The affordable home studio has got to be the greatest boon to an independent singer/songwriter since the barre chord. What could be better than to write a pile of songs, then invite over a bunch of friends—acquired over 15-plus years of group and solo work—to lend their musical talents to the recording of them? John Shipe of Eugene, Ore., successfully employed that very process for his latest homemade offering, Yellow House.
The record saunters through rock, pop and storytelling. When not part of various bands, Shipe is primarily a solo singer/acoustic guitarist. For Yellow House, though, he throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. In addition to no less than 6 instruments he plays himself, his friends provide vocals, drums, bass, trumpet, glockenspiel and various other noisemakers. While one may expect that to muddy the listen, it has the opposite effect: The tracks become more engaging, interesting and urgent. Despite some stylistic meandering, the 16-song collection holds together well, primarily on the strength of Shipe's songwriting.
Yellow House is a solid example of what heartfelt, DIY indie rock can be. Good songs competently recorded—it's more than you get from most majors these days.
John Shipe plays Lake Missoula Cellars Friday, July 24, at 7:30 PM with The Workers. $5.