Shaffer guitar sound, which weaves it’s way around the wall of sound, with all the freedom and focus of an artist who has lived, and loves living.

One By One is the final point at which you’ll know for certain the sheer level of creativity and skill within the writing and the performances chosen for this project. Only the very best music has been selected and integrated here, and what’s more, the whole thing flows so naturally from one track to the next. This particular song has a dreamlike feeling to it, it has the effect of sealing the deal in a way – it’s easy to visualize a live show by now, and even to crave one. You want to be a part of the audience, enjoying this music being made in the moment, as the sun beats down on you and the crowd. It has that vintage festival feeling to it that hasn’t been heard in so long. And the great thing is, there is more than enough character and perspective to make all the writing and all the musicality so blatantly fresh; brand new, a new view of the world, a new and powerful voice.

Show Me is an interesting one, it’s a real moment of alternative sound in the project. It gives off a sort of darkness, a sadness, not so much in the lyrics – but in the chords chosen, and the emotion that comes through in that vocal. This is about as close to an acoustic track as the album gets, so you really feel up close and personal with the artist, which is a fantastic moment, and the music is beautiful – it just washes over you, allowing you to drift off and dream your own dreams as you listen. Really well written, performed and placed superbly within this collection of songs.

There’s a strangely cinematic sort of sound to Final Surprise, the album’s penultimate track. What I mean by this, is that it sounds like it should be the outro to some classic indie drama. It conjours up images in your mind as you listen, whilst at the same time reminding you slightly of those edgier days of music – provided by the likes of The Rolling Stones, and even Dylan; in his gravelly, thoroughly rocked up days. There’s a movie somewhere, perhaps in the making, waiting for so much of the music in this release.

Hellbound Trip brings things to a close with a beautifully soul kissing array of words, melodies, riffs, and overall end of the day, end of an era vibes. The voice sounds particularly bright in the mix here, almost like it’s a moment of intimacy from the artist, a real glimpse into the ideas and the emotion of the writer as he comes to the end of this particular trek. The track has an awesomely blues-like sound to it, that riff gets caught up in your mind, the guitar throughout sounds sensational, the thick and heavy beat just makes your heart pound and your body groove to the sound of the world in action. An almost peaceful and calming end to the album, yet still with so much of that swagger and style, that it’s likely to leave you aching to play the whole thing over again.

Find and follow the rock legend himself over on Twitter, and check out his Website to learn more about his immense musical journey so far. Grab the album over at CD Baby.

Download a FREE mp3 of “GOING DOWN SLOW” on SoundCloud