Imagine hopping in a car with a guitar and just taking off with no real destination.
Some days stuck behind your desk at work dreaming of the weekend or looking forward to one of the two vacations you’re allowed to take a year, the idea of just taking off has crossed all of our minds at some point.
I recently sat down at Grain and Verse Bottlehouse to catch up with Harrisburg resident, full-time musician, and forever wanderer, Shine Delphi, to discuss his travels, his music and how this all makes perfect sense to him.
MJ: When did you decide music is what you are going to do full time?
Shine: Probably when I was about 21 years old. I had enough money to buy a car and a nice guitar (that actually cost more than the car) and just lived in my car. Now, I’m on the road about eight to ninth months out of the year just wandering around or going out with tours. I would just find towns that I thought would be interesting, find a street corner or bar and play there. Working like that helped me established myself to set up future shows.
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Doylestown, but when I was 3 years old my folks moved out to California where I stayed till I was about 21. I lived in New Orleans for the past few years but decided to move to Harrisburg because I have a lot of friends and family from the area that have all been so welcoming helping me out when I am home and not out on tour.
What is your take on the evolution of the music scene in Harrisburg?
It has seriously come a long way. When I first moved out here 10 years ago and my parents lived out in Mechanicsburg I would go to places like Johnny Joe’s, and all I would hear is 90s rock cover bands. So I started forcing my own original music into the scene because those cover bands would let me play my music between their sets. Now fast forward, there is a great scene of original music and art that is developing in our area!
Since you’ve played all over the country, how is playing Harrisburg different?
It can be difficult because at one point the city went broke. It became hard to make money here. I would bring musicians in from all over the country to play shows with me and it was difficult to get people to pay $5 to come out and hear original music. Then, no one shows up, the venue owner doesn’t pay the musicians, and those musicians will never come back. Harrisburg is still growing and bands are creating a scene for other bands to come in now.
There have to be some difficult and uncertain times relying on music as your means of income.
This isn’t my hobby and hasn’t been my hobby since I was 12 years old. It’s important that I just keep going, feet to the ground, go to places I’ve been, places I’ve never been and just keep connecting the dots. I hope to break through more than this but that will never happen for me if I don’t just keep going.
How long have you been playing guitar?
Since I was 12 and I was actually a huge metal head. I learned how to shred and one of my teachers, Chris Broderick of Megadeth, is also classically trained he taught me that metal is great but being proficient in styles like traditional jazz or old outlaw country will only improve my metal guitar playing. Eventually, I found that my voice fits more of the old school jazz and blues style instead of coughing up blood after playing a metal show.
How do you describe your style now?
I call it gypsy blues folk. I really like folk music like Bob Dylan, but my favorite musician of all time is Beck. So this new album I am working on has some electronic elements to it with some weird synth sounds and weird drum sounds. I feel it will just add layers and help develop my folk sound even more because the softer acoustic stuff is not always who I am.
Lastly, how do you keep working at this every day?
If everyone spent 40 hours a week working at something they love, I’m sure they would find a way to make money doing it as well. This is my job, I wake up every day looking for new places to play, new blogs, new magazines and, just new ways to connect and get myself and my music out there.
It was such a pleasure to sit down and talk to Shine and listen of his travels.
Maybe at some point, we all made the decision to either work because we have to or work because we want to. How he has dedicated his life to his craft is a great reminder to us all to make sure we are making the most of the time we have here.
Check out Shine’s Facebook page to listen to some of his original tracks and keep up with his travels all across the country on his upcoming tour.
You can check out tour dates on his website and make sure you check out a live performance from Shine Delphi when he comes back home to Harrisburg.