Michael Shaw’s debut album He Rode On

Michael Shaw’s debut album He Rode On will be out June 3, 2022. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Surrounded by the majestic beauty and rugged wilderness of the Northern Rockies, songwriter Michael Shaw worked as a horseman and wilderness ranger in Western Montana for more than a decade, patrolling the wildest reaches of Glacier National Park with his two horses, Pancho and Snuffy. Without knowing it at the time, that unpredictable natural landscape, and the isolation that goes along with it, shaped his upcoming debut album, He Rode On, bringing an unbridled authenticity to his music and truth in every lyrical reference—from living off the land to cheating death. Wide Open Country premiered the first taste of He Rode On with the hard-driving, honky-tonk lust story of “Cowboy Boots And A Little Country Dress.” (Michael Shaw, 2022)

“Cowboy Boots And A Little Country Dress” came about after Shaw and his cronies ventured to Elko, Nevada, for the “National Cowboy Poet Gathering”—a weekend which included an encounter with Canadian country artist Corb Lund’s guitar player and now-He Rode On producer Grant Siemens, Shaw learning the fine art of yodeling, having the legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliot sign his guitar, and meeting the song’s muse while swing dancing at a country music concert. “It’s exactly what happened on our second night in Elko,” says Shaw. “In fact, nearly every idea from ‘Cowboy Boots’ is pulled directly from my experience that weekend.” Fans can relive the wild memories via the raucous Jerry Lee Lewis-meets-Dwight Yoakam vibe of “Cowboy Boots And A Little Country Dress” right now at this link. He Rode On is now available to pre-save or pre-order ahead of its June 3 release right here.  

He Rode On leads with “Bad Honky Tonker,” a sly anthem described by Shaw as “the bastard love child of Keith Richards and Dwight Yoakam.” “Outlaw’s Refuge” follows, written when Shaw was living along tribal wilderness on the Flathead Indian Reservation, making homemade wine, hunting, and fishing, and harvesting the fat of the land. Carrying on that independent streak, the song “Billy” is inspired by his long-time friendship with a wilderness muleskinner who leads his life in an inimitable fashion. Through his time living in rural places all across Western Montana, including an off-the-grid cabin without running water or electricity, to his stint as a National Parks Service Backcountry Ranger, to seven winters as the lone caretaker of an isolated horse ranch on the Blackfoot River—and all of the rambunctious extracurriculars in between—Shaw’s captivating songwriting can be directly traced to his own experiences in the West. Yet his stories are universal, whether he is delivering a rowdy barroom anthem or a meditative song about the loss of a loved one. With a swagger in his vocal and a sharp eye for detail, Shaw brings authenticity to He Rode On, as everything he references on the album is rooted in truth.



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He Rode On release date


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