by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
Beckie Shaheen sees a lifetime of music involvement and endless possibilities ahead of her, after graduating from Augsburg College on May 7.
“There are so many things I could see myself doing,” said Shaheen, 22, a talented singer from Elk River who writes both pop and classical pieces. “The next two years will be all about finding what works best. I would love to have a mix of pop and classical.”
Her band, Becky Shaheen and the Midnight Hour, had a plumb gig on Wednesday, May 11, playing at the Fine Line Music Cafe. Her dad, Joey, and his band, The Wrong Omar, also played a set. Joey is a member of Becky’s band, too.
“They have had some really big names come through,” said Shaheen, 22, about the Fine Line, “but they are also very good about putting a lot of local musicians on.”
Shaheen and her band drew a large crowd of enthusiastic fans, many of whom had heard them play at previous venues.
The band consists of ERHS and Augsburg classmate Aren Olson (guitar, vocals), drummer Fred Torvick, and her dad on bass guitar.
Shaheen and Olson compose a variety of music that ranges from intimate folk to hard-hitting, energetic rock. Both made a strong connection to the audience during their vocals.
The band has been getting gigs at Minneapolis clubs including Arcadia Cafe, 331 Club and Red Stag Supper Club.
“Aren and I have been playing music together since middle school, and he has been great at giving me constructive criticism for my songs,” said Shaheen. “In the past two years as the Midnight Hour has been really becoming a band, Aren started to show me fragments of his own songs and together we have been writing what has become (I think) our best work.”
Asked what songs get the best responses, Shaheen said that “Subject Matter” and “Little Things,” both on our E.P., are “incredibly catchy” and people often leave singing those hooks. “Honeybee” and “Amalie” get the “Wow that was beautiful” type comments. “She Fell” is a new high-energy offering that people seem to love to jam to.
The band and songwriters are blending many influences and styles. They do two separate sets — an acoustic, chill music that meshes well with the Minneapolis folk scene, and the higher-energy material with aspects of jazz, punk, piano pop and 80’s rock that they played at Fine Line.
With the Augsburg jazz band, Shaheen has sung at the Dakota twice, at the State Theatre, and at Famous Dave’s in Uptown, a popular blues venue. She sang at Augsburg’s graduation and at the mass beforehand.
Along with performing, Shaheen works as a writer and singer at In the Groove Productions in Minneapolis, which does commercial music, and recently took a part-time job as music director at the new Elk River Lutheran Church.
Joey Shaheen, meanwhile, is taking break from his career as a computer programmer to pursue his own music goals and have the experience of performing with Beckie. He plays bass and frequently chimes in on the harmonica to nice affect.
The Fine Line show was videotaped by four-person crew headed by her high school friend Wade Wojcik.
The event served as a release party for a disc by Becky called “Later Than You Think” and one by Joe called “Sunburned by Neon.” You can check them out on their web sites.
Shaheen’s Web Site has gotten 100,000 hits. Her address is http://www.myspace.com/beckyshaheen. Meanwhile Joe Shaheen’s Web Site is http://www.myspace.com/thewrongomar
Coming up for the “Hour” are Wild Times in St. Paul on June 2, The Coffee Hag in Mankato on June 21, and The Acadia on July 8 and 9 in Minneapolis.
MIDNIGHT HOUR LYRIC SAMPLES
by Becky Shaheen
Your hand on my cheek a refreshing cool, your lips on my lips…
The smile on your face says I love you so, but these are just memories that you’ll never know.
Waiting for something that will never come, do you feel it too or am I just that dumb?
Daydreams are something that never last, they become nightmares that become your past.
Waited to long or maybe you left to soon.
Now I’m stranded a stubborn and lonely loon.
As long as there’s hope there’s such thing as regret, certain mistakes that we never forget.
There’s always a right and wrong choice to make, a step that we should, but never do take.
From “Little Things”
By Aren Olson
All those little things that light my dreams.
Like the scratch of vinyl, my singing uptown queen.
They fade away as the morning calls my name,
It bring me back again.
Well there’s a hard and an easy way to play.
And holding on, never built those bridges anyways.
I know there’s nothing left to say.
From “Puzzle Piece”
by Becky Shaheen
Cause your my peace and serenity,
My love, and my perfect puzzle piece
We wake with the sun we’re so happy this morning,
there’s light, life.
From “She Fell”
by Becky Shaheen
And we’ll never find her now.
She was attracted to danger and that is how she fell.
But now really? Did you really think that was wise?
I told you to say no about a million times.
But now your story makes the children petrified.
It was over before you had the chance to begin
those who have the biggest bite will surely win. and he did.