Songwriter Billy Shaddox shares a bond with Silver Star Café
October 9, 2015
Singer and songwriter Billy Shaddox is no stranger to Park City. For the past four years he’s made a series of appearances at the Silver Star Café, a place that holds special meaning for him.
"I lived in Salt Lake City and pretty much hung up my performing and wasn’t doing a lot with music," Shaddox said during an interview with The Park Record. "I had grown up in San Diego, but moved to Utah and, during that move, I separated myself from my musician friends and dived into fatherhood and an engineering career."
During the New Year in 2011, Shaddox was in Park City with his family and dined at the Silver Star.
"I saw a guitar in the corner and started talking with the café’s owner Jeff and Lisa [Ward] about music," he said. "They encouraged me to bring some of my music and play there. So, I put a show together for them and it was the first show I played in quite a long time, and that got me going again with music. Meeting Jeff and Lisa got me on fire for my music again. I love playing there."
Shaddox, who performs his own blend of country, folk and rock, will continue his relationship with the Silver Star Café with a performance on Friday, Oct. 16. The music will start at 7:30 p.m. The concert is part of the café’s Park City Limits series and is free with a dinner reservation.
This time around, Shaddox will play some songs off his new album, "I Melt, I Howl," which was released this past summer.
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The album is the singer’s most personal project to date.
"I started making the record 10 days after quitting a long-term career as a civil engineer," Shaddox said. "I was in a potent crossroads in life and wanted to record some personal stuff that captured this pivotal point in my life. I wanted to share this side of me with the world, rather than the other side of me, whose work was not going to inspire people and touch people the way I think I have the potential to do with my music."
Shaddox said his wife, Yasmin, is his biggest supporter.
"We’ve known each other for a very long time," he said. "We were high-school sweethearts and we’ve seen each other through the ups and downs in life.
"She held me when I was low and not at my best and as happy as I could be," Shaddox said. "She told me that if I wanted something, that I needed to go get it because the world wasn’t going to give it me."
So, he did and even recruited Sam Kassirer, who is known for his work with Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter and Allie Moss, to produce the album.
"Sam is an amazing guy," Shaddox said. ‘I’m a fan of all of those artists he’s made records with and love the sound he brings to the table."
The singer reached out to the producer via email some time ago.
"It was one of those situations where I wanted to work with him, but he didn’t know who I was," Shaddox said with a laugh. "One day, I thought ‘What do I have to lose?’ and wrote him an email and sent him a link to some of my music."
To Shaddox’s surprise, Kassirer replied and sent his phone number.
"I called and we talked and when it came time for me to make a record, I called him again and he said, ‘Let’s make it happen,’" Shaddox said. "That blew me away.
"Sam has an incredible skill set for thinking outside the box and capturing performance moments and giving them great sonic textures," he said. "I’ve done many self-recordings and recorded with others. While I love writing songs and performing, recording music really isn’t my strength. So, it was fun to make an album with a person who has that sense."
The recording sessions took place at Kassirer’s Great North Sound Society near Portland, Maine.
"He has an old 1700s farmhouse way out in the rural area, so to an extent, you’re off the grid," Shaddox said. "There’s no Internet connection and cell-phone signal, so you can dive into the project.
"We worked whatever hours you need to make it happen," he said. "If we were inspired, we would go and track something. If we were hungry, we’d go to the kitchen and eat, and if we wanted to sit around and talk or listen to records, we did that. This was a great place to make a record come alive."
To pay for the recording, Shaddox embarked on a crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter.com.
"That was one of the greater challenges that I have ever taken on," he said, laughing. "You’re really putting on a huge ask to the community, friends and fans. You really lay it on the line that you need help and support.
"It was a humbling experience and I had to get comfortable with asking people for money and reminding people every day to donate," he said. "That’s really not my area, and I had to step outside of my comfort zone."
Shaddox’s goal was $15,000 and he ended up raising more than $17,000.
"I felt so much love and support and affirmation for the record," he said. "It was cool because people that I didn’t know took up the flag of support by pledging and telling their friends to pledge."
Singer and songwriter Billy Shaddox will perform at The Silver Star Café, 1825 Three Kings Dr., on Friday, Oct. 16, as part of the Park City Limits concerts. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free with a dinner reservation. Shaddox will also perform at the Garage in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 17. For more information, visit http://www.thesiverstarcafe.com and http://www.billyshaddox.com.