This week I am reviewing a release that is not so new to some of you but is new to me. I have only recently discovered the Southern hard rock band known as Shinedown. The band mostly hails from Jacksonville, Florida (lead singer Brent Smith is from Knoxville, TN) the city that was put on the rock and roll map by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Shinedown was formed in 2001 and came together using diverse influences such as Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Otis Redding. The Redding influence came from lead singer Brent Smith after his dad purchased him an Otis Redding box set. Smith became engrossed in the soulful emotion that he discovered in Redding and other Motown influences. This influence, I believe is what sets Shinedown apart from their hard rock peers.
Shinedown’s newest release is not so new. “Us and Them” was released October 4th of 2005. It is their sophomore follow up to the very popular debut album “Leave a Whisper”. I have read many reviews since listening through the album for the first time and I agree with many of them. But many of the reviewers state disappointment in this new release expecting the full bore rock sound of their debut album. Maybe I was a bit advantaged by having only recently discovered Shinedown and then listening to both albums sort of back to back. I can see the progression of the bands taste and influences from “Whisper…” to “Us and Them”, and I really like the progression and the diverseness of each of the songs. You can tell that they enjoy reinventing themselves.