SHELBI rocking the Canadian music scene
Move over Guns N’ Roses, ACDC and The Rolling Stones. There’s a new group of homegrown kids on the block who are tearing up the stage by taking their love of rock ‘n’ roll to new and exciting heights.
Cue the drum roll for the emergence of SHELBI, a relative newcomer to the Canadian rock music scene which is kicking ass and taking names following the release of its debut album Hell’s Comin’ With Us in June of last year.
“Our sound comes from taking a little of everyone’s influence in the band and mashing them all together,” says SHELBI’s 25-year-old lead vocalist Ryan Hachey, the son of Pat and Darlene Hachey of Donnelly.
The band, which was in Falher this past weekend shooting a music video, is comprised of Alex Hachey (Ryan’s 23-year-old brother) on guitar, Dylan Brulotte, (son of Gus and Wendy Brulotte) on bass and Ben Shillabeer on drums (former drummer of Social Code).
As Dylan explains, they came up with the band name SHELBI in a rather unorthodox way.
“Believe it or not we met a stripper with a glass eye and a wooden leg one night and guess what her name was? Now that’s rock ‘n roll, baby,” Ryan quips.
The two brothers began writing together early in 2009 after Ryan convinced his brother to transfer the duration of his music program from Grande Prairie Regional College to Grant MacEwan as part of a plan to plant the initial seed towards the formation of a new band.
A few months later, Alex ran into Dylan (a former G.P. Vanier student who was part of their first band in high school) at a local bar in Falher.
After tipping back several whiskeys together, Dylan found himself contemplating a proposal which was sweet music to his ears after Alex extended an invitation to him to move to Edmonton and join the band on bass.
“The offer by Alex was made in a hazy moment of drunkenness. Not once did he think Dylan would actually leave his career and move (to Edmonton),” says Ryan.
That, however, is exactly what happened a couple days later when Dylan – carrying nothing more than a bag of personal belongings and his guitar on his shoulder – called Ryan and Alex from the bus stop in Edmonton to announce he was ready to rock.
But there was still one piece of the band missing, that being a drummer.
With that in mind, the guys eventually brought in a local drummer and quickly went to work on a trio of introductory songs as part of a demo to kick-start the band.
From there, a few shows were played, leading up to their first recording in May 2010.
A short time later their drummer decided to depart the band, leaving the boys with the arduous task of having to find a fitting replacement who suited the band’s specific style and sound.
The process included a few failed attempts and seemingly endless discussions by Alex, Dylan and Ryan regarding whether or not the band should attempt to push forward or call it quits.
They would eventually find that answer in a bottle of Jack (Daniels).
It came from Alex, who introduced Ryan and Dylan to Kris Bridge, a drummer and graduate of the Grant MacEwan music program (no longer with the band).
And the rest was sweet rock ‘n’ roll history as the band continued to make its presence felt on the music scene, while working towards the eventual release of Hell’s Comin’ With Us in June of 2012, much to the delight of a growing fan base.
The band’s first single, Smooth Whiskey, has received plenty of attention and air time on radio stations across Canada since its release and is currently sitting in the number 37 spot on the Canadian active rock chart.
When asked to discuss the evolution of the song and the overall theme, Ryan was quick to respond.
“They say to write about what you know and what’s real, and we know how to drink whiskey,” he jokes.
“Basically, we wanted to write a hard-hitting, high tempo rock song I think we achieved that.”
As for the band’s overall sound and targeted audience, Dylan says their goal right from day one has and continues to be on writing quality songs which appeal to a wide demographic of music lovers.
“I think today’s audience is so accustomed to hearing such diversity in their music that they appreciate a good song for what it is. Our fans come from all sides of the musical spectrum and I think that shows promise for all types of music, rock included,” he explains.
SHELBI’s growing popularity among fans in Alberta and across the country certainly hasn’t been achieved overnight.
It’s taken countless hours of hard work and dedication behind the scenes while playing all types of gigs – all in an effort to break through and make a name for themselves’ in a demanding music industry where many try but few succeed.
Along the long and winding road to success, the boys have never lost sight of who they are and where they come from.
“We click as a band because we’re easy-going people who share a similar goal. A lot of that has to do with where and how we were raised,” Ryan explains, adding that coming from of a small community has instilled a personal trait which allows each of them to work well with one another and others in the industry.
When asked about when he first began to realize that he could belt out a tune with his dynamic voice, Ryan paused for a moment before reflecting on his junior high school days and growing up on a farm.
“When you’re spending long hours in the tractor, swather or combine, there’s not much to do (other than singing). All the farmers out there know what I’m talking about,” says Ryan, whose talent has managed to rub off on a few friends back home in the Smoky River region.
“Denis Rochon sent me a voice message of him singing a Justin Beiber song while combining last year. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it really sucked.”
The same can’t be said about the unwavering support they’ve received from their families along the way.
“Our families have been more than supportive in every aspect of our lives by encouraging us to do what we enjoy in life. They come to the shows, spread the word and continue to stand behind us every step of the way,” Alex says.
The band was back at home this past weekend continuing to focus its attention on shooting their latest music video.
Alex says they are planning to hit the road in the near future in an effort to expand the band’s fan base, adding they anticipate announcing some “BIG shows” in the coming weeks ahead.
And that could include a performance at home according to Alex, who hinted at the possibility of returning to their roots where it all began in the Smoky River region in 2013.
“Maybe this summer,” Alex hinted.
For family, friends and die-hard SHELBI fans in the area it’s an announcement that can’t come soon enough.
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