Folk Artist Justin Shapiro with “Campfire Party”

A native of Washington DC and a huge lover of music Justin Shapiro has some new music out that has a taste of rock and folk with a little alternative mix in the middle. 

Shapiro was a huge part of the local music scene in his hometown during 2007 and performed all the best of the old covers from greats like Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan. As he was performing the covers he was also building his own collection of originals. It was time to have his own style, his own sound and so he took parts of all the music styles he loved so much and wha la…here you have it….the one and only Justin Shapiro.

Shapiro took his love and admiration for folk, blues, 90’s grunge, and acoustic rock to an entirely different place from within and the outcome was the music he creates today. Artists like Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R. Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam were some of the biggest influences on the music he had within. He writes lyrics with passion about love, soul, triumph, beating the odds, loss and heartache, social awareness and even a few…..dinosaurs…yep…I said dinosaurs!!!

For a brief time Justin was in a trio with friends Rich Cairns and Derick Wiggins but Cairns relocated to North Carolina with his family and Justin is now flying solo with the new release of his debut solo album, “Campfire Party”…

This is an 11 track collection that was produced by Justin Shapiro and Dave Chaletzky. The tracks I focused on were the following.

The first one is all about those dinosaurs I mentioned earlier. “Tyrannosaurus Rex,” sounds a lot like Dave Matthews and with that who wouldn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed the intro very much. The lyrics tell the story of how he would love to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which I interpret is actually a wild and dangerous whiskey. He talks about being somewhere between Johnny and Jack so….maybe. The run on was a little confusing and muddy, but I get it. The instrumentation was superb but this one looses a little bit of it’s weight for me with the run lyrics. It was hard to understand them.

Next was “Stand.” I thought it was nice with a cool feeling and move to groove. The smooth acoustic intro was very nice. Vocals were clear and crisp and reminded me of Neil Young a bit. This is “Campfire” music for me, a little more so than the T Rex. I enjoyed the easy and peaceful feeling that came with this song.

Mr. Bluebird” was more on a rocking scale. This one begins nice with some fine grooving rock guitar and drumming but for me it’s not what I would think of at a campfire…but… you could probably rock it out a little at a campfire minus the other instruments but that would take away from the texture. Over all it’s more of an outdoor concert song. Vocals seemed just a little strained in places. This one would be on the bottom of my list with vocals but as far as instrumentally it was very, very nice.

The album begins with strong points but gradually throughout seems to loose steam on certain songs. Some of the songs are stronger than others vocally and some are stronger instrumentally. I would have enjoyed it even more if his vocals were clearer and didn’t ramble in certain areas and that maybe he didn’t seem so strained to reach the notes. Instrumentally I give it a huge applause.

Musicians performing on this album are Justin Shapiro on guitar and vocals, Derick Wiggins on bass and guitar and Dave Chaeltzky holding things down with the drum section. This album presents in the style of rock, folk rock, Americana, and Alternative. Shapiro has been likened to Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, O.A.R., Ben Harper, and Dispatch.

For more information on Justin Shapiro and where you can find his music please visit the links below.

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About Sherryl Craig 276 Articles
Sherryl is a Senior Writer and Columnist with Nashville Music Guide and her column/blog, Lyrics N Legends has been featured since 2012. Her articles has graced the cover and have appeared as feature stories in the NMG print edition. Craig is a Licensed Certified Belief Therapist and Entertainment Journalism is one of her many passions. She is also a member of WMMW, Women of Music Music of Women, a non profit organization in support of women in the music industry. WMMW also appears here in Nashville Music Guide.