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L.A. Beat

JJ Shiplett has “something to believe” in after working on new CD with Johnny Reid

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Calgary based country/ soul singer JJ Shiplett just wants to get better at his craft.

JJ Shiplett returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo submitted
 He is riding high on his latest CD “Something to Believe In,” which he co-produced with Johnny Reid, who he  spent most of last year touring with.

“ I travelled all across the country and it was really special. I’m trying to avoid saying it gave me something to believe in,” chuckled Shiplett, who returns to Lethbridge, May 6 to play with Leeroy Stagger for the Geomatic Attic at the Chinook High school theatre.

“ I started the tour with an EP of four songs from the album. I did a lot of travelling back and forth to Nashville and Calgary. And I had a lot of long conversations with Johnny about the music,” Shiplett said.
“It was quite the experience. We wanted the  songs to be the best representative of me. Basically he helped trimmed the fat. I painted pretty broad portraits and he brought them more into focus,” Shiplett said.

“Now I just want to get out there and play the songs for people.”

He has had some pretty high profile gigs this year.
“I just played the CCMAs with Lindsey Ell. And I played South By Southwest In Austin. I’ve never seen that many people before. And there were like 2,500 bands playing. I also played  in the Juno Cup against former NHL Hockey players like Gary Roberts. After that we had the Juno Cup jam, which was hosted by Devin Cuddy. I got to see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time, because when I’m touring the west they’re touring the east.

 Shiplett is sometimes compared to Chris Stapleton, but the new CD  shows his voice shares similarities with Johnny Reid, which is completely coincidental.

“Johnny and I have the same raspy voice. I don’t know how he got his, but I got mine through years of mistreating my voice. There is only so much whiskey you can drink and how much you can smoke , though I have cut the smoking in half,” he observed
“ But he must have heard something in my voice that he could get behind, so I am grateful to him and his team for getting behind me,” he said.

“ I learned a lot just touring with Johnny. You learn what works on stage and what doesn’t.”


The new record has done very well, placing on the top of several music charts.
“It got a better reception than I ever expected,” he said.

“ I just want to write great  songs. I want to elevate from being good to being something really special,” said Shiplett, who is excited to play with Leeroy Stagger for the Geomatic Attic at the Chinook High school theatre.

“Our paths have crossed. I’ve met his bandmates and they are killer dudes, and if I do say so, my band mates (guitarist Daniel Huscroft, bassist Greg Peace and drummer Nathan Giebelhaus) are killer dudes too.They’re  all long term guys. I’ve been playing with Nathan for five or six years,  and six years with Greg too. And Daniel is the newest member of the band, but I’ve known him for 15 years. He’s a fantastic songwriter, so when I needed a guitar player, he was the first call, so I asked him and he said he’d do it,” he said.

“ Leeroy and I have a couple tricks up our sleeves. We’re doing five Alberta shows together in Lethbridge, Calgary, Olds  Red Deer and Edmonton,” he said.

 The new CD has met with a lot of success already.
“ We were playing a show in Toronto and we were playing ‘Am I Dear,’ and everybody knew the lyrics. And it was like the song just came out, how do you know the lyrics to it already,” he said.

 JJ Shiplett and Leeroy Stagger play a special show for the Geomatic Attic at the Chinook High School Theatre, May 6. Tickets are $32.50. The show begins at 8 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:43 )  
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