Shaun Kirk

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Shaun Kirk


What takes many artists years to accomplish has been completed comparatively in little time by boogie blues artist Shaun Kirk. Having failed school for his passion of music through late ending open mic nights that Shaun frequented, it’s no surprise this persistent and determined musician is making big moves.

His innovative ability for playing six percussive sounds all with his feet is indeed impressive, however he admits it’s practical too. “I would eventually want a band,” he says. “But I figured if I can play it all myself I won’t be restricted by the things a band demands.”

Playing a stomp box, tambourine, high hat, cymbal, kick and snare drum solo along with the guitar and harmonica is not only resourceful but has contributed to what Shaun defines as his appropriation of the blues genre. The new album’s production delivers not only emotive guitar playing and animated blues harmonica but enough thick drum and percussive grooves to inspire even the most docile listener to boogie.

Shaun’s early musical beginnings were rooted in folk music. “I couldn’t stand the blues,” he confesses. “I thought it was all boring and long solos, but then I discovered how broad of a genre blues really is. Now I am entranced with it.”

It’s certainly not the most common scene within Melbourne, but Australian blues boasts some legends, Lloyd Spiegel being the leader of the pack. Shaun describes meeting Spiegel as fate.

“I met him a few years ago,” he says. “I was this little amateur dude taking a crappy demo CD to a bunch of crappy bars. I went to the Rainbow Hotel in Fitzroy and saw a lady behind the bar. I walked up to her and asked, ‘Can I give you my demo CD?’ Before she could even take it off me, this big fellow said, ‘Give me one.’ I had no idea who he was, but then he explained. He didn’t know me from a bar of soap, but he just wanted to help.”

A friendship grew between the two musicians and Spiegel was able to help Shaun out in some really cool ways. Shaun admits Lloyd was one of his biggest influences. “That’s another little rewarding thing,” he adds. “Having someone you really admire believe in what you do. He was one of the first dudes who saw my vision and has been helping me towards it ever since.”

Shaun admits if he could work with any blues artists his band would include Lloyd Spiegel as the lead guitarist, Howlin’ Wolf as the singer, Tony Joe White playing rhythmic guitar riffs, Willie Dickson on the bass and Ray Charles would be playing the piano. Why? “Because they’re fucking cool,” he laughs.

Thank You For Giving Me The Blues is showing musical growth on Shaun’s part. He admits there is more knowledge and bigger sounds. “I like to think I can work a crowd well,” he says. “Performing live, to people who don’t know me, I am learning how to get the energy flowing and thankfully lots of people have been coming up to me after the show telling me how much they loved it.”

“Inspiration. Joy. Connection,” is what he wants his audience to feel. “At many of my shows a lot of people are saying what I’m doing is uplifting, which is very rewarding to hear.”

And to top it off? This budding talent has his head screwed on right with his passion focused on the art as opposed to the riches. When asked if celebrity life appeals to him, Shaun keeps it simple: No. “I just want to make a living from music and enjoy it. I did a festival in WA at a primary school spot. It was a real eye opener. These little kids thought I was some massive celebrity and they absolutely mobbed me. To the point where I almost couldn’t move. I thought to myself, ‘If this is a small scale of what’d it be like if I were famous – I don’t want it.’ Yep, it was a real eye-opener.”

For now, Shaun wishes to cast his focus on his upcoming album launch in Melbourne where he will continue to perform, learn, and move with the flow. He parallels his attitude to music to that of Heath Ledger and acting. “I read the reason he was so successful was ’cause he was never happy with himself. I feel the same way. If I achieve something, I’ll be on my high horse for a few days. But then I ask, ‘What’s next?’ I like to think that. Not rushing and taking things as they come and enjoying it.”