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Singled Out: Shadow & The Thrill's 'Misery


04-18-2019
Shadow and The Thrill

Blues rockers Shadow & The Thrill recently released their debut single "Misery" and to celebrate we asked Tony Cardenas-Montana (has played with Slash, Great White, and more) to tell us about the track. Here is the story:

Someone close to me had introduced me to a blues artist, R.L. Burnside, and I was instantly inspired. "Misery" began as an acoustic blues exploration, and the rhythm and groove of it was surprising to me, as it wrote itself, basically. I opened my mouth while playing and the words just came out, as a stream of consciousness kind of thing. The acoustic "dirge" was my take on a New Orleans "second line" or jazz funeral procession that takes place in the streets.

The word "misery" in this song has a few different meanings. It served as a name for a person, that I had to interface with, and this person was the personification of a feeling of dread in my life at the time. The word "misery" also serves as a metaphor for a psychological condition, and the chorus refrain sung by the girls, is that suicidal fantasy - shooting oneself, throwing oneself out a window to end psychological pain, as it were.
The acoustic version was actually written on an electric, which still had a very authentic blues vibe, and was recorded on acoustic guitars and resonator. My good friend, Al "Bax" Baca, said to try the same figure and rhythm as a heavy electric blues groove. The result felt like a very unique sounding stomping rock groove. Brentt Arcement took that to another level with a slinky, and powerful drum figure, and the rest fell into place.

Robin Barnes, a New Orleans local singer, lent her voice for the chorus refrains. The guitar solo is a one-take shot.

We had to borrow the resonator on the track from Shane Theroit from "Live at Daryl's House". I played the harmonica, and the vocal was recorded with an RCA 77 from the 1940's.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!


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