In Review: Charlotte Contemporary Country Rockers Shake The Dust Drop Self-Titled EP

Charlotte-based band Shake The Dust bring their uplifting brand of 70s FM country-rock to life on their debut self-titled EP.

Released today, October 12th, Shake The Dust’s new album was recorded by the band at the Charlotte-based Old House Recording Studio over five days of sessions, spanning between February and May 2021. The EP explores themes such as rekindling old friendships and pandemic-related hardships, all while the band effortlessly channels their country-rock roots. 

While primarily influenced country rock from days of yore, the band’s leader and founder, Phil Lomac, draws from a wide range of influences spanning from John Denver to Jimi Hendrix. “The eclecticism is what’s interesting to me. We play traditional instruments, but we’re not recording them traditionally,” says Lomac. 

The quartet, which got its name from one of Lomac’s songs, was originally founded by Lomac during the pandemic. Despite it being a time of unsuredness and isolation, he decided he wasn’t going to let societal circumstances stop him from continuing to pursue his passion: making music and collaborating with other musicians. 

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Lomac got to work putting together a new band, enlisting Craig Hanks (electric guitars), Bob Simyon (drums), and Chris Liberti (bass), with Lomac playing acoustic guitar and providing vocals. They also enlisted the help of Sean O’ Shield (pedal steel) and Jason Atkins (keyboard) for the recording of the EP. 

In “Fresh Paint,” the first track off the EP, the quartet expertly captures the FM country-rock vibes that they love so much. Lomac’s smokey vocals float over the hard-driving drums, growling bass, and swirling, phaser-drenched guitars. 

“Shake The Dust” is the title track and second song on the EP. With O’ Shield’s gliding pedal steel guitar and Atkin’s rich organ, the tune is a fun and unforgettable jam. “It’s about that friend of yours who’s been through a lot and needs your permission to come back into your life,” says Lomac.

For the third track, “Climbing Ladders,” the quartet embrace their rock side, with snarling American-made amps just past the edge of breakup, and the gritty guitars effortlessly laying down slick riffs.

“Sixes and Sevens,” the fourth track on the EP, is far more reserved than the previous track. It draws comparisons to artists like Tom Petty and My Morning Jacket. “Craig had written this song and played it out with other bands, but it was a little heavy and hard for me to sing. I asked his permission: ‘Do you mind if I rework some of the lyrics?’ In the outro, Bob started playing double-time on the drums: that’s totally a 70s FM thing,” says Lomac about the song.

“White Dress,” the final track on the EP, is a laid back yet triumphant tune that brilliantly closes out the EP. “ [This is] My favorite track. I wrote this during the pandemic, and the lyrics were definitely affected by the pandemic. It could be a country song, but it has this shadow,” says Lomac. “Everybody in the band contributed to the arrangement. It was a democratic process: let’s figure this out together.”

Shake The Dust is an enticing new project with much promise, and their self-titled EP seems like just the beginning of a fruitful endeavor from Lomac and company.

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