Fifty Shades of Red

A Shade of Red is ready to get back to gigging after taking a break of nearly a year to woodshed new material, and their return to the stage on June 1 at Peach’s will feature a wealth of new songs and sounds. “We have been playing pretty consistently, just not on stage,” notes Georgia […]

Dayton power trio A Shade of Red
at Peach’s


Georgia Goad, Sean Pennington, and Alessandro Cortez (L-R). Photo: Gary McBride

By Gary McBride

A Shade of Red is ready to get back to gigging after taking a break of nearly a year to woodshed new material, and their return to the stage on June 1 at Peach’s will feature a wealth of new songs and sounds.

“We have been playing pretty consistently, just not on stage,” notes Georgia Goad, singer and guitarist. “Rehearsing and writing. This year, we tried something new—we’d all get together and jam out whatever came to us. So about half the new material came from that process. I really enjoyed it. It was nice to get together without the pressure of having to rehearse for a gig, and instead just practice and write,” adds Georgia.

“And these are really the first songs written with Alessandro as part of the writing process,” notes drummer Sean Pennington, referring to bassist extraordinaire Alessandro Cortez.

“Now there’s enough that we can start playing these new songs live, and see how they go, and we can continue to fine tune them, until we’re ready to record the next CD,” adds Sean. The band has already released two full-length CDs and a 4-song EP.

Georgia and Sean started playing together as a duo in 2009. “It’s a long-term relationship,” says Georgia. “We’ve been playing [as a trio] with Alessandro since 2012.” The addition of Alessandro added a new dimension to the band’s sound, and has freed Georgia to be a more aggressive lead guitarist, vocalist, and soloist.

Asked about the name “A Shade of Red,” Georgia confesses “I do tend to blush when attention is focused on me, especially when I first started out performing. I used to play with a guy named Jeff, and before one show I joked that I was going to turn ‘a shade of red,’ and he suggested we use that as the band name. Then a couple months later, Sean took Jeff’s spot, and the name stuck.”

“Then we named the first album Blush,” Sean notes. “Also, P!nk was already taken,” he adds with a wink.

“I was painfully shy for many, many years,” Georgia recalls. “Playing out was very cathartic, a way of expressing things I didn’t feel I could express otherwise. I do feel an openness when I’m singing and playing guitar that I don’t generally feel when speaking to people I don’t know intimately. Art and music has always been a way of expressing that which can’t be said in basic conversation.

Blush was sort of a softer ‘coming of age’ album.” Georgia continues. “The next one, Katta Pillar, which carries most of our more explicit tracks, I deliberately wanted to be an infusion of the most raw, passionate energy, to move away from the Blush album. When some of those songs were written, there were a lot of double standards, especially on radio play—you could hear something extremely graphic, and it was frustrating to get the message that displaying same sex affection was somehow more lewd, even just basic affection: holding hands, hugging, nothing that you wouldn’t see with other couples anywhere. But heaven forbid you have an artist who identifies as gay or lesbian or bisexual. It’s not that those artists didn’t exist, it’s just when it came to songs played on the radio, it was always ‘you’—they always avoided the pronouns. And that’s fine, but I think there was a not-so-great intention behind that of ‘well, I don’t want to alienate anybody.’ So, the song “Rain got a lot more explicit because I was frustrated with that double standard. I didn’t feel the need to shove it in people’s faces, but if they came out to see us play, they knew what we were about. They knew what they were getting, so it was more ‘hey you can come here and hear something that you can relate to and I’m not going to sugar-coat it.’ In general I don’t live my life trying to make a statement about who I am. You get to know me and you’ll figure it out.”

Georgia is not secretive about her sexual orientation, so I asked how that has informed her music. “Dayton is an extremely open city, and real inclusion comes from having all sorts of variety in the same place, and it not being an issue. If as a gay artist, I only played with and for other gay people, and said ‘oh there’s total acceptance where I’m playing,’ that’s fine, I think it’s a great community. But real change comes from finding brotherhood and sisterhood in people who are not like yourself. It’s not that you need those people to validate you, that’s not at all the message, but when people who are not at all like you can say ‘I understand where you’re coming from,’ then that’s where real solid change comes from. The Dayton community, as far as I’m concerned, has reached that level. So if there are any young artists out there, or anybody who feels they’re looking for a community, I hope that they realize it’s there.”

A Shade of Red will play June 1 at Peach’s, 104 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs. Kyleen Downes Band will be sharing the bill. Showtime 10 p.m. No cover, ages 21+. For more information, visit AShadeOfRed.com or PeachsGrill.com

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Reach DCP freelance writer Gary McBride at GaryMcBride@DaytonCityPaper.com

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