Music Notes: Shane Hines’s Wammy

by Steve Houk

A homegrown musician wins the biggest WAMMY and now stands on the brink of stardom with hooks and melodies that will put you, yes, in his “trance.”


When DC-area based singer/songwriter Shane Hines talks about stepping in the door of Abbey Road Studios, the hallowed musical home of his idols, the Beatles, to actually record music, his feelings of awe are clearly evident.

“That was friggin’ amazing. I’ve been [to Abbey Road Studios] twice and the second time, I wasn’t like, completely, utterly in shock, so I got to take more of it in. Beatles is my band. That’s the one for me, so to walk in there…and it’s not just the Beatles, you walk in and there’s the Dark Side Of The Moon speakers that they mixed that [album] through. But the coolest thing is that you think, ‘Hey, music brought me here.’ ”

Like most of his peers, Shane Hines could only imagine Beatle-type success at this point, but the good buzz surrounding him and his alt-rock band alter ego The Trance, as well as the clear passion he has for his music, are all palpable in their own right. In fact, Hines has developed such a great cult following that fans helped him pay for his last album. Judging by the roll this guy is on, he won’t need their help again.

In January, the Fairfax native and Annandale HS grad won the coveted WAMMY award from the Washington Area Music Assocation for best pop/rock duo or group, and is once again out on the road playing both regional and national gigs consistently, including an April 8th acoustic show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna. Hines also has two full length records in his canon with another on the way, and above all, has some great songwriting chops that all aspiring musicians need, to really have a shot.

“As soon as I started playing a guitar, I started writing songs.

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I don’t know why but I just felt compelled to do it.

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Over the last five years, I’ve really honed in on it. Honing in on the craft of it. I’ve also been doing a bunch of co-writing in Nashville, and just really thinking that this is how I want to make my living. I feel so lucky.”

Hines plays quieter acoustic shows where the venue or mood calls for it, usually with longtime sideman Brian Keating on bass, or he’ll turn up the volume with Keating and other of his collaborators for rousing rock shows. Hines’ sound is familiar yet also remains refreshingly original, with thoughtful songwriting amidst crisp indie-rock hooks and melodies. There are hooks that you might even hear in a ‘Gen Y’ TV show or movie.

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And that’s not an accident, Hines’ music has made it to the soundtracks of successful shows like The Hills and Real World.

“Our whole thing is that TV is our radio. The radio playlists are so small these days, the thing with TV is that they’re much more open to independent artists. We hope they like us of course, but we know it’s partly because if they want to license a Coldplay song for a hundred grand, you know what, they’ll go get song that sounds like Coldplay for five grand. So yeah, TV’s our radio and we really focus on that. I’m hoping that we should have some pretty cool things with TV and films coming up that we’ve been working pretty hard on.”

Above all, Hines’ acutely optimistic attitude and a true dedication to his craft are what could end up securing his future in a very tough industry. I mean, you just tend to believe him when he says, “This is what I do. This is it. And I’m gonna do whatever I can do to make it happen.”


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