Somewhere along the interstates and freeways between Nashville and Detroit, David Shelby mapped out his musical direction with the final destination to “arrive” at country radio with a sound that was “in waiting.” Capturing the salt-of-the-earth and grit of Motor City, Michigan, the rock n’ roll history the culture is known for, and melding it with Nashville’s signature musicianship and storylines, Shelby created a sound he proudly identifies as “Rust Belt Country.”
Like a finely manufactured automobile, David Shelby “delivers” with lyrical precision, production polish and a finely-tuned talent to hold his own as an American-made independent with magnetic suspension who is poised to make a long lasting impression. He is a performer wired for sound whose talents are branded by his roots—the heart of America, built on hope and tenacity for the future.
“I really am a product of my upbringing. We’ve [Detroit] suffered a life threatening and paralyzing heart attack, rebuilt and restructured, and we’re a community that has learned to live and thrive. Detroit is a melting pot of cultures and mechanics and I’m the porridge! We like our beer cold and our cars hot; we’re Blue Collar workers who play hard and have a soft spot in our big industrial heart for country music. My surroundings have helped me to relate to, and understand, an international spectrum of personalities and depth of emotions that, in turn, enable me to perform on a level seated right next to the listener. My job, now, is to get them up and outta those seats!”
David’s introduction to music was as ordinary and customary as a serving of peanut butter and jelly on Wonder Bread, and his creative palate refined over time. A simply elementary pastime became a teenage essential; the art of performing became more than “child play,” it was a “life calling.”
"When you're born into a proud Polish-Russian family, you’re given two things as ‘standard issue,’ an accordion and a bowling ball...and I’ve put them both to good use. (It’s easier to pick up a split with an accordion!)”
David played the squeezebox along with his favorite Garth Brooks and Toby Keith hits that echoed from the radio airwaves of his favorite country station. He graduated from bedroom and backyard performances to garner a degree in Jazz. An obvious prodigy, David was contracted to form an entire horn section for The Wolfman Jack Fabulous 50s Tour at age 17. His talents on the horn were also recognized by global performers of Motown and heritage acts who tapped Shelby to play trumpet as a full-time band member.
“My teenage age years were not ‘the usual;’ while all of my buddies were playing video games, going to sports events or pining after girls, I was entrenched in a life enriching experience—one I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
The ace trumpeter toured internationally with award-winning recording artists such as The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Turtles, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Stevie Wonder, Davy Jones (The Monkees), opening for Styx and Foreigner, and playing before sold-out crowds at some of the world’s largest venues such as DTE Entergy Concert Venue and First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (formerly The World Music Theater) in Chicago.
A scholar of music and a well-rounded instrumentalist, David is proficient on accordion, trumpet, piano and guitar and it’s a good bet he’ll perform one or more at his shows. His stage experience and theatrical training have offered him invaluable insight and perspective, and the skillful ability to be an effective music translator—a skill that is not necessarily better learned but a craft that is the result of being “lived in.”
“My road experience has enabled me an optimum education and priceless perspective of the music and entertainment world. I have a genuine understanding of structure and mechanics, song construction, and what it means to be an ‘entertainer’—to welcome the audience and emote an expressive reaction whether it’s a love song, about a break-up, or a “hell-yeah” party song, I want to invite the listeners to join me in an emotional rollercoaster ride! Am I going to out-sing Andrea Bocelli or Keith Whitley, ‘no,’ but I can hang my hat on my musicianship and my end-all-be-all desire to entertain.”
A formidable entertainer in his own right, David Shelby’s show is filled with heart and conviction. His songs reflect his admiration for Nashville and the history of country music, the evolution of rock ‘n roll, and the rhythm and groove that shout-out: “Detroit!” Solid songwriting, good humor and emotional depth are showcased in his debut CD appropriately titled RUST BELT COWBOY. Where the rubber meets road and the pavement turns to dirt, the self-produced project highlights David’s exceptional artistry as a music mechanic.
“We wanted to produce this from within—to rely on our own talents and laurels. We wanted to make the music that we know how to make, so we brought Detroit to Nashville and we pushed one another to make sure the chrome was polished and shined and the lyrics classic to satisfy both cultures in a ‘happily every after’ end product!”
In the words of Cash: “I got it one piece at a time and it didn’t cost me a dime / You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town / I’m gonna ride around in style / I’m going to drive everybody wild / ‘Cause I’ll have the only one there is around”
David Shelby’s music stands apart making it clear his artistry is not a standard-manufactured product, but an American-made, self-designed machine and RUST BELT COWBOY is custom built as an assembly of the past…a model of the future…in a class of its own.