Allen Epley of Shiner and The Life and Times will be releasing debut solo record Everything via Spartan Records on January 6th, 2023. The lead single “Thousand Yard Stare” has already been released, taking on a hard subject, hidden alcoholism.
“Thousand Yard Stare” is about a person close to me who’s consistently lied to me about their drinking. Hidden solitary drinking. It’s written from their view point and they’re clearly at an all-time low. Definitely driving away from everything; away from the other person; away to indulge and to give up on trying anymore.
Sonically we shot for a Jeff Lynne styled production and Dan Dixon nailed it perfectly. This is one of the tunes that i played everything on. Normally the drum tracks i’d put down were shit but we were like “well alright!” and they got used.
Epley’s earliest musical interests were artists like Bread, James Taylor, Carol King, Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat and Tears, and 5th Dimension. The music that he made in the 90’s and 00’s with his bands veered closer to bands like Swervedriver, Slint, early Smashing Pumpkins and Failure.
It wasn’t until he was writing a batch of cues for reality TV in 2018 that he realized that these early musical loves were still embedded in his subconscious. One of the cues written caught his attention as being something worth exploring; this song became “Spider Rico” and it pointed the way toward Everything, Epley’s debut solo LP.
He enlisted Mike Burns, his friend and co-worker from Blue Man Group Chicago, to add lap steel to one song. Of course, Burns ends up on almost the whole record and informs us that what we’re hearing is actually a new genre known as “Space Country.” Friend and producer Dan Dixon was brought in to mix and realized Allen’s drum parts were good, but these tracks begged for tighter production of the 70’s. Chris Prescott (Pinback, No Knife), Mike Myers (The Life and Times, The String and Return) and Darren Dodd were brought on to finish these pieces.