The Cause of It All is The Revs' new stripped-down collection of blues classics, forged in quarantine with longtime guitarist Chris “Doctor” Roberts. The timing couldn’t be better. Pared down to their essence, these songs speak to our shared sense of vulnerability and isolation, but with the joyful, contagious swagger that has long borne bluesmen – and their listeners – through trouble, into the light.
Although he’s often closely associated with the Lone Star State since originally taking up residence in Dallas, Texas in the early ’90s, vocalist/guitarist Shawn Pittman is actually an Oklahoma native. Pittman moved to Dallas, Texas when he was seventeen years old where he attended the Booker T Washington High School of the Performing Arts. He later dropped out, but picked up his music education courtesy of his uncle who would take him over to the Schooner’s jam in Dallas where he first met Sam Myers. According to Pittman, “Sam Myers was one of the best musicians I’ve ever played with!” Additional guidance and inspiration came by way of local area musicians Mike Morgan and Hash Brown.
For her second album, Shawn Colvin took a temporary break from longtime collaborator and producer John Leventhal, teaming up instead with Larry Klein. And while the strongest songs – "Tennessee," "Climb On (A Back That's Strong)," and "Object of My Desire" – are Colvin/Leventhal collaborations, credit should be given to Klein, who incorporated a glossy, more dynamic production and top-notch session players for a stronger and more accessible album. In addition to turning in a strong batch of songs, Colvin shows much more diversity, tackling everything from rootsy rockers to more sensitive folk ballads with equally passionate delivery. "I Don't Know Why" (the first song she wrote) and "Round of Blues" both found considerable success in adult contemporary radio formats, adding to her growing fan base.
The Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherHood is a deep roots collaboration between the acclaimed blues singer-songwriter and harmonica player and some old friends: drummer Brady Blade (Indigo Girls, Buddy and Julie Miller), bassist Christopher Thomas (Norah Jones, Macy Gray) and longtime Rev guitarist Chris "Doctor" Roberts. Their debut album, Blue Sky (available April 17, 2020) comes on he heels of The Rev’s 2018 acclaimed, politically charged Breaks it Down. 2019 saw him alighting in Texas, where the South begins, the West ends, and something else is taking shape – a world away, geographically and culturally, from his native LA. Here, he gathered together the Brotherhood, creating a sense of home in his rootlessness. Blade, Thomas, and Roberts provide not only musical, but also spiritual and emotional support for embracing new territory, artistically and otherwise.