An old soul from the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, twenty-one-year-old Trae Sheehan has been writing songs and performing since the age of ten. A lover of imagery and storytelling through lyrics based on old stories and poems, he never shies away from the hard stuff, instead setting it out in the open to be heard and discussed. Pulling inspiration from the country/rock sound of The Eagles, the folk roots of Bob Dylan, and the swift melodies of John Denver, his songs are written from a place of honesty with an understanding of people and culture gained through his travels and performances. With a new record and his guitar in hand there’s no telling how far he’ll go.
This coming spring Trae will be releasing Acoustic Sessions Vol. 1, an EP of stripped down versions of his songs. During the summer and fall he will be hitting the road hard in preparation and support of his upcoming sophomore LP Arizona.
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On a small alpaca farm in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, only a few miles from the Potomac river, there is a white house next to a two-tone tan barn. Inside, a 14-year-old boy sits in the kitchen, translating a poem written in Hellenistic Greek, as the Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975 play through his mother’s stereo. This is Trae.
Largely self-taught, Trae has been described by others as “Not quite country but somewhere between Jackson Browne and John Denver”, there are few genre lines he hasn’t crossed. On his 2016 release ‘Poet’ you could hear the intro track ‘I’m Not Letting Go’ being played on mainstream folk radio, or hear the song ‘Demons’ on a calm Spotify playlist. “Combine Jackson Browne’s voice with John Denver’s guitar playing and Eagles songwriting and that’s it.” He says of his own sound, “At least that’s the objective”.
With the release of his first full length record "The Storyteller" he's reached that goal. A slight departure from the warm pop/folk tones of his last EP, the upcoming album is meant to sound as real as possible. “The goal was to make everything sound big but only with the instruments we had in our hands. No crazy production, no re-amping or synthesizers, just us and the songs. The band really understood that and helped take it to the next level”. When the opening drum fill comes through the speakers, the sonic tone of the album is apparent. When asked about the record he says a lot of the record was tracked live, like the song "To the Girls" which was recorded in one take. "It was terrifying without the production to hide behind but it came out as one of my favorites on the record” He says.
In a time of instant gratification in music it’s hard to an audience's attention both on the stage and in the music-sphere of the world. “We as a culture always want the next thing, some of my friends don’t even wait for a song to fade out at the end, they just skip to the next tune while their phone is on shuffle.” Trae says about one of his greatest pet peeves. “I was driving with a friend and asked her to play a record, but instead of starting from the first tune she hit shuffle! You can’t do that!” He says laughing, “I almost stopped the car.”
With his roots planted in West Virginia, you’ll find the 20-year-old singer/songwriter now writing with Nashville songwriters, producing records with New York artists, and travelling to play shows anywhere and everywhere.