NO DEPRESSION by Lee Zimmerman “Lee’s Listening Stack”

“Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock & Roll” April 27th 2013

If Tom Shaner’s new album, Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock & Roll, seems to boast an all encompassing title, suffice it to say it delivers all those possibilities. The truth is, Shaner’s music covers a wide gamut of styles and sounds, and over the course of 15 tracks he demonstrates how adept he is at exploring these various genres. Just when you think you have him pegged as a jaunty singer/songwriter type, he opts for a lovely ballad like “Downtown Has Done Damage” and then follows it with a gentle Celtic serenade, “The Streets of Galway” or a full-blown rave up such as “Unstoppable Hipster” or “Cold Water.” Shaner’s voice has an unmistakable edge, sometimes bringing an unlikely resemblance to Marc Bolan taking on a slight Dylan-esque delivery. That makes “She Will Shine” and “Sister Satellite” particularly enticing, a further result of his unmistakable charms. Yet, it’s also to Shaner’s credit that he manages to avoid the most obvious Americana cliches (“Foreverland” resembles a gypsy waltz while “Silent Parade” comes across like a serene late night serenade) and still managers to purvey a sound that sounds both fresh and familiar at the same time. Credit Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock & Roll with elevating expectations through its own example of truth in advertising.

SOME REVIEWS FOR “ghost songs, waltzes, and rock & roll”

Tom Shaner is thoroughly American, completely New York, 100% right now, and this is an album that simply must be heard….a really great, unique album … “Ghost Songs, Waltzes, and Rock & Roll”. It’s an all-time great album, from a rarified artist.

…his dusty Americana has a fresh and modern sound. Like his namesake, Mr Waits, Tom’s songs often have an undercurrent of humour running through them; even the more somber numbers have an eccentricity to them that few artists can muster. Tom Shaner’s music has an infectious swagger and underlying positivity that seems effortless. -Galway Indepenent

One of the best albums of 2012, no question.New York Music Daily

Neuftur Magazine

By James McQuiston April 27th 2011

There are few singer-songwriters that are able to create something that successfully marries the rich tradition brought the genre by luminaries like Dylan and Cohen in the sixties with a vitality and vibrancy that is germane to current audiences. However, I believe that Tom Shaner does just that on his new recording, Get Real or Get Gone. This disc begins with “Waltz 13”, a track that does more than merely introduce Shaner to those listening in. Rather, the track travels every generation from the fifties all the way out to the current period.

With the story-telling skill of a Simon & Garfunkel or Donovan, the coy attractiveness of Shaner’s vocals is further highlighted by an emotional and form-fitting arrangements lovingly provided by the acoustic guitar. “Get Real or Get Gone” simultaneously exists in the sixties and nineties; Shaner’s breathy vocals here are benefitted by the atmosphere created by the instrumentation here, a slight nod to Chris Isaak and Duane Eddy. The back and forth created by the two sides of the track – one female, one male, each containing their own distinctive instrumental sound – will undoubtedly cause listeners to pay more attention.

“She’s In The Air” keeps listeners on their toes; starting out in an instrumentally-heavy fashion, there is a dirge or spiritual style crafted throughout the track’s three-minute runtime. The blend of repetition and ethereal vocals establish “She’s In The Air” as a must-listen on “Get Real or Get Gone”. The album ends with “Waiting For You”, a bouncy track that benefits from a blend of psychedelic, sixties pop, and even fiery Latin brass. “Get Real or Get Gone” showcases a number of sides to Tom Shaner, but I have a feeling that he has only scratched the surface with this release. Make sure to buy this EP, listen to the wide array of influences, genres, and styles contained here, and see how he blows your mind with any subsequent releases that he may cut.


Tom Shaner is a folk singer-songwriter, whose sound borders on the surreal, placing him somewhere between the realms of Nick Cave and Tom Waits. Yet, he performs with a true unpretentious earnestness akin to classic Simon & Garfunkel.

However, whether it is the duskiness in his voice or the wafting eeriness of the instrumentation, Shaner’s music yields an unnerving, skin-crawling effect. For example, the lead track on GET REAL OR GET GONE, “Waltz 13,” while semi-serene, the dark carnival musical accompaniment would not sound out of place in the film, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.There are also moments herein where he sounds like an evil David Gilmour. This smoldering stew of sincerity blended with uneasiness will constantly make you glance over your shoulder just to make sure Shaner isn’t looming. Even his “love ballad,” “If I Could Give You A Star” bears an aura of Johnny Cash-ish sardonic foreboding. While he is serenading you, you get the feeling that he’s holding a dagger behind his back.

It soon becomes apparent, though, that Shaner is simply displaying, for the world to enjoy, many facets dwelling within the hidden recesses of his soul. And despite the openness and sincerity, whenever I hear one of his songs, my imagination conjures images of hulking vampire trolls drinking and jamming on acoustic instruments. Whether or not that is Shaner’s intent is irrelevant, as the manner in which his music infects the listener is most likely different for each individual.

But it is that dichotomy of styles that makes GET REAL OR GET GONE such a bewitching listening experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if this EP gave people psychoses. Tom Shaner’s music is destined for inclusion in a David Lynch film – and that’s a good thing!

Suite 101

Tom Shaner’s sometimes haunting, always interesting EP ‘Get Real Or Get Done’ has the ability to take listeners to a new place.

It is not surprising that Tom Shaner is a New York City-based singer songwriter. In his EP Get Real Or Get Done it seems as though Shaner pulls from the Bohemian streets both the darkness and exploratory light only the metropolis can bring. From the pop rock sounding title track to the moody “She’s In The Air,” Shaner’s seven tracks hit the right notes.
Fans of Fastball and Tom Cochrane will find many similarities in the tempo and certainly vocals found on this EP. At times Shaner’s voice is so melodic and stunning the song seems to veer in a different direction. In “Sun Girl” the twirling guitar and bright orchestration is perfectly married to Shaner’s airy voice. Whereas in “She’s In The Air” his voice is moody, darker. Either way, both are electric and hit the mark. Waltz-Sounding Songs

What is remarkable is Shaner’s ability to have this constant presence of a waltz-like feel, without each song sounding exactly like the other. “If I Could Give You A Star” (track two) is perfectly timed; as is “Unprotected Hart.” “She’s In The Air” (track three) could also fall under the waltz category, and does so with a shimmering difference on each. “She’s In The Air” has this western, ghost town sense to it. The final track “Waltz” has this whispering feel to it, like a trickling stream.

The catchy and up-tempo “Waiting for You” has this fun horn section. The song has a 60s pop song beat to it, and keeps the toes tapping much the same “That Thing You Do” did for movie-goers. For some reason, Shaner’s vocals on “Waiting for You” are missing that empathy, that soothing crooner voice. However, the horn section and general orchestration more than accommodate.

Overall CD Review is Solid A

Overall, Get Real Or Get Gone gets a solid A rating. While true pop rock fans will not find the sugary, radio friendly track in this mix, they will certainly find something very worthy of AAA radio. Tom Shaner has some great tunes – he gets it and takes the listener down an interesting, winding path. His vocals are strong and varied, and the subtle grittiness in his voice is like a weathered leather jacket; still sharp and fashionable. The instrumentation is tight as are the backup vocals. Shaner’s song arrangements and intuitive lyrics are welcomed attributes, as are his obvious nods to the Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, the Beatles and The Doors.

SKOPE mag….Skope Entertainment, Inc.

By Jimmy Rae

Tom Shaner is a multi-talented artist who has written over 300 songs in his career so he is no stranger to the music scene. Shaner is a singer/songwriter & performer who dares you to ‘Get Real Or Get Done’ on his new EP. Prior to this solo release, Tom played in a band called Industrial Tepee where they did three albums together. ‘Get Real Or Get Done’ is actually a teaser for his full-length debut album coming out soon. Shaner’s latest efforts were recorded mainly in Mother West Studios in New York City by producer Charles Newman but also included other unique spots like: Ireland, LA’s Topanga Canyon and his friend’s 19th Century home in Vermont. Not to mention, the NYC-based musician has also dabbled in: musical screenplays, films, directing videos and live theater projects. With all of this exciting & rich hoopla surrounding Tom Shaner, I can not wait to hear this EP and the upcoming release!

Right away on the title track you sense one convincing voice that draws you in instantly. The male-female duet on this track was also a nice edition that added a refreshing layer to the whole mix. You get some dreamy folk rock on “Unprotected Heart” and then Tom picks up the pace on “Waiting For You” with a lively, up-tempo number. Shaner ends with a timeless & elegant piece on “Waltz 13” where the listener really gets a sense of a true artist performing. Tom actually refers to his music as “Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock and Roll” which makes sense due to the musical diversity displayed on this seven-track set. Plus, you can tell from Tom’s lyrics that he is deep in mind & thought which carries over into the songs.

The content, the voice and the words ALL WORK as Tom Shaner plays perfectly to the sounds of classic & modern influences. The style is indescribable as you will just have to hear it for yourself. ‘Get Real Or Get Done’ has got substance like you can’t imagine and it proves that Shaner is dead serious when it comes to creating music that sounds good and makes sense. I’m looking forward to hearing the new record and I am definitely a Tom Shaner fan now—make it shine!

Tom Shaner – ‘Get Real or Get Gone’ EP Review

By C.W. Ross

Tom Shaner is a prolific songwriter having written over 300 songs. His, ‘Get Real or Get Gone’ EP offers up 7 of those songs and gives you, the listener, a wide variety of his musical styles. Some of you might also know Shaner from his previous band Industrial Tepee.

As I listened to Shaner’s music it had this familiar sound with some interesting edges giving it a fresh and at times brooding vibe to it.The acoustic folk sounding track, “Waltz13″, gets things off to a good start. For me it’s on tracks 2 & 3 though when things kick into high gear. The title track, “Get Real or Get Gone” offers up an hypnotic drum part, duet vocals and a sprinkling of strings that drive its lyrics that deal with seducing a would be lover. “If I could Give You a Star,” is an electric guitar filled, up tempo, rock edged track.

You’ll also find the poignant track, “Unprotected Heart (for J.B.),” That is a tribute to Shaner’s old friend and onetime musical cohort Jeff Buckley who was taken much too early due to his tragic drowning in 1997. Being an old trumpet player I have to also mention the EP’s last track, “Waiting for You”, an up tempo track featuring a nice trumpet part. On his ‘Get Real or Get Gone’ EP Shaner offers up a nice mix of songs that are all built upon a rock solid musical foundation.

Danger Dog

Having written over 300 songs throughout his multi-faceted career, Tom Shaner faced a daunting challenge trying to narrow down to a lucky seven for the release of Get Real Or Get Gone, the EP teaser for his upcoming full length debut. While listeners who enter his musical head space will clearly see that each tune has an individual color of its own and in its own way is about what is real and what is not, all fall under the dynamic concept that he believes perfectly captures his genre-transcending vibe: “Ghost Songs, Waltzes and Rock and Roll.”

As an artist, the NYC based Shaner has forged a merger between the singer-songwriter tradition of Dylan, Waits, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman and the Rolling Stones. On Get Real or Get Gone, he also pays poignant homage to one of his old friends and onetime musical cohort, the late Jeff Buckley on “Unprotected Heart.” Written after the iconic singer’s tragic drowning, the song wonders, “When will I see you again? In city or in dream? We’re circling around this truth we found.”

But Shaner’s music has vision beyond just that one single song. Whether he’s performing live around the U.S. and Ireland or recording in a studio, it’s about the larger experience. “Ghost” is the grief that comes as part of living, as we’re haunted by loss, the past and temptation. “Waltzes” represent the easy sweep of the here and now, when you’re lucky enough to be able to know that – or the love quality of old time music. “Rock and roll?” The electric here and now, or the excitement you feel when you’re going out to have a good time.

All these elements merge powerfully on Get Real Or Get Gone, an emotionally compelling package recorded in three unique locations–primarily at Mother West Studios in NYC by producer Charles Newman (renowned for his work with The Magnetic Fields), but also in his friend’s 19th Century house in Vermont, Los Angeles’ bucolic Topanga Canyon and the West of Ireland, where Shaner has built a large following, performing solo acoustic gigs for the past four years. In the years between the breakup of his eclectic original band Industrial Teepee and the recording of the new EP and album, the multi-talented performer has engaged in numerous related creative activities—musical screenplays, films, directing videos and live theatre projects—while playing hundreds of shows in New York (Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Lakeside Lounge), Los Angeles and the rest of the U.S. His numerous shows in Ireland include Charlie’s Pub in Cork,  where he met his future wife Eve one night in 2007 while appearing with Hank Wedel.

Get Real Or Get Gone begins with the duet “Waltz 13,” a tune which embraces the here and now of commitment after a rough night, real or imagined. This is followed by another duet, the title track, where a man tries to break through and seduce a would-be lover’s resistance and doubts. The exuberant “If I Could Give You A Star” tries to measure the super power of passion with the appropriate warnings, while the Jeff Buckley tribute “Unprotected Heart” warns that there is a haunting uncertainty to life that needs an appropriate amount of armor to face. “Sun Girl” is a heartfelt waltz, while “She’s In The Air” is a song of ghostly menace, where beauty deceives. Wrapping the set is a piece that takes the listener beyond the creeping darkness and into the yearning emotion of “Waiting For You.”

“Just like the blues masters of an era gone by, I hope to communicate a world in each song,” says Shaner. “There will always be a rooted American element to my material, but I am also open to music, songs, sounds, stories and words in any kind of combination. So with these new recordings, my first true recorded solo works, I felt that I was in a unique environment with Charles Newman where I could try different things. It’s like the song is written and I would build on the foundation, but if it were a house, I would make sure any additional rooms or floors could be supported by the foundation. So I kept some arrangements simple, some a bit more expansive. If we needed to add cello or violin to ensure the feeling got across, we added those in. It was a great experience and I’m excited to share more of my songs on future projects, beginning with the full length album later this year.”