Photo Courtesy Netherfriends
Shawn Rosenblatt has some big ambitions. The Chicago based musician, who performs under the name “Netherfriends” recently set out on a massive project that would land him in front of audiences across the nation. We’ll get a taste of that ambition this Saturday when he plays the Replay. It’s part of his tour to support the release of his sophomore LP, Middle America from his 50 States Project. His goal is to record a song in every state.

Playing a show in every state is no easy task, especially if you’re a solo artist. But Rosenblatt says he was tired of touring without a purpose. “I really am afraid that at some point I’m going to wake up and not want to do music anymore,” he says. “I just wanted to record as much material as possible in on year and play a lot of shows.” Going on this mission alone is helping the soloist take command of his journey. “I don’t really have someone telling me where I should go on tour,” says Rosenblatt. “There’s no one dictating my life currently. I’ve been very lucky in that sense.”

Lawrence is one of the cities involved with the project; and while Rosenblatt enjoys playing in college towns, they can sometimes pose a challenge. “The problem with the Midwest is there’s a lot of college towns, and if I don’t play there every single month, people will forget you,” says Rosenblatt. “I think the Midwest is a tricky place for me as a musician.” Again, tackling this problem alone as a solo artist gives him the upper hand. “It gets a better reaction than when I played with a band,” says Rosenblatt. “I just learned how to play to strangers over the course of two years. I know what it takes to entertain a room full of people that have never heard you before.”

So what does it take? Apparently a lot of movement. “I try to make it seem like there’s a band playing with me. I play drums, keyboards, I sing, I do harmonies with myself… I dance around like an idiot,” says Rosenblatt, who admits he feels a little like James Brown during his live shows. “It’s just a matter of showing that you’re confident. I’ve learned that if you move your hips and move around, people will respect you a lot more.”

See Rosenblatt move his hips and a whole lot more when he comes to the Replay on Saturday, September 1st.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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