Singer/songwriter Ty Gallaway always thought of himself as a one-man band. With a simple dream of being a lead guitarist and playing with his pedal board, Gallaway found himself involved in one project after another, until half a dozen fallen projects later he decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. “I wrote a few songs, and thought maybe I could just be an electronic-indie performance that was low stakes and less people to coordinate with,” said Gallaway. Still unfulfilled and desperately wanting to feel something from the songs that he was writing, he found drummer Jonah Samp and the band dynamic began coming together.
Gallaway and Samp, with the help of a few musician friends, quickly wrote an EP and from there solidified the band lineup. Today, Denver-based Shady Oaks is Gallaway, Samp, vocalist Loren Dorland, rhythm guitarist Isaac Vance and bassist Brendan Lamb. The now-official fivesome is celebrating the recent release of their debut full-length album, MAD, and are looking forward to special gigs like on January 21, where they’ll be opening for The Velveteers at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.
The inspiration for MAD, according to Gallaway, was a great deal of life’s mistakes that he “let go way too far.” The first of which has been a grueling and laborious day job where he spent much of his time reflecting and, inevitably, finding inspiration for his music. The second of which was a relationship that may have gone on too long, but was, like many relationships, a learning lesson and yet another source of inspiration. After some trial-and-error with Gallaway attempting to be the sound engineer for the production of the album, they took the music to Mighty Fine Productions and got it right the second time. “Mix all of that up and put in the ol’ pandemic nightmare, and you have a very dark and angsty, yet hopeful, debut album,” said Gallaway.
For Gallaway and Shady Oaks, the future is both bright and scary. Bright because the band continues to book bigger and better gigs, and they’re quickly building a reputation as one of the rowdiest shows in Denver. “Scary because the music industry is a total gamble and all you can do is give it your all and aim for the bushes,” said Gallaway, though he truly believes that with fate and luck, the band Shady Oaks will undoubtedly become something. Along with the January 21 show, Shady Oaks will also be at Moe’s BBQ on February 24.
The spring will also see the band returning to the studio, and Gallaway expects this next time to be much more calculated and organized, giving the band more time to “get all of our ducks in a row.” Their goal for the near future is to play out-of-state and start “spreading the gospel” of Shady Oaks. “I already lived past 27,” Gallaway joked, “so I guess we are in this for the long haul.”