Shawn Price Interview: New Single “Lay Our Burdens Down,” Hiatus, and Writing

An exclusive interview with Shawn Price as he returns from a 10-year musical hiatus with his new single “Lay Our Burdens Down.”



Image of Shawn Price, courtesy of artist

Shawn Price is a folk rock singer-songwriter known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics. His newest release, “Lay Our Burdens Down,” marks his return to the indie scene after over a decade and showcases Price rediscovering himself as a more mature artist – both creatively and in life experience.

Price got his start playing as the lead singer and songwriter of the band The Olde Souls and The Makeshift Band, entertaining countless bar patrons over the years. After taking a hiatus to focus on his family, Shawn has recently returned to the music scene as a solo artist, showcasing his talents as a singer and songwriter and drawing inspiration from the highs and lows of everyday life, finding truth in both the surreal and mundane. “Lay Our Burdens Down” does just that – taking listeners through the struggles of holding on to life’s challenges, only to decide to release their burdens and pursue a more fulfilling existence. With introspective lyricism, Price challenges listeners to contemplate what it truly means to live authentically — to leave everything on the table while uncovering joy in the simplicity of everyday existence. With a sound that blends folk, rock, and pop influences, Shawn’s music harkens back to the soulful ’70s and has been compared to the stylings of Joe Cocker and Ray Lamontagne.

With the new release being the first fans have heard from Price in over ten years, we were eager to sit down and ask a few questions that dive into his creative process, influences, experiences playing music, and so much more.

How would you describe your creative process?

Shawn Price: “My approach used to be all about momentum. I would sit down to write, and if it didn’t all come together immediately, I would quit and come back later. At this point in my life, I have to take more of a work-man’s approach to things. Jeff Tweedy’s “How to Write One Song” was really helpful for me because it opened my eyes to an entirely different approach to songwriting. Now, I focus on getting a building block for a song every time I have some time to sit down. It might be some lyrics, it might be a new chord progression, it might be a melody or it might just be an exercise that will help open up the creative process. But over time, that toolbox grows, and I no longer have to start from scratch every time. I can pull inspiration from myself to get the process moving.”

Who are your biggest influences?

“Singer-songwriters like Ray Lamontagne, Damien Rice and David Grey have influenced my songwriting tremendously for a long time. The emotion that they pour into every song is just awe-inspiring. More recently the authenticity and down-to-earth approach of bands like The Avett Brothers and Dawes is something I really admire. Guys like David Bowie, Bono or, to an extent, even Bob Dylan have this persona when they’re on stage. I can appreciate it, and I enjoy all of them, but in the end, that’s not who I am. In the end, I want the audience to feel like they saw the real me.”

Tell us about your most recent release: what was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?

“This was the first time I had worked with a producer. Everything else I’ve released has been self-produced, so it was a new experience to have a third party who was so involved in the creative process. I worked with a producer named Jay Alton, who has produced some great records from local bands that I’ve loved over the years. He brought a lot of great insights and really brought out the potential in the song. The original song was way too long and needed some editing. It’s really hard to see that when you’ve spent the time crafting the song. You never want to cut a verse that you spent hours crafting, but sometimes, that’s what the song needs. For that reason alone, it was great working with Jay, but then you add in the technical skills he brings to the table, and it really just takes things up a notch.”

What do you like most about playing music?

“I’ve spent a lot of my musical career playing in bars for crowds that weren’t necessarily there to see me. As a result, it’s not uncommon for the crowd to be engaged in conversation and not paying a whole lot of attention when I start my set. My favorite moment is when I’m able to win over a crowd during the course of a song, to pull them out of their own world and into mine, just for a little while. A lot of times, you can’t see it happen because of the stage lights, but you can definitely hear and feel it when it happens. The crowd noise dies as people turn their heads from their conversations, and the energy changes from distracted to anticipatory and engaged. It’s a feeling I haven’t been able to replicate anywhere else in life.”

Shawn Price “Lay Our Burdens Down” Cover Art

Do you ever get stage fright? What’s your solution for it?

“Never once in my life have I made it through a set without making any mistakes. I’m not a perfectionist as an artist. If I start to view my art as a performance, then those mistakes can take me out of the moment, and I start to get nervous. If I can view the show as a mutual experience between me and the audience it shifts my mentality. I begin to realize that the audience wants me to enjoy the experience as much as they do, and the more fun I’m having the more fun they can have. It’s freeing and changes the atmosphere from an exchange of services to a collaboration amongst friends.”

What are you still trying to figure out?

“I’m constantly trying to decide what direction I want to lean into with my musical journey. I love the intimacy of a listening room, and I love the energy of a crowd that just wants to dance. I’ve got songs and arrangements that play well in both worlds, and I’ve got songs that really only fit in certain settings. I’ve recently started playing with a new group, “Shawn Price & The Residents,” and the energy has been incredible. I’d like to keep that going while not completely losing my identity as a singer-songwriter. I like what I’ve seen Nathaniel Rateliff do between his solo work and his work with the Night Sweats. I’m hoping I can use that as a model.”

What’s next for you?

“I’ve got a few more singles that are in process right now that I plan on releasing throughout 2024, and then I have to decide whether to continue in that direction or switch to full-length albums. The landscape has changed a ton recently, and unless you have a massive built-in audience, there is very little benefit in dropping an entire album’s worth of songs all at once. But there’s something about creating a cohesive set of songs and grouping them on an album that is its own art form and is super appealing. So we’ll see how that shakes out.”

When you write, do you do so with the live setting in mind, or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?

“At least for the first pass I tend to just focus on the song itself, but it’s important for me to not treat the song as finished until I play it live or record it. Even then, the instrumentation can truly shape the direction a song takes with each performance. I recently wrote a song that I really liked. It worked well in a stripped-down or solo set. But after playing it out a while, I decided I wanted to see what I could do with it to make it work when playing with “Shawn Price & The Residents.” The project has some incredible musicians in it, so I simplified the chord structure and changed the entire vibe of the song to leave room for the rest of the band to really shine and it really elevated the song to the next level. I’m so glad that I didn’t treat it as an immutable object and gave myself permission to experiment.”

What is the music scene like where you’re based?

“The singer-songwriter community here in Columbus, OH, is incredibly supportive in my experience. After taking a long time off from the music scene and coming back, they welcomed me with open arms, and there were a lot of opportunities to plug back in. There’s a good group of people in town who do things truly for the benefit of others with no agenda of their own, and that energy and mentality really rubs off on others.”


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