House Blend | Episode 2b: The Shoemaker Brothers
ABOUT THE ARTIST The Shoemaker Brothers
Shoemaker hails from the Pacific Northwest, the progeny of Celtic and Nordic roots, they look like a mix between Viking athlete and merry men of ancient lore but sing like angels and play rock music with a classical musician’s touch. Coming of age in a period marked by the Iraqi war, reflected on by the “You” revolution and overwrought with icons and iconoclasts, the Brothers, Samuel, Nathanael, Daniel and Gabriel play music that debunks conventional styles while naturally emanating from their talented hands.
Growing up as the four middle children of seven, the Brothers’ musical education began as soon as each could walk. With seven children, the family’s resources were stretched tight, but their parents always made the necessary sacrifices to provide instruments and music lessons for their children. Each child was expected to master a specific instrument, but with idle time, the Brothers traded instruments to try something new. Any visitor to the Shoemaker household found a crowded living room filled with cups of coffee, strong tea and the Brothers making up words and notes — following the lead of whomever held the guitar.
As each Brother became an adult, each began carving his own path. The oldest, Sam, joined the Marine Corps, serving two combat tours in Iraq. After four years in the marines, Sam left the Corps and matriculated at Washington State University to finish off his bachelor’s degree. In the meantime, Nate and Dan, after spending time traveling in the Caribbean, joined Sam at WSU with the aid of scholarships from the music department. Gabie, the youngest Brother attended Whitworth University on a music scholarship for violin and voice, after receiving interest from the University’s football program.
No matter where the Brothers went in life, music came with them. Sam played the violin for his fellow troops in Iraq. During Sam’s leave before his first deployment, the Brothers performed at their older brother’s wedding, an event orchestrated around Nate’s song “Never Forget.” Dan traveled the West Coast and the Caribbean, supporting himself by singing and playing the guitar. Both Nate and Dan played in the WSU orchestra — Nate as principal cellist and Don on viola. Gabie, not to be outdone by his brothers, played violin in Whitworth’s orchestra when he wasn’t starting Defensive Line for the football team.
After spending the holidays together in 2007, the Brothers played with the idea of taking their talent to the next level. As with most of the best decisions made in life, it was the daunting but obvious choice. With no more than the instruments they already owned, a full-size van, a lifetime worth of resourcefulness and a hunch that they had something special, Shoemaker decided to dedicate themselves to their music and begin a national tour. Playing gigs everywhere from one-horse towns to mega metropolises, bars to cafés, small music halls to national stages — anywhere that would have them — the Brothers have built a strong following, one gig at a time.
Hundreds of shows later, the Brothers have gained poise and presence in front of a crowd. Attending a Shoemaker show is like paying for regular treatment, but getting the deluxe. The Brothers trade instruments after every song, and the same Brother rarely sings more than one song in a row. Each Brother has a distinct voice, but all of them are deep and melodic. Their songs range from energetic and deep to lighthearted and blissful. The lyrics range from poetic to direct, showcasing the complex nature of the Shoemakers’ collective experience and personalities.
ABOUT THE HOST
Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” 1992), award-winning radio writer-producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” 1988-1990) and veteran record company executive (Capitol, Elektra/Asylum, Rhino). A 22-year resident of Canyon Country, Peeples has written about the SCV music scene for The Signal newspaper since 2004 and has been Online Editor of The Signal since October 2007. In 2009 he was honored for Best Website by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. A jazz and rock drummer since 12, Peeples was a member of the underground West L.A. garage band Peaking Duck from 1977-2008. He now plays with an SCV-based jazz quartet.©2010 SCVTV