Shelley & Cal

Eugene, Oregon husband and wife team, Shelley & Cal James joyously create music that soaks into listeners' hearts and minds and moves even deeper into their spirits -- touching and changing everyone who hears it. Regardless of whether you're listening to the soul-stirring songs found on Shelley & Cal's new 4-song release "Something Goin' On" from 44-4 Records - or clapping along to their captivating live performances - the joy and authenticity that is the very heart of Shelley & Cal's musical mission always shines through. On "Something Goin' On" Shelley & Cal reach deep into their diverse musical quiver and shoot sonic arrows into every music lover's heart and offer something special for everyone.

The first single from Shelley & Cal's much-anticipated release on 44-4 Records is the elegantly arranged and written "Maybe" which speaks to the hopes, yearnings and questioning that every human heart experiences. The video for "Maybe" (which was produced by Brandon Crouch and directed by Matt Floryan) beautifully illustrates Shelley & Cal's relationship as artists and family and adds a compelling visual to the already enigmatic and uplifting song.

The whimsical and rockin' title track, "Something Goin' On" is a fun reminder of the joy of discovering that a friendship has possibly turned into true love; while "You Will Never Change" is about a love that will never betray us.

Another shining gem on "Something Goin' On" is Shelley & Cal's updated version of "Amazing Grace" which showcases a captivating, rarely heard chorus that brings new life to this cherished classic. "When we perform it, and people hear it for the first time, we've seen listeners' eyes fill with tears," says Shelley.

Those new to Shelley & Cal's live shows will find that they are as inspiring as their recorded music. "Our shows are very interactive," describes Shelley. "The audience often finds themselves moved to sing along as if they were a planned part of the vocal landscape." The shows feature a section they fondly term the "A Capella Power-Love-Duo." Modeled loosely on the vocal technique made famous by Bobby McFerrin - Cal sings the bass and rhythm parts while Shelley's vocals soar overhead. All who will experience the live performances of Shelley & Cal can expect nothing less than a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

How do you describe your music to people?
Our music is uplifting.  We blend pop/rock/soul to create a sound that is classic and modern at the same time.  Of course what I just said sounds so thought out, but really, it is just what comes out as we sit down with our instruments.  It is not a plan to sound like this or that.  We are music lovers first, and what comes out of us, is what has soaked into our souls from listening to our favorite music since we were children. 

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
We both grew up in musical families.  Our parents were performers, and we saw the art of music performance from the time we could open our eyes literally.  Shelley started singing with her parents and older brother when she was 4.  They were a four part vocal quarted singing classic and modern gospel and hymns.  They did appearances on local TV and toured western Canada twice.  She studied in high school and college under some great teaching, and branched out into pop singing in college.  Cal started picking up percussion in his parent's R&B band when they played weddings and parties when he was growing up.  He took piano lessons, and played in his school orchestra on violin through high school.  He started playing the electric bass as a sophomore and played in the high school jazz choir.  In college he played in the university of Oregon gospel ensemble, and various bands playing blues, jazz, and reggae.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Eating.  We love to go to our favorite restaurants, take in the vibrations of people together enjoying food and drink.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Trying to keep up with the 'to do' lists that seem to never end.  Secondly, taking time to work on our music can be the last thing on the darned list.  It so often feels like there just isn't enough time in the day to get to all of the things we need to do.  Somehow though, it works out.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Shelley's mom says that when she was four she walked into the kitchen and 'announced' that she was going to be a singer.  She has never had any desire to pursue any other vocation since then.

Cal thought that he was going to be a doctor or a veterinarian.  Thank goodness that never panned out.  Music is just more fun for my personality type.  Yes, it is a lot of hard work, and ups and downs, but I get to do it with my wife of 16 years, and no job can beat that!!!

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Our city is very arts-driven for its size.  It is easy to go to club show, concerts, ballet, symphony, art galleries.  There is a lot going on for a city like this.  So we make sure to take in as much as possible, because art just enriches one's life.  That makes us better artists, eh?

The other part of that is that we know so many people here, and we see folks we know at every event.  So we get to enjoy these things with others.  We might know the musicians putting on the show, so we'll go back stage, and encourage, give the love, etc.  We treat Eugene like it is LA.  When we lived in LA, we were just blown away by how supportive people in the arts are for each other.  They honor each others' work, and go to each others' shows.  Sometimes in small cities, artists don't do that as much.  But we do, because it is a sign of camaraderie, security in one's path, and creates good vibes in the community.

We also do a lot of charity work.  Charities are a big deal, and fund raising events are happening all of the time.  I think it is a special part of this community.
Finally, it is a great place to get out into nature at the drop of a hat.  I think that is very good for one's creativity.

What other artists out there do you love?
Sting, Heart, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Mark Alan (Eugene singer/songwriter), Jonathan Butler, Terron Brooks, DCTalk, Newsboys, Third Day, Joni Mitchell, Victor Wooten, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton, Mat Kearney

What does your future hold?
We have no idea...we always have big dreams and ideas, but never know how they will work out.  We'd like to complete our next album early in 2011.  We just got psyched by the fact that mix engineer John Van Nest (numerous albums including Michael Jackson - HIStory - Past, Present And Future - Book I)  who re-mixed one of our songs on our EP just wrote us an e-mail asking us if we are doing a full length soon.  That means he'd want to mix our record??!!!  That would rock.
Since we have a child who just turned one year old, we are totally into the kids' songs that have come to us inspired by watching her grow and learn new things every day.  So that is on the horizon. 
And, as we gather momentum in the recording realm (we were stalled out for years by a really bad business relationship that is now over.  Our current label, Penny's Gang Records, is great) we are going to record the Christmas album we've been talking about for a while now also.