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The Rise of Chuck Shaw

Singer and songwriter, Chuck Shaw is one passionate and determined young artist who’s diving in and chasing after his dreams. Shaw is a rising country artist located in Texas and just released a new music video for his single, Dance Across Texas.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw is originally from New Jersey and has a younger brother and sister. Growing up Shaw would visit his grandparents in Montana and Arizona. He was constantly going out west with his family, as well as going to rodeos and to see many country artists’ concerts. Naturally, Shaw fell in love with the atmosphere, the culture, the cowboy music, and that’s where his passion blossomed. Growing up, there was a library in Shaw’s hometown that had a bunch of old country CDs, including Texas country music, and cowboy music that he’d go and listen to. 

Chuck Shaw with his Grandfather, Charlie Burkhart
Chuck Shaw with his Grandfather, Charlie Burkhart

From the time Shaw was a child, he had always known deep down that he wanted to sing. When he was little he loved singing, loved music, and he was obsessed with guitars. Shaw remembers his parents bought him a guitar one Christmas when he was around 5 years old. Shaw would put on little concerts in his family’s living room, he’d put all his stuffed animals on the couch and even though he didn’t know how to play, he’d just sing and pretend to play.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw has been singing his whole life, he started singing in church and started playing guitar when he was 13 years old. Shaw was also 13 years old when he performed his first concert, he was in a band with two of his friends who played the guitar and drums. He was in the school band and had played at the Borders book store in New Jersey. Shaw took some voice lessons and guitar lessons growing up.

Chuck Shaw
Chuck Shaw

Shaw moved from New Jersey to go study creative writing at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Then Shaw ventured to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a few years. Shaw had spent a couple of summers working on ranches in Wyoming alongside a bunch of cowboys who did rodeo for a living there. Shaw knew deep down that he wanted to be a country singer and pursue music. Some of the cowboys told Shaw to go to Nashville for music and others told him to try Texas. Shaw had a feeling he’d eventually end up in Texas one day.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw decided to give Nashville a shot first, so he went to Nashville and lived there for a year. Shaw was glad he gave Nashville a chance but a year was plenty of time for him. Shaw had grown and learned that Nashville was an amazing city in general but it was time for him to move on. Shaw stated,

“It’s really hard to make money there because there’s so much music. There’s so much music there that they know they can pay you almost nothing because everyone just wants to play in Nashville.” 

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw had met Aaron Watson while he was in Nashville, Watson gave him some advice and told Shaw that San Marcos and New Braunfels are really good places to live in Texas. Shaw had read about the famous Cheatham St. Warehouse and how George Strait had gotten his start in San Marcos. From Nashville Shaw decided it was time to give Texas a chance. Shaw decided to move to San Marcos, Texas which is where he is residing now. San Marcos is located in central Texas, it sits right in between Austin and San Antonio. San Marcos has been the perfect location for Shaw because he’s central and can travel around Texas easily. This move has definitely been a blessing for Shaw, and he feels like he made the right decision. Texas has become home.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw started his band shortly after moving to Texas four and a half years ago. He’s been traveling all over and plays music as much as he can. Shaw writes his own songs, he’s got about eleven songs out right now. The songs, “Dance Across Texas” and “Rodeo Man” are his favorite songs that he’s released.   

“I love the old stuff, the Texas stuff, the cowboy stuff, and people love that here in Texas. My sound fits in much better with Texas than it did in Nashville.”

-Chuck Shaw
Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

The history behind “Rodeo Man” unfolded when Shaw was working on the ranch in Wyoming. Shaw had found a job, the ranch was looking for someone to sing and entertain guests around the campfire. Shaw called them up and unfortunately, the position had been filled. They said they really needed a wrangler, and asked if Shaw could do that and Shaw stated that he didn’t have a ton of experience with horses so that didn’t work out. A couple of months went by and the ranch gave a call to Shaw, they had a position open up again. They asked Shaw to come on out and they’d start him as a wrangler then move him as a singer. Shaw said okay because the position would lead him to sing and entertain guests. Shaw let them know that he wasn’t an expert with horses but he loves them, he loves riding and he’d love to learn. The ranch agreed to teach Shaw all of the ins and outs of being a wrangler and the knowledge of horses. So Shaw jumped on board, went out to the ranch, and got started.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

On the third day of working on the ranch, Shaw was out with his group on a trail ride, Shaw got bucked off his horse and broke his neck which is stated in his song, “Rodeo Man”. Luckily, Shaw just had to wear a collar for about two months for his neck to heal. Shaw could still stand up and walk, nothing extreme went wrong by his fall thankfully. At that point, the owners of the ranch were like okay we’re going to move you to the singing position now. One crazy thing is Shaw’s mom had dropped him off at the airport before his ranching adventures and she told Shaw, “Have fun sweetie, just please don’t break your neck or anything.” Shaw then told her not to worry, that he was not going to break his neck. Then three days later Shaw called up his mom and told her he was okay but he had broken his neck. 

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

This song is a composite of a couple of cowboys that Shaw knew while working on the ranch. Shaw wanted to write a song from their perspective of their lives and he also included a few of his own personal experiences while working on the ranch. Shaw noted, when these cowboys are rodeoing, they’re always on the road just how musicians are. Shaw can relate, it’s a similar lifestyle trying to get that one big win, one big show, or song. Shaw always loves hanging out with rodeo folks because they always want to hear the old stuff and they’re all really supportive of Shaw’s music.

“Rodeos and cowboy folks are so important for keeping traditional country alive and cowboy music too.”

Chuck Shaw

Shaw released his newest song, “Dance Across Texas” last year. Dance Across Texas was actually a dance hall in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, it has closed permanently. Dance Across Texas was one of Shaw’s favorite places, he remembers going there and he had assumed the dance hall was named after a song but after researching it ended up not having a song named after it. Shaw stuck with the idea of incorporating the slogan, Dance Across Texas into his next song. Some time had gone by then Shaw’s new song really took shape and came to life earlier last year. when we were all experiencing the lockdown from the pandemic.

Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Shaw had this idea because he had friends in New York City who were really locked down because it was so bad there and so Shaw thought okay, I’m going to write this song about a couple who’s originally from Texas but live in New York City now and they’re just really tired of the New York Life and just want to get back to Texas but they can’t so they’re going to dance, and pretend they are back in Texas. So it’s kind of an escapism about dancing across Texas and it’s this love story between the two. Shaw thought this is a song no matter where you are, you can put it on, dance, and hopefully it’ll transport you to anywhere in Texas. 

Some advice that Shaw would give to someone getting into singing as a profession would be if you really want to do it, you’ve got to focus on it 110%. You’ve got to play anywhere you can as much as you can.

“You really have to believe in yourself, never give up because you’re going to get rejected and you’re going to get turned down. You’re going to play in empty rooms, it’s really tough but you know you’ve got to believe in yourself, you’ll achieve your goals.” 

Chuck Shaw
Chuck Shaw - Photo Credit: Nicola Gell
Chuck Shaw – Photo Credit: Nicola Gell

Check out Chuck Shaw’s website, www.chuckshawmusic.com for a schedule of his show times. His music is available on his website and all music platforms.

Howdy, I'm Megan deFabry, I'm originally from South Lake Tahoe, California and I grew up in Reno, Nevada. I now live in Austin, Texas! I have a passion for all things country especially rodeos and country music!

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