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Rockin’ with Shane Dwight

Singer-songwriter brings his heart, soul and new lyrics to the Grape Festival stage on Thursday night

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013 8:51 am

Country and blues singer-songwriter Shane Dwight is no stranger to Lodi. He’s been performing in the area for years, and sold out a concert at Lodi’s Jessie’s Grove earlier this summer.

Now the musician, who splits his time between Hollister and Nashville, is hitting the main stage at the Lodi Grape Festival. This time, he is bringing singer Bekka Bramlett to the stage.

“She’s in it from the start,” Dwight said. “It will be a pretty bombastic set.”

Bramlett took Stevie Nicks’ spot in Fleetwood Mac for five years in the early ’90s, and has been performing since she signed her first record label at the age of 12.

“She’s been a rock ’n’ roll star since she came out of the chute,” Dwight said of the singer he’s become friends with since they met in Nashville.

At the Grape Festival, Dwight will play a few covers that people really love, but the show’s focus will be on the songs he’s written for his own albums, including his latest release, “This House.”

“All I heard all night (at Jessie’s Grove) was, ‘Where’s the new record?’” he said.

At the festival, he is going to release a limited first-pressing of the album.

Dwight sings about “all the usual suspects”: life experiences, broken hearts, friends’ struggles with addiction. While the new album deals with many emotions, it is dedicated to Sierra LaMar, a young girl who went missing from Morgan Hill in 2012. She is the daughter of a family friend, and Dwight is giving proceeds from his hot rod festival in Hollister to the Polly Klaas Foundation.

The premise of one of the songs tells the story of a house that is becoming haunted because someone is missing. The lyrics go: “There’s a darkness around now ’cause all the lightness was you.’”

Dwight grew up listening to all types of music. His cousins listened to Prince and Michael Jackson; his sister was into rock and metal, the Beegees and late-’70s rock at the same time. He heard Bob Seger and Pat Turner from his mom, while his dad was into twangy country and blues. And grandpa, he was into old country and Johnny Cash.

“Everywhere I went, there was always music,” Dwight said.

He always had a passion for music, but he didn’t pursue it professionally until he was a college student at Gavin Community College in Gilroy, where he received an associate’s degree in music. He studied guitar magazines and taught himself to play with a guitar book.

Soon, he started going to open mic nights around Morgan Hill and Gilroy, and came across people who wanted to play. Though he didn’t start playing guitar as a profession until his late 20s, he stayed busy performing at various venues three to five nights a week.

When he formed the Shane Dwight Blues Band, his goal was preserving the blues.

“We really went for it and recaptured early blues music for the first six years,” he said.

Now, he still incorporates his roots, but he has transitioned into being a singer-songwriter, creating music that is a cross between rock, country and blues.

He writes in spurts, but never has a shortage of songs. His guitar is always sitting by the couch or near him in the hotel room.

He and Bramlett wrote “Beautiful” on a flight from California to Tennessee. They wrote it without instruments, and put music to it later.

“It’s been happening in all kinds of different environments,” Dwight said.

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