There’s something Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown learned from the enormous shows they’ve played supporting the likes of AC/DC, Jeff Beck, and Guns N’ Roses over the past few years. It’s what guitar prodigy Bryant calls “the cannonball approach.”

And that’s precisely what The Shakedown does on their incendiary third album, “Truth and Lies.”

The urgency of “Truth and Lies” comes partly from the speed of its recording.
After demoing 55 songs in Bryant’s home studio in Nashville, The Shakedown decamped to Studio G in Williamsburg, NY, earlier this year, where they laid down the 13 numbers that make up the record, mostly live, with a few overdubs, in just over two weeks. They worked quickly with six-time Grammy-nominated producer Joel Hamilton (The Black Keys, Highly Suspect, Tom Waits) because they wanted the album to sound raw and visceral, not careful and labored.

They’ve done that without sacrificing skill and nuance: it’s a brilliant rock ‘n’ roll record that allows the ghosts of the past into the grooves while living firmly in the present.

There’s also a new level of depth to Bryant’s writing, inspired by his realization that, while there’s no shortage of quality singers and guitarists, skill means nothing without great songs. So rather than being content with instrumental pyrotechnics, he set about writing compositions that had meaning to him – and that the kids in the audience would be able to relate to.

“There’s a hopeful undertone to a lot of the lyrics on this record. There’s new-found confidence that can be heard in songs like “On To The Next.” That song exists purely to make whoever is listening feel like a badass.

All of those shows in intimate clubs as well as giant stadiuds reinforced the ties between the four musicians, giving them the extra confidence to produce something extraordinary when they went into the studio.

Although it’s Bryant’s name on the marquee, The Shakedown is very much a band. Drummer Caleb Crosby has been with Bryant since the latter moved from Texas to Nashville to start a group when he was 17. Bassist Noah Denney and guitarist Graham Whitford make up the quartet, bringing fire and skill to the music. You can hear their fine-tuned understanding in the way ‘Truth and Lies’ grooves and rolls.

Maybe the clearest testimony to the power of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown comes in the form of a tweet Bryant saw earlier this year. A fan had tagged the band on a message noting their many fans amongst the most illustrious names in rock ‘n’ roll.


R.I.P. @masuimimax This can’t be! You will surely be missed. Gone too soon, you beautiful being. Thank you for gracing the cover of #STRIPLV and gracing us with your charismatic and energic self. We are very sad today. May god bless you and take you to a better place.

RIP Jesse. We are saddened and heartbroken. You’re gone way too soon. We loved you, and we’ll miss you. We can’t believe this happened.