The first time Shrub group members took their brand of Midwestern hip-hop reggae rock fusion to the stages of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, they were greeted by quizzical glances that eventually graduated to heads bouncing in acceptance of their Rasta rhythm. This reaction is not uncommon for a band that tows the line between four different genres and influences that might make it hard for
a crowd to digest at first, but when it feels the groove that Shrub is putting out, there’s no denying it.
“A lot of times, when we play for a straight-up reggae crowd, they are real quiet at first and kind of give us this look like ‘I’m not really sure what this is, but I like it,’” says drummer Daniel Zwelling. “It was really strange for us at first, but they eventually get into it after a song or two.”
Primarily started as a rap group with strong reggae undertones by rapper and frontman Jay Shawberry, also known as Shrub (a nickname given to him through drunken circumstances), the group has evolved into much more. The group started as a project with most of the current lineup as hired guns for the first record, but Shawberry, Zwelling,
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saxophonist, vocalist and keyboard player Terrance Charles, vocalist Jason Woodard and bassist and flutist Jeff Bass have all remained.
“On the first record, it was good, but you really can tell a difference now that everyone is kind of invested in the group more,” says Shawberry. “It’s kind of like the seeds were planted and we’ve been growing from there.”
Since the debut record Seniorita, the group was named High Times Magazine’s unsigned band of the month and caught the eye of acclaimed producer Sylvia Massy, who has worked with artists like Tool, Prince and the Deftones – so much so that Shrub spent some time in northern California working on tracks with her for the group’s upcoming album, which is set to feature the skills of artists like C-Money from the group Slightly Stoopid and local rapper/producer Blueprint. So excitement for the new album and new shows is obviously running high.
For more information on Shrub, go to shrubnation.com