I never really had an interest in music. At age fifteen, my music collection basically consisted of 3 Doors Down’s "The Better Life", an REO Speedwagon CD that my brother made, and a few others. I listened to the radio quite often, but it was just noise to me. It wasn’t anything special until one boring summer day when everything changed.
I was in my room when a song started playing on the radio. It wasn’t a thundering, hardcore death-metal song. It was a simple tune, and something about it made me stop just to absorb every second of it. I was awestruck. The guitar and drums added a flawless musical background as emotion and meaning flowed from every word . I had never heard anything so moving.
Naturally, the radio neglected to mention the name of the song or the band, so I spent the next day endeavoring to find out who this band was. After a little research, I found that the song that had had such a deep impact on me was "45" by Shinedown. Within several days of finding this information, I went out and purchased "Leave A Whisper" and their newly released album - "Us and Them".
Over the next year, I gained a profound appreciation for music. My CD collection multiplied exponentially. Songs I had repeatedly heard on the radio felt as though I was just hearing them for the first time. I even purchased a guitar with the singular goal of being able to play the song that had given me such an appreciation for music. I managed to achieve that goal and playing guitar has since then turned into nothing short of my passion. My achievement of learning a single song has since morphed into a new goal. A goal of being able to play many songs and to being able to play them as well as my heroes.
Brent Smith, Jasin Todd, Brad Stewart, and Barry Kerch are my heroes. Together, they form Shinedown. Most people would consider them the same as every other band, yet to me they are so much more. They don’t care about money or fame. They only care about the music - their passion. It’s something they can’t live without, and because of them, it’s something I can’t live without either. It’s because of them that I have something to aspire to in my life. It’s because of them that I’ve found my passion. To quote Brent Smith: "It’s an amazing thing to have the gift of being able to play music. It’s not a job. It’s an honor."
This is why Shinedown are my heroes. They are everything that musicians should be. They put their hearts and souls into every song they create. They play them with a passion that is unrivaled in the music industry. But most importantly, they make music to give people inspiration and hope. They care about their music. And every time I hear a Shinedown song, I think of the message written on the inside of their album:
This record was written for the dreamers.
For the people that have, in one way or another
been cut down or cast out of society for being
different or having an
opinion. It is an expression of
insecurity and frustration, and yet, the will to overcome