Inspired by folk, musician creates an original sound
Winn Shultz is excited for another homecoming show tonight at Cornerstone Coffee Roasters.
The 2007 Mac High graduate spent many days playing around town with friends, experimenting with songwriting and recording. They would often perform downtown — street busking, it’s called — and also at venues like Cornerstone and 3rd Street Pizza. Shultz played in local bands The Burning Times, The Howlers and Blonde Murphy, and fronted his own group, Winn Shultz and the Moon Dogs.
His last gig at Cornerstone was nearly three years ago, when a few friends joined him to jam for the listeners. This time around, it’ll be just him, an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a piano.
Today, Shultz is enjoying the budding music scene in Pendleton, attending community college and preparing to enroll in a music education program. He said the Eastern Oregon town has become a popular stop for bands traveling between Portland and Boise, with five or six venues to choose from.
The son of two musicians, Shultz finds inspiration in the folk music of the 1960s.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with folk records like Joan Baez, Donovan, Bob Dylan and so on,” he said. Those influences are evident in his songs, often crisp and airy melodies that build as they move along. He also mixes in flamenco, blues, rock and contemporary indie elements.
“I try to breathe life into each song. ... I don’t really go in as a songwriter with anything preconceived,” he said. “I like to use a lot of open chords, allowing them to ring out, instead of barring chords. Really just try to make it tasteful.”
Shultz has a selection of homemade recordings streaming on soundcloud.com/winnshultz. Many of those are becoming tracks on Shultz’s upcoming debut album, which he hopes to have pressed by the end of the summer. In observance of his folk roots, he plans to release the album on vinyl record as well as in digital form.
Before moving to Pendleton, Shultz lived for a time in Portland, where he formed the Indigo Art Tribe. “It was kind of like an animal project,” he said. “At one point, we had a solid four piece band with two guitars, bass, drums, and three of us sang.”
The group disbanded earlier this year, allowing Shultz to focus on a solo album. When that’s complete, he hopes to again find some like-minded musicians and form another group.
“Playing solo is fun; you really get to improve your chops and work on skills.” he said. “But feeding off other musicians and collaborating on ideas is a lot more fun. You can really paint a larger picture.”
Shultz’s set will begin at 7 p.m. tonight at Cornerstone.
Contact Ossie Bladine at email@example.com.