By John Benson
If the past decade has taught us anything about Shinedown, it’s perhaps you never know what to expect from this rock band that against all odds continues to grow.
The latest curveball of sorts from the Florida act is called “10 Songs in 10 Days.” At some point later this year, the group will be releasing online acoustic covers by Otis Redding (“Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”), Bon Jovi (“Wanted Dead or Alive”), The Clash (“London Calling”), Phil Collins (“In The Air Tonight”), Soul Asylum (“Runaway Train”), Pearl Jam (“Black”), Kenny Wayne Sheppard (“Blue On Black”), Adele (“Someone Like You”) and Metallica (“Nothing Else Matters.)
While bassist-pianist Eric Bass won’t confirm the idea the band may tour the project, he also admits it’s highly likely an unplugged tour — like the one Shinedown did in 2010 — could be in the cards.
“It’s something at the end of a record cycle, when we decide we’re done touring on our latest album ‘Amaryllis,’ and we’re not stopping anytime soon,” said Bass, calling from Springfield, Mass. “It’s just fun after doing all of these pyro-driven loud rock shows. It gives us a chance to showcase a different side of the band. Almost in a way you get to be a little bit more of a musician than with a full rock show, where you feel more like you’re an acrobat.”
Today, Shinedown is in full rock show mode with its latest tour coming through Youngstown for a Sunday performance at Covelli Centre. It’s been quite a run for the band that a decade ago earned its first platinum album with debut effort, “Leave a Whisper.” However, it was the quartet’s third album, 2008’s platinum-selling “The Sound of Madness,” that proved to be their mainstream breakthrough.
Not only did the album debut at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, but it featured six No. 1 singles with “Devour,” “Sound of Madness,” “The Crow and The Butterfly,” “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom,” “If You Only Knew” and “Second Chance.”
Just as Shinedown is doing the unexpected with the acoustic “10 Songs in 10 Days” release, the act took quite a left-turn with its 2012 effort “Amaryllis.” Specifically, the album features six songs with a 30-piece orchestra. Bass said highlights include the horn-driven “I’m Not All Right” and the bluesy piano tune “I’ll Follow You.” Not only did he write the latter track but it’s currently the band’s latest single.
“As a musician, you never want to get bored with yourself,” Bass said. “I never want to write a song that sounds like this song we already did or we’ve already talked about this subject. We just try to check ourselves. We have something we call the word police when we’re writing lyrics. We can’t use the same word twice if it’s significant, even on other records. You’ll never hear the word bully on another Shinedown song ever. That’s how we work. It keeps things fresh for us.”
So whether it’s going unplugged or recording with an orchestra, the members of Shinedown are convinced keeping things fresh is the secret. Bass said a perfect analogy for the quartet is actually the name of its latest album.
“An amaryllis is a flower that grows where it shouldn’t grow and thrives where it shouldn’t thrive and sort of refuses to die,” Bass said. “I’m not saying when we were writing the song it was an analogy of the band but it kind of ended up being that. We just try to continue to grow sometimes against all odds.”