Shame on me for only just finding out about Tommy Shaw and his penchant for bluegrass…

A couple of nights ago, while sipping on expensive imported beer, I got in the mood for some Styx. I went to YouTube and started watching videos. The more I watched, the more interested in Styx I became. I was particularly drawn in by the adorable Alabama born rock star Tommy Shaw, who is the lead guitarist of Styx and one of its lead singers. When Styx was really popular, I was just a little kid. So while I am very familiar with their songs, I didn’t have any crushes on anyone in the band… until now.

It started with this video… Doesn’t Tommy Shaw have beautiful hair?

This video kind of cracks me up. It’s so serious, even though Dennis DeYoung looks a little crazy with that accordion. Tommy and Dennis seem to flirt a little as they play this song, which could easily be a bluegrass song. Tommy’s playing the mandolin and singing beautifully. As I was listening to this song the other night, it actually occurred to me that Tommy Shaw could be a bluegrass player if he wanted to be… I didn’t know that in 2011, Shaw did release a bluegrass album.

The first Styx song I actually remember hearing is their 1980 hit, “Babe”. On this song, Dennis DeYoung sings lead and his keyboard skills are featured prominently. And then out pops Tommy Shaw, dressed in what looks like a sailor suit.

I have to wonder what prompted Tommy to dress like a sailor. It’s a little bizarre.

I really like “Babe”, even if convicted killer Daniel Colwell sang it (poorly) after he was sentenced to death in a Georgia courtroom.

I kept watching more and more videos featuring Styx, marveling at how much I like their music. I guess I had never really considered it over the years. And I really like Tommy Shaw and not just because he has great hair, can sing, and plays guitar like a god. Look at how he works the crowd…

I love a good showman! And now that my husband’s is about to retire from the Army, this song seems even more fitting than it might otherwise be.

The Styx obsession continued last night as I found myself watching a VH1 Behind the Music special about the band. That’s when I found out that Tommy Shaw had ventured into bluegrass. I happen to love bluegrass, so I was definitely interested. For most of his career, he’s been a true arena rock star with Styx and Damn Yankees, but he easily proves he can branch out.

He’s doing fine with this song, “I’ll Be Coming Home At The Opry”.

This video was done in a hotel room. Hope no one was disturbed! I do like the song, though.

Actually, while I wasn’t too surprised that Shaw would try bluegrass, I do recall that he wasn’t thrilled with Dennis DeYoung’s desire to do softer songs like “Babe” and “First Time”, which Shaw described as “Barry Manilow style” music. I think I like Tommy Shaw more as a rock star, but he’s done okay with bluegrass. Maybe he should team up with Alison Krauss, who has seemed more interested in rock lately. I bet they’d make an interesting pair. Tommy Shaw rock star turned bluegrass artist versus Alison Krauss, bluegrass star turned rock artist… Hmmm… Edited to add, I just did a little more research and it seems Alison Krauss did join Tommy Shaw on a couple of songs on this album. That means I’ll definitely be buying it.

I haven’t yet downloaded Shaw’s 2011 bluegrass foray, The Great Divide. It’s interesting to read the Amazon comments about this album. Quite a few people were not expecting it and were disappointed. Otherwise, it was pretty well-received. I probably will buy it, though, because I have a habit of random downloading, especially when I’m enjoying imported beers with high booze content. I have discovered some great stuff that way.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!