Rebecca Cullen Reviews Rick Shaffer’s “Stolen Moments”



After experiencing the strength of Rick Shaffer’s previous album Outside Of Time the prospect of a new project to indulge in was an exciting one. In actual fact, if at all possible, Stolen Moments is even more of an explosion of energy, passion and grit than the former, and it’s addictively entertaining.

All I Want is the opener, and what a way to begin. Full throttle rock and roll, authentic grit and gravel in the voice and the distortion. Notably different to anything else I’ve heard from the songwriter, All I Want has something deeply real about it – the lyrics seem consumed by the chaos and beauty of being human, being lost within a lust for making music. It’s not dissimilar to the incomparably honest sound of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The sound of Rick’s voice is superb, stylish and powerful, emotional, entirely engaged and seemingly married to this music and this artistry.

Downtown Suzy explodes in an equally attention grabbing manner. The guitars are out of this world, and the melodies and riffs featured bring about a touch of country rock, a hint of Primal Scream, a varied sense of songwriting and a definite moment of certainty and character. One In Five swings the indie anthem bat and offers up a memorable guitar riff and a song with plenty of space surrounding the lyrics, so you get a real sense of storytelling, as well as a further helping of almighty rock and roll.

Modern Lie is a huge song; from the moment it begins there’s something striking and quite special about it. The chord progression, the slightly softer sound, the additional vocal parts, the melody, the build up to the hook – this one is a stunning bit of songwriting. You can take home a copy of this song in an instant, for free; just click the link below…

Another beautifully honest and compelling song is Other One. This track leaves its mark for a number of reasons, not least of all that inherent depth and passion that comes through in the reflective storytelling, and the emotional vocal performance; gentler here for the most part. There’s a real touch of humanness to the writing and Rick Shaffer undoubtedly has a way with poetic expression, as well as a unique and interesting perspective on life. A fantastic song.

Higher is an infectiously enjoyable track, the rhythm and vibrancy of the piece just pours out through the speakers and incites a craving to witness the whole thing being performed live. The full band, real time experience is likely to be insanely good. There’s a sense of urgency to the song and it fills you with enthusiasm and a certain lust for life, in the way that only truly expressive, authentic music can. Rick Shaffer’s passion is incomparable, it drives these songs with intense purity and realness, and fortunately, his unquestionable level of experience means that every track is skilfully and effectively crafted.

There’s another moment of somewhat lighter rock and roll with Time Stays. The guitar riff running throughout creates a further touch of country rock and blues, and as the song progresses, the melody varies a little, and the good vibes seem to multiply. Call My Name follows on from this brilliantly. Stolen Moments is really a project that just gets better and better as it moves along. The sound becomes familiar, the energy settles in for the long run, and the ideas presented take on a new level of personality and intrigue.

Chopping Wood is a song in a world of its own. The opening instrumentation has the ultimate level of grit and boldness that just oozes creative freedom and storms into your consciousness with a manic sort of power. Then you get the final track of the collection, the smooth and seductive hit that is Danger Awaits. There’s a sense of space again here, the beat is thick and heavy yet mellow in pace, the reverb-soaked solo guitar moments flicker in and out of the mix. The bass line is spectacular – simple but solid in its attitude and relevance to the mood. And of course, right there on top of everything, Rick Shaffer’s vocal strength and immediacy offers up the concept and the story line as one last reminder of his unwavering presence, as one last stolen moment even. The artist is unstoppable, and the quality of the music is at an all time high.

• Rebecca Cullen (Musician and writer with an MA in Songwriting.)

                             Watch the “Modern Lie” video YouTube

Tarock Music Releases New Rick Shaffer Video • SO TIRED

JitterbugShake_FrontWhen Rick Shaffer wanted a fast come-at-you video for “So Tired” he immediately enlisted the expertise of British artist/director, Peter McAdam, who previously took the reins on two of Shaffer’s solo videos, and two for his band, The Reds®.

The “So Tired” visuals encapsulate the feeling of being overloaded by a modern world that continually bombards us with text, sound and images.  McAdam, used his extraordinary software creation called, iCoda — a sound interactive image blender — to express the chaos of the inner mind.  McAdam’s unique application works by loading in numerous images that are then activated by amplitude and duration of the music to create a random animated mash-up.

For the “So Tired” video McAdam resurrected his alternate being, Johnny Satan, to choreograph and dance to the music.  Satan becomes a symbol for going with the flow by dancing and embracing chaos, and/or allowing anger to release our inner demon and the secret inside scream heard only by the screamer.


∎Director: Peter McAdam,   ∎Choreographer/Dancer: Johnny Satan  ∎Still Photographs of Rick Shaffer: Theresa Marchione,  ∎Thanks To: Phil Holden – Tyne Media, Baltic 39, and Dan Parker  ∎So Tired Video © 2015 Tarock Music

∎”So Tired” is track 4 on Rick Shaffer’s album, Jitterbug Shake.  Download a free mp3 —

∎Jitterbug Shake buy options —

∎Jitterbug Shake liner notes —

∎ARTIST: Rick Shaffer — ALBUM: Jitterbug Shake — VIDEO: “So Tired” on YouTube —


JitterbugShake_FrontJeremy Gladstone at Sleeping Bag Studios (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) interviews Rick Shaffer about his new album, his writing and recording process, his influences, and much more.

Read the interview HERE

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloud




Rick Shaffer’s Epic Career Continues With More Raw Garage Blues Music

Staying in  the music game for a long time is a tremendous feat.  There are ups and downs that could defeat any person without a strong resolve to succeed.  Even when things go great there is always another corner to turn that could end it all.  This is the reason we have such high regard to Rick Shaffer.

The singer and guitarist began his musical journey in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with the Philadelphia band The Reds®.  After a stint with A&M Records that saw some great success, including live performances with such luminaries as The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, and The Ramones, the band went independent to release a few more records.  It was a wild ride.  In 2010 Shaffer started a solo career with his debut record Necessary Illusion focusing on his garage and blues guitar style.  His early roots remained in the sound and caught the attention of new fans.

June 2015 Shaffer release his sixth solo venture Jitterbug Shake.  The ten track album sticks with the garage blues sound and also touches on his early R&B/rock n roll influences.  The opener “Got To Know” sets the vibe right away with an indie underground recording style that seems to max out each instrumental track.  “Going Strong” shows off a darker side that grinds along through guttural vocals accompanied with peppy harmonies.  The guitars push ahead with some impressive solo work thrown in.  The blues sound takes the lead on “Confidence Man” bringing back the sounds of influences like Bo Diddley and Slim Harpo.  This song would fit in well in any of the last six decades.  The record closes with “Last Of Me” that seems to blend all of these styles into one big bowl of awesomeness.  The grit of the song is felt down to the bone and I don’t think anyone could resist having their head bopping along to the mass of beautiful beats intertwined within.

  • Indie Band Guru

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloud

Photograph: “The Harmonica” ©2015 Theresa Marchione

“Some artists seem to operate as if they have some kind of dynamo inside them — Rick Shaffer is no exception . . .”

Some artists seem to operate as if they have some kind of dynamo inside them. Rick Shaffer —the guitarist from The Reds® who were active way back when — is no exception, with his energetic music that transcends any particular time.

On the one hand, it could be easily assumed that Jitterbug Shake is a classic album from the past, while on the other hand there is much about it that suggests it is in fact a modern record with one eye over its shoulder to the past. In a way, that is exactly what is going on, as Shaffer certainly has experience that stretches back to a time when music was breaking new ground, and yet here something about it still seems fresh and exciting.

‘Got To Know’ opens the album with real gusto, the roomy echo on the guitar creating a really classic vibe, while Shaffer’s snarling vocal adds bite to the track. ‘Sure Thing’ sways and swaggers like a drunken uncle at a wedding, all clattering bass notes and slurred words, and ‘Going Strong’ really draws on a classic punk sound with its ringing guitars and cheeky tambourine. In the main, Jitterbug Shake is an album that shows little sign of relenting or stepping away from its rambunctious sound – ‘So Tired’ thunders and rolls along with guitars that twang with a gloriously fifties feel, much like ‘Just A Little’ does, although on that particular track there is more of a sing-song feel, as though Shaffer has channeled memories of nursery rhymes into his writing. As such, the album manages to become a kind of audio time machine. At times, it’s as if we’ve been transported to Lou’s Diner from Back to the Future, where we can join in with the other hip teenagers as they tuck in to their milkshakes and put songs on the jukebox. ‘It’s True’ encapsulates this aesthetic perfectly, with vocals that veer towards a more aggressive Elvis Presley and guitars that are drenched in a vintage spring reverb, while ‘Confidence Man’ goes for more of a slower tempo as is slouches along with hints of Americana.JitterbugShake_Front

Throughout Jitterbug Shake, Rick Shaffer is certainly consistent, it’s an album that doesn’t try to reinvent anything, nor does it make the listener have to try too hard by coping with any strange or alternative methods – this is pure rock music perfectly designed for anyone who wants to have an experience where they are given a vintage feel, with some nostalgia thrown in at the same time. Shaffer’s wealth of experience as a rocker really shows, and these songs manage to let the listener know that they are in good hands, that the music has been carefully crafted, and that this has been made by someone who has been through several decades of music taking various twists and turns throughout the development of the genre. As a result, the sheer consistency might mean that for some, it’s just too much of the same thing throughout the album. But on closer inspection, each track manages to have its own distinct tone and feel, all the while staying true to a very specific aesthetic that runs all the way through like words through a stick of rock. And rock would certainly be the operative word here.

  • Chris Marsh • July 25, 2015

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloud




The Faulkner Review: “So Tired is so Stonesy they’ll be disappointed not to have written it themselves . . .”


Rick Shaffer is a singer and songwriter, as well as the founding member of the Philadelphia based band The Reds®. Their eponymous debut album led to live appearances with groups like The Police, Blondie, The Ramones and Public Image, amongst others. On a different label they released several critically acclaimed albums, which led to working with director Michael Mann, who incorporated their songs into the show Miami Vice. This led to writing for films and the song Terror In My Heart featured in Nightmare on Elm Street 2.

Along with session work, playing guitar for artists like Marianne Faithfull and Marc Almond, Rick started releasing solo albums, with Jitterbug Shake being his sixth. It contains ten tracks all written by Shaffer and has been produced to recreate the raw, overdriven sound of the garage rock groups of the Sixties like The Pretty Things and early Rolling Stones. These bands were inspired by the 50’s rockers like Chuck Berry, Slim Harpo and Link Wray, and those influences are manifest throughout this album.

Got to Know starts the album and makes immediate impact, with Shaffer’s swaggering Jagger-esque vocals delivered over the biting guitar twang of the great Chuck Berry and Link Wray records. The following Sure Thing is superb, a swampy blues number in 2/4, driven along by a riff that brought to mind Personal Jesus, one of Depeche Mode‘s rockier moments. Going Strong is another highlight, with a fantastic nah-nah chant on the addictive chorus and some wonderful lead guitar.

So Tired is so Stonesy that they’ll be disappointed not to have written it themselves, carried along by a jangling guitar riff that brought to mind their early classic The Last Time. Sixth track Just A Little is another fine blues rock track, while the fuzzy distortion of It’s True features a wild lead vocal drenched in slapback delay, a hallmark of 50’s rock n roll production.

Confidence Man and Break Of Day carry on the Stones vibe, while throwing harmonica and slide guitar into the musical mix. Can’t Go Back is a great homage to blues artist Jessie Mae Hemphill, while closing track Last Of Me is a perfect finale, with a mean guitar riff. It appropriately parts with the words ‘C’mon baby, do the Jitterbug Shake….’

Overall, this is a fantastic album that takes all the best elements of garage rock and combines them to create an arresting and potent sound. It manages to sidestep what could have become mere pastiche and revitalizes a sub genre of rock for the modern age, in a similar way to bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. Fans of those groups will find much to enjoy here.

Alex Faulkner ∎ The Faulkner Review

Verdict: 8.7 out of 10

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloudJitterbug_BuyHERE





Photograph: “Incognito” ©2015 Theresa Marchione

Rick Shaffer. . .”one of the last true outlaws of rock”



Considering I was bracing myself for something more akin to The Brian Setzer Orchestra, I’ve been breathing a steady sigh of relief listening to the music of Rick Shaffer’s latest album Jitterbug Shake, thankful that I’ve not been taken into the sounds of swing or anything ‘big-band.’ Something about that word ‘jitterbug’ I suppose…for me it conjures up a different sound altogether from the one I hear from Rick; this guy’s clearly based in rock through and through. Much more close to something along the lines of The Rolling Stones, Joe Jackson or dare I even say The Reverend Horton Heat…there’s a clear love for pure rock’n’roll here and a real commitment to the style & sound of the genre’s past. The result becomes a completely textured experience in recording and Jitterbug Shake is an impressive/unique album in today’s modern world; I have the feeling I could play this for a hundred people in a row and not one of them would be able to tell me this album didn’t come straight from the shelf of the 1960’s & 70’s.

JitterbugShake_FrontTruthfully…opening track “Got To Know” was what drew me to the majestic sounds and comparison to the psychobilly-rock of The Reverend Horton Heat. Like the twisted psychedelic-surf music they made so well, Rick Shaffer starts out Jitterbug in a similar style with far away guitars and a jangly, loose beat. His vocals have incredible character and a charismatic charm that make it endearing like Tom Waits finding his way in a rock song. The guitars are immaculate, as is the recording…with the everything-spiked-up to a classic overdriven sound on Jitterbug Shake, I might be a child of the eighties but I feel like I’m tripping out right into the sixties here.

That being said, I think the opening tune “Got To Know” also might slightly throw you as to what to typically expect from Shaffer in the vocal department. Throughout “Sure Thing” and the songs to follow he’ll tap into a much more purified strain of rock and damn near channel the young soul of Mick Jagger. Garage-blues-rock are words I see describing Rick’s sound…moments like “Sure Thing” go a long way to support that, whereas tracks like “Going Strong” leave behind the blues aspect completely, bring out the tambourines and large-anthem choruses to light up the rock-side of his music fully. I can’t quite put my finger on what it IS that I feel towards the album’s completely fresh sound & free-wheeling atmosphere when I know the sound itself is based so far back in our timeline. I’m sure Rick himself would tell you he’s far from re-inventing the wheel here…but I could make one hell of an argument that he’s patched one hell of a tire to get a classic vehicle rolling smoothly back on the road.

If anything, I honestly think there are times that come so close to old-school Stones music that he’s truly going to run the risk of people under thirty years old just ASSUMING they’re listening to The Rolling Stones! Listen to the roll through “So Tired” – if it wasn’t for Shaffer’s signature style of guitar-work, there would almost be no way to tell; the vocals, energy, performance…it’s all a real nod towards the classic Mick at his frantic-rock best. At the end of the day…those listening with some rock-history behind them will be able to discern the differences between what Shaffer’s doing, but that younger crowd is at the risk of not being able to make that distinction. “Just A Little” would be another perfect example…but man does Rick ever NAIL this sound through and through; with some added harmonica blending into this straight-ahead rock-rhythm, the build becomes a classic one – this is REAL rock.

“It’s True” has some of my favorite guitars on this record. Happily sliding around like a derby-car in the mud, Rick shreds through this song into a distorted glory all the way through to the finish. If anything…this might actually be the closest to my original expectation of what I might have been in for in listening to Jitterbug Shake, but still far enough away for me to be completely happy with what I’m hearing here. Just try and tell me that a track like “Confidence Man” doesn’t hold your interest! When you listen to it…and break it all down it becomes one of the strangest entities in straight-ahead combinations you’re likely to hear this year. It’s like the rolling bass of a song like “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors, then you’ve got this harmonica with a melody line that sounds like someone singing The Beach Boys “Help Me Rhonda, Help, Help Me Rhonda” – it’s in a different key yeah…but I can’t shake why that’s popped into my head and now it lives there permanently in my brain. Then you take all that, combine it with a Mick Jagger sound and a Bob Dylan-esque song-structure and voila – here you are with “Confidence Man.” What I love aside from the combination, assembly and structure of this track…is that the guitars continually stand out on this record…Shaffer always takes a moment to really let it loose and take a solo moment or three, brilliantly flashing some incredible timing, precision, tone and skill each time.

While I didn’t feel too strongly one way or the other for “Break Of Day” I suppose I felt like this was one track that might have benefitted from a little more low-end to thicken up the recording and bust out of the overdriven tin of the overall sound…but in the interests of cohesion I understand the choice he’s made. It’s very interesting to my ears to hear an album with as much evenness in the amount of intensity of the sound; there are still plenty of dynamics, but the result of the method of recording it all way up like that also leaves little room for anywhere for the music itself to go in terms of versatility in the overall mix. A slight change may have worked here and driven Jitterbug Shake to a larger, expanded or more amped-up sound to the album’s ending…but perhaps not; at this point we know what to expect from Rick and he plays it out like a pro time after time, song after song. Nothing wrong with that and if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it, right? He understands his sound with the intense focus of a studious-pupil of the school of music and knows exactly where his strengths are within his talents; Rick makes the most out of his music by translating his pure desire to ROCK right into his amplifiers.

“Can’t Go Back” finds a real groove and becomes a hypnotic-rock song that’s laidback with a gentle stomping beat that drives the music. Rhythm and performance are all there once again, bending & sliding guitars, solid steady drums and some excellent moments from the harmonica adding to the mix. It’s songs like “Can’t Go Back” in which you can really hear how much an artist like Rick Shaffer wears his style and owns it with confidence. Just because the amplifiers get turned off at the end of the day does not mean that the pure rock’n’roll soul of this man goes to sleep – I’d be willing to bet you could find this guy fully rocking even in a grocery-store or a line-up at the bank.

Point being – you don’t end up this authentic overnight. Rick Shaffer’s Jitterbug Shake is his sixth solo release and it strongly indicates the hand of a seasoned veteran…a person that is out there representing rock’n’roll twenty-four hours a day. “Last Of Me” ends off the album with one final blast of excellence as he blasts through hook-laden riffs in the guitars and vocals. With kind of that wild-desperado feel to “Last Of Me,” you can’t help but feel like you’re listening to one of the last true outlaws of rock…his solos shred and the entire soul of this track is deep, darker than more of the tunes on Jitterbug Shake and a completely satisfying ending to a wicked experience in authentic & energetic throwback rock. Very cool stuff on this album from Rick Shaffer and definitely an artist with a massive amount of talent.

  • Jeremy Gladstone — Sleeping Bag Studios

You can read the Jitterbug Shake liner-notes & download a FREE mp3 of “So Tired” at this link ►






Photograph: “Saturn63” ©2015 Theresa Marchione