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Deep in south Texas there is an old Spanish term that has been around for ages called “Dale Shine.” Its literal translation means to “give it shine,” but in today’s slang style it simply means “give it gas” and/or “go for it.” Further up north, in Stephenville to be exact, hails a band so heavily mired in that credo that their stages are nearly overrun with fans pressed hard up against the edges, eyes wide, hanging on every word. In the Americanized version, they call themselves Dolly Shine, and their “hell bent for leather” performance attitude has reigned in music fans so fast over the last year that they have outgrown many a venue. Live music is king in this particular region of the US, and when Dolly Shine walks onto the stage, it is immediately clear to everyone in the room that they have come to play. 

Dolly Shine broke out in 2010. Their first full length album Room To Breathe (2013) sounds like a first-time broken heart, heavy with mellow sentimentality and self-reflection. The first single “Spinning My Wheels” hit the Top 40 on the Texas Music Chart, and crowd favorite “Should Have Known” charted in the high 20’s. In 2014 came their 5-song EP All In showcasing old wounds scabbed over with a pinch of resolve. The two singles “Her Name Was Trouble” and “Dangerous Love” also made their way onto the chart. Over the course of the last seven years, wayward members have come and gone, and the lineup finally crystallized with Zack McGinn on lead vocals, Johnny Goodson on drums, Jerrod Flusche on lead guitar, and Dillon Sampson on bass, each adding to the evolving sound. 

The relationship between artist and producer can be likened to a therapy session, the producer’s job being to show musicians parts of themselves they need to see, to bring out new dimensions of their talent. Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato were the natural choice for this job, both being longtime friends of the band and also seasoned musicians themselves formerly with Stephenville heavyweights, Six Market Blvd. The mutual respect from both sides of the recording glass made for a relaxed atmosphere where new sounds and styles were coaxed and developed into a different degree of maturity. Where the band’s previous releases were more of a showcase of songs, Walkabout is a collection of songs that can be visualized as a concept album, individual tales from a drifter’s diary…no “moral of the story,” just straightforward observation. The main character is on an archetypical journey not only across the US, but within his own mind. The album’s first single “Rattlesnake” sets the Americana landscape: desolate, dried up and as lonely as his broken soul. “Hitch Hiking” is the darker element to this odyssey, the murderous underbelly of living that you don’t hear about in good society while “Blackbird” is the chase that ensues and the flee from capture. Legends talked about at dinner tables go down jaggedly in “Snakeskin Boots” and the immortal battle of man vs. women is a loser’s game in “Twist The Knife” and “Come Out Swingin’.” Walkabout is an honest, uncensored telling of the human condition. Its voice is tinged with angst and injustice, and it is absolutely not sorry about it one bit. After all, the truth hurts, haven’t you heard?

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