The Evening Shades - Photo by Bob Pennell

Meet The Evening Shades

The Evening Shades' 2013 to-do list might look something like this: find drummer, build catalog, practice, practice more, overcome stage fright, book gigs, record EP. Now that all that's done, members can just relax and enjoy the music.

Formed in early January, The Evening Shades is local boys Mark Anthony Smith on rhythm guitar, Matthew Tavis Johnson on keyboards, Stephen Kay on lead guitar and Brandon Amador on drums. (They originally called themselves Mousai, after the goddess of music. However, fans couldn't pronounce it, and another band already had dibs on it, so they changed their name to The Evening Shades, hoping it would conjure up images of sunny evenings and good times.)

The band has played Club 66, Red Lily Vineyards, Caldera Tap House, Bricktowne Brewing Co. and The Playwright, and is looking to set up more gigs for later this summer.

Smith describes the Shades' original material as "Coldplay meets The Strokes meets The Black Keys meets the Muse" or, simply, rock and blues with elements of pop, Motown and classical music.

"Time," released a week ago on Reverbnation, features six of the band's original songs — three by Smith, two by Kay and the collaborative title track. The album was recorded at Bluejay Productions' studio in Jacksonville with help from producer Mark Johnson.

The featured songs are all narratives about the human condition and are open to interpretation, Smith says.

"It (the album) is energetic without being flamboyant or over the top," he adds.

Last year, Smith, who had just returned home to Medford after two years in the Navy, was teaching himself to play guitar and picking up casual, acoustic gigs with Kay at Bricktowne. It was there that Matthew Tavis Johnson heard them.

"I'd been looking for a band for years," Johnson says. "I saw them and talked to them after the show. They were interested, so we jammed and really hit it off.

"We all write different music, but we all really like what the others write. We're happily all over the place."

They advertised for a drummer on Craigslist, Amador responded and, ta-dah, The Evening Shades was born.

The band's next show is at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at The Whammy Bar, 1620 Williams Highway, Grants Pass. The band also will advance to second round of the 2013 Battle of the Bands competition and perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at The Rocky-Tonk Saloon & Grill, 333 E. Main St., Medford.

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