Hearing a live recording of legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix changed Jim Shaneberger’s life.
“I said, ‘I want to do that,’ ” the Grand Rapids musician recalled.
So, he picked up a guitar at 13, played his first gig at Billy’s Lounge at 15, and never looked back.
Shaneberger, perhaps best known as the bassist for blues’ Donald Kinsey Band and the Greg Nagy Band, has turned his passion for music into a full-time job, having played for a host of West Michigan blues, rock, funk and experimental rock groups over the years. He also performs in Daybreak Praise Band and the classic rock cover band, Cold Cash Machine.
But on Friday night, Shaneberger will do the “solo thing,” opening the Earth Day concert at Grand Rapids’ Fountain Street Church with a solo set, displaying his guitar-playing talents and his singer-songwriter material.
Shaneberger concedes that performing on one’s own can be a different and more daunting challenge, but it’s also an approach the soulful singer and Allendale High School grad has grown comfortable with as he writes and collects material for a debut solo album he hopes to eventually release.
On Wednesday, Shaneberger joined Dave Jaconette and me at News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW) to play an unusual, compelling acoustic rendition of The O’Jays’ 1973 hit “Love Train” on Local Spins Live. You can view video of that below, with a full podcast of Wednesday’s interview here.
(And take a gander at last week’s Local Spins Live performance by Lynn Thompson here. Shaneberger, by the way, has played with the Lynn Thompson Band in the past.)
It’s just another example of Shaneberger’s versatility, something which Michigan blues guitarist Greg Nagy has spotlighted, with Shaneberger collaborating as a songwriter on three tracks on Nagy’s latest album, “Fell Toward None,” as well as playing bass and singing backing vocals.
“Aside from being a beautiful player, he’s a great guy,” Nagy once told me in describing Shaneberger.
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Earth Day concert on Friday at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, kicks off with Shaneberger at 7 p.m., followed by the Karisa Wilson String Band at 8:30 and Lansing’s Steppin’ In It at 10 p.m. Admission to the show sponsored by Founders Brewing Co. is $15 or $10 with a Grand Rapids Public Library card, with food and beer available, along with environmental education programs also on the agenda. Doors open at 6 p.m.