Shane Chisholm is one crazy dude who really burns up the asphalt. Country music is in his blood and he doesn’t turn down too many engagements.
On Canada Day the country singer plays an afternoon concert at the Athabasca River Rats Festival and then he tears down to Morinville’s Rednex Bar and Grill for a late night gig.
On Friday he’s zooming to Yorkton, Sask. and on the weekend he’s appearing at Manitoba’s Dauphin Country Music Fest. “I live for the summer. It’s a great time to promote my act,” says Chisholm, who clocks about 100,000 kilometres a year.
The five-time Canadian Country Music Awards nominee just released his first CD Hitchhiking Buddha through Fontana North on April 20.
The Sault Ste. Marie-born Chisholm has lived in Alberta for 10 years. In that time the bass player and backup singer refined his chops with the likes of Gil Grand, Duane Steele, Aaron Pritchett and Beverly Mahood.
What sets this singer/songwriter/bassist apart is a curiosity and inventiveness in crafting all his instruments. Chisholm’s latest addition is called “Tank,” an upright bass rebuilt from the gas tank of a Chevy-Astro mini van. It has garnered a lot of attention. “I started making my own instruments ‘cause early in the game there wasn’t much money to go around, so the more you keep in-house, the better it is.”
Tank was conceived after Chisholm spotted an abandoned gas tank sitting at a Calgary Pick-a-Part. “It looked the same size as a bass body.”
The Claresholm resident bought it, cut it open and cleaned it with bleach. Chisholm then hired a welder to weld the body back together and constructed a wooden neck. Because the body was too resonant, he inserted foam chunks in certain parts to control the sound and unveiled the metal-gray, slightly beat-up prodigy at last year’s Calgary Stampede.
The gas tank bass is now the star at most gigs where Chisholm and his three-piece band — Mike Bourque (guitar), Al Reheaume (drums) and Paul Chapman (guitar) — mix up old-fashioned country and western with a touch of rockabilly.
Hitchhiking Buddha was inspired by a real life incident that happened to Chisholm. “I was driving down a highway and saw this guy walking. He looked like he’d walked 100 miles. I just blew right by him. I just wanted to get home.”
But the image remained and soon he was writing songs that would become part of his 12-track release. “I actually made a five-foot two-inch Buddha cut-out that travels with us.”
All the CD’s road songs are Chisholm originals with the exception of What’s Love, a co-write with Willie Mack. Two covers include Hank Williams classic Kawliga and the Poison pop-rock classic Every Rose Has Its Thorn. To date, he’s released four singles: Hitchhiking Buddha, Tundra and Tacoma, Songs About Love and After You’re Gone.
Thursday, July 1 at 9 p.m.
Rednex Bar and Grill
10413 – 100 Street
Tickets: $10 advance. Call 780-939-6955