Last September, laid-back local folk-rock singer-songwriter Austin Shaw released his debut album to a packed house at the Kuumbwa. That same year, he did some touring with Americana legend David Bromberg, as well as ’90s alt-rockers Dada.
“It was a busy 2017,” he says.
Only a few years earlier, Shaw was living in New York, working at an investment bank firm. Music was barely a part of his life.
“It’s the antithesis of what I’m doing now,” he says of his not-so-long-ago old life. “I was working endless hours and wasn’t inspired or enjoying my job. I was doing it to make money. I was doing it because that’s what you do. You graduate from college, and you go and get a job, and get on that treadmill.”
He visited his sister in San Francisco, and enjoyed the break from the rat race so much that he decided to call his boss and quit right there. After flying back to get his stuff, he first lived in San Francisco, then Santa Cruz, lured by the surfing and easy beach life.
Since then, he’s become quite a prolific songwriter. In the past, he’d mostly played covers. But he also wrote stories, and after his sister made a comment about how much they were like songs, he pursued the craft.
“I’ve always been a big fan of storytellers, the James Taylors and the Paul Simons of the world, [up] to new guys like Mason Jennings. There was always something that I connected with. I was actually an English literature major in college,” Shaw says. “Once the floodgates were open, it started to flow.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $9/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.