You want some country twang with a good dose of cold hard rock? JJ Shiplett is your man. What a performance. As the headliner for Serenity’s summer concert series finale, he was the perfect choice to close out the months of joy, sweat and tears that pour into making this magical place a reality.
JJ is well known by the Serenity crowd. This was his second visit to the ranch which he cites as one of his favourite places to perform, which was not lost on the audience as he relayed the day’s exploits that included driving 12 hours to get there for the evening’s performance, and passing up a pretty high profile gig in Calgary. So it was fitting that JJ was met with the largest crowd at Serenity to date.
With his bandmates The Red River Rebellion at his side, they rocked the stage and brought the roof down hard. The energy was electrifying, with the crowd hooting and hollering following every tune. There is no doubt people would have stayed all night if they’d kept playing.
JJ has a stage presence that really lets you in. He is approachable in the way that your big brother’s friends were – they would talk and joke around with you with ease, but you were a little shy to say anything back. It’s the perfect combination for a performer; giving people open access but remaining just unattainable enough to keep it interesting. This is the same for JJ’s songwriting style.
He sings about topics and themes we all know and understand – heart ache, dissapointment, love, starting over, but his presentation makes us feel we are hearing it for the first time. My favourites include Darling Let’s Go Out Tonight, a roughed up country boy’s pick up line; Nothing To This Life, a beauty of a ballad; and my top choice on rotation, Something To Believe In, a real soul churner which he closed with at Serenity in a performance that was nothing short of spectacular.
Don’t be surprised if JJ’s songs are being played by top country radio in the years ahead, he’s got the voice, lyrics, and performance to keep him booked steady on the touring circuit.
JJ Shiplett and The Red River Rebellion performed at Serenity Performing Arts Centre on September 7, 2013.
His debut album “Drifter” is available on iTunes.
VIsit his website http://www.jjshiplettmusic.com for upcoming show dates.
Or keep up to date through JJ’s facebook page: