A Great Find: not an Airplane

This is one of our favorite finds of this early 2012.

Nick Shattell wanted to do things his way. He didn’t want to shape his vision to someone else’s whims. He didn’t want to focus on booking as many shows as possible, and he didn’t want to pander to record labels. He wanted to focus on his own songwriting. So, in 2006, he created not an Airplane. After a few spells of couch hopping before settling in Modesto, it seems that Shattell is finally getting his way.

not an Airplane“This is actually my fourth release,” he said. “And while the other three feel more like demos that got progressively better, I learned a lot through the process of making them, outgrowing them, and deciphering what I could have done better, or worse even. Not to mention, the more time you spend alone in front of a microphone, the more the awkwardness fades away and you can actually reach some level of comfort.”

It’s that level of comfort and desire for growth that has led to the pure, organic sound of not an Airplane. It also leads to some interesting — and nontraditional — choices, like releasing an album that contains exactly two songs. “Speak In” clocks in at just over 16 minutes in length, while “Speak Out” is just a hair under 14 minutes. But if you’re expecting long, meandering, and drawn out snooze fests, you won’t find it here. Shattell proves himself to be quite an expert in composition. Although, my feeling is that he didn’t set out to compose much of anything. He just wrote what he wanted. And that’s what it sounds like, too. There’s nothing careful or reserved about this album. And it’s damn good.

It Could Just Be This Place is a showcase of Shattell’s songwriting, backed by a talented group that fuses rock, folk, and bluegrass. The songs center around central themes but bear the messages through a series of twists and turns. It rocks, it rolls, and it delivers.

The band is currently touring around their native California, and plans to release another album late this year. Also, they are working on “Speak Out – The Movie.” Below, you can check out “Speak In – The Movie.”