Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown would label themselves a rock and roll band, however, there’s a little more to it than that. Some might hear a bluesy influence while some might call it classic or southern rock. The pure energy and volume that could follow a heartfelt ballad proves that this band is hard to fit into a single box.
Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown are true music appreciators who pride themselves on their live shows. One would get the sense attending a show that each member of this band lives for the cause. Night after night they leave it all on the stage and like to refer to those nights as celebrations of “life, sound, and community.”
“We would do what we do if no one was there to hear us, but we’re grateful every time people come out to a show to be in the music with us. They give us their energy and we give them every bit of ours in return,” says Bryant.
The band consists of Tyler Bryant on lead vocals and guitar, Caleb Crosby on drums, Graham Whitford on guitar, and Ryan Fitzgerald on bass. The group have played hundreds upon hundreds of shows with countless venerable icons, such as AC/DC, Jeff Beck, Guns N’ Roses, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Clutch, and Blackberry Smoke, just to name a few.
“We’ve earned our stripes on the road. We’ve gone from playing for tiny crowds in tiny bars to getting to play at Madison Square Garden with AC/DC! Are you kidding me? I feel like we’re walking proof that childhood dreams can not only be reached, but grabbed and rung out like a dish rag.”
Over the past year, the group decided to truly take their career into their own hands by starting Rattle Shake Records, an independent label that allows them a direct line of communication with their fans. The first release under the newly launched label came in September of 2022 and was the band’s fifth full length album. Entitled ’Shake The Roots,’ this album encompasses so much of what the Shakedown is - big, bombastic, and unashamed of where they came from.
“To me, ‘Shake The Roots’ just sounds like a few good friends hanging out and making music for the joy of it. Truthfully, that’s really what it is. We tip our hats to the styles that influenced us while trying to push ourselves to do something new.”
Less than six months after the release of their new full length album, Rattle Shake Records announced a new batch of songs from the Shakedown entitled ‘Dirty Work.’ This EP pictures a beat up shell pink Fender Stratocaster on the cover. The exact guitar that Fender has cloned to be released as the Tyler Bryant Signature model.
“It’s insane to me that Fender put my name on a guitar. I used to mow yards when I was a kid to make layaway payments on guitars. It’s truly a dream come true for me.”
With the release of ‘Dirty Work,’ the band proves that they were not bluffing when they said they wanted to release more music on their terms. The album starts with “Strike,” a blistering guitar intro that sounds as if Bryant is trying to convince himself that he’s worthy of having his name on a guitar. “Burnin’” follows with positive lyrical message of persistence, despite obstacles, something that is the epitome of the Shakedown story.
“We’ve had our music shelved by record companies. We’ve been stranded on highways trying to figure out how we were going to make shows. We’ve had times where we felt like we were banging our heads against the wall. But you keep your head down and keep going. It’s all part of the journey,” Crosby adds.
“Dirty Work” features Bryant’s wife Rebecca Lovell (Larkin Poe) as a guest vocalist. Tyler recently co-produced ‘Blood Harmony’ with Larkin Poe in his Nashville studio.
“I call my studio the Lily Pad. There’s always something fun coming out of it and I keep it set up to capture moments. “Tennessee,” off of the ‘Shake The Roots’ album, is a recording that happened around 2AM one night when we were all hanging out. Caleb and I did two passes and Graham yelled from the other room, “First one was better." I listened to it the next day and thought, “Ya, let’s share this!” To me, my studio is a place where perfection takes a backseat to passion. Working on that Larkin Poe record though, those girls almost always sound perfect. I’ve been really inspired by working on records with other artists and I think it has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the music that I make.”
The first single from the bands newest EP is “Sho Been Worse.” Bryant sings, “I’ve been better, but I’ve sho been worse,” between lead lines on his beat up shell pink Strat. You can hear Bryant and Caleb playing off of each other with a rock solid, yet playful rapport that has been developed over many years together on the road. As always, Whitford is chugging away with an abundance of attitude; something the Shakedown never lacks.
With new music, a new record label, and a shell pink guitar with a fresh coat of paint, the band continues to hone their unique style. If you find yourself within ear shot of the Shakedown, grab your ear plugs and check out one their celebrations of “life, sound, and community.”