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Shinolas Develop Fervent Fans With Regular Gig At Tapas On Ann

by BETTINA HANSEN

May 15, 2010

Most people don't look forward to Mondays. But live-music fans who know the secret of the Shinolas do.

The Shinolas, a rootsy Americana band of local musicians, started playing at Tapas on Ann in downtown Hartford a year ago with a few simple goals: to have fun, to play good music and to play it close to home.

Because they formed last year, at the height of America's economic downturn, the band members also were intent on playing quality music without costly ticket prices. It was kind of like a recession-era band, "to get people together and not think about their troubles," says lead vocalist and guitarist Jim Chapdelaine of West Hartford. "And to be home by 10."

Because all of the members have day jobs as professional musicians, they agreed to play Monday nights, fitting the regular Tapas gig into everyone's schedules.

They draw their material from the Great American Songbook, an eclectic canon of rock and roll, blues, folk and vintage country music that spans decades. It's not uncommon to hear the band jamming to songs by Merle Haggard, Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash and Neil Young.

"We're doing music from the previous recession in this recession," says drummer Lorne Entress of Glastonbury.

The Shinolas sometimes pull in well-known guest musicians, most recently Chris Collingwood from the Fountains of Wayne and Windsor's own Big Al Anderson of NRBQ and the Wildweeds. Collingwood played old Ricky Nelson songs, and Anderson played a rare set from a solo album he released in the 1970s.

"We do whatever we want," says Paul Kochanski of Westfield, Mass., who plays string and electric bass.

Before the band starts to play, slips of paper with written reservations occupy most of the tables. Around 7, a diverse crowd of all-ages trickles in many of whom say they come each week. They banter with Chapdelaine like an old friend, and the band makes the rounds to catch up with fans between sets.

"These guys play with some heavy cats," says Matt Turkington, manager of Tapas who hangs out by the front door in a Shinolas shirt. "It's a whole 'nother level."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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