Band of the Week: The Shootouts

Band of the Week: The Shootouts
Photo by Aimee Lambes

MEET THE BAND: Ryan Humbert (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Brian Poston (electric, acoustic guitar), Ryan McDermott (bass), Dylan Gomez (drums, percussion), and Emily Bates (harmony vocals)

MORE THAN A SIDE PROJECT: Based out of Akron, the Shootouts formed when founding members Humbert and Poston bonded over a mutual love of heartfelt, authentic country music. While the two were busy performing Humbert's original pop-rock songs, they often discussed the idea of starting a new band. "We're both big advocates of the traditional side of country music," says Humbert. "We wanted to play something we really loved — not that we weren't having fun with the Ryan Humbert Band or other projects. If someone then had told me that this would be what I would pursue as my main musical outlet, I'm not sure I would have believed them." The group played its first show in October of 2016 and has actively gigged since then. It just released its debut album, Quick Draw.

CLASSIC COUNTRY: The band takes inspiration from old-school acts like Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. It recorded its debut album last year at the Bunker Studios in Brooklyn with producers Jim Campilongo (the Little Willies, Cake) and Luca Benedetti. Campilongo and Benedetti were the production team behind Zephaniah Ohora's debut album, This Highway. "That record is a beautiful slice of classic country," says Humbert. "It sounds like Merle [Haggard] in the '70s. We thought that if they knew what to do with Ohora, they would know what to do with us. I reached out to them, and they liked what they heard. We did most of the pre-production long distance. We'd send them demos and they worked on them. They would make suggestions in general and it was an interesting way of working and we did one full day of pre-production before recording with them." They cut the entire album in about six days.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Highlights from Quick Draw include "Must Be Love," a tune written by Stacey Earle, and "If We Quit Now," a duet written by local singer-songwriter Marc Lee Shannon. Veteran pianist Jon Cowherd (Rosanne Cash, Iggy Pop, Joni Mitchell) backs the band on the closing number, "Losing Faith in Being Faithful," a track co-written by Humbert and Shootouts sideman Al Moss. "If I Could" features twangy guitars, and Humbert practically has to rap to keep up with the frenetic tempo. "I've said this before but, with a band like ours, we weren't going to make a record that takes six months to make," says Humbert. "If you listen to the music we idolize — traditional country and honk-tonk and Western swing — those bands weren't making records that took six months or a year to make. They would set up and those songs would get recorded, and it was really honest. We tried to adhere to that as much as possible."

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: shootoutsmusic.com

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Shootouts perform with Brent Kirby at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at the Music Box Supper Club.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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