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VIDEO: ‘Dual persona’ lands Langley musician on Sunfest main stage

Some know Shawn Meehan as a rocker, others know him as a country musician – showing off the latter
New Langley-based band. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

The rocker side of Shawn Meehan comes out whenever he’s in front of the mic.

His fast-pace toe-stomping songs, electrifying guitar riffs, and rockin’ lyrics are distinct, whether he’s on stage with his rock band, Trigger Mafia, or as his new country music persona known as West Coast Slackers.

And, it turns out, his relatively new band is garnering a lot of attention in the industry, which has Meehan charged up.

They play the Roxy in Vancouver this Sunday, July 30, they’re going into the studio with Brian Howes on Aug. 1, and they wrap up next week play the main stage of B.C.’s largest country music festival, Sunfest in the Cowichan Valley.

“How’s that for some local music news?” Meehan said.

“It’s a bit surreal how quickly this band has gone from just a thought to playing one of the biggest country festivals in Western Canada and having our debut single produced by one of today’s most successful producers,” he shared with the Langley Advance Times.

While the band was founded by Walnut Grove’s own Meehan, there are other familiar faces around him. He pulling in his bass player and drummer from Trigger Mafia to help bring his new vision for a country band to life.

The core members of West Coast Slackers now include Meehan, as lead vocals and lead guitar. New Westminister’s Chandra Russell came aboard as lead vocals, Tsawwassen’s Rod Senft is on drums, and Mission’s Jay Wittur is on bass and providing background vocals. Joining the Slackers in the studio and at Sunfest next month will be multi instrumentalist Darryl Hebert and Neil Passmore on guitar – both from White Rock.

Asked why he chose to switch back to country, Meehan offered quick clarification.

“It wasn’t a switch per say, but more of a case of getting back into [country music, too],” he explained, noting all his previous country gigs with Me And Mae dried up during COVID.

“My rock band is still moving along,” he assured Trigger Mafia fans.

He went on to explain the incarnation of West Coast Slackers earlier this year.

“I had an idea that was a bit different than the usual start-from-scratch approach of playing the local bars and get out there and slowly build it, etc. I proposed we recruit a female vocalist and a fifth player and pick a few of our best country rock songs from our previous projects and do a three-song live promo video,” Meehan explained.

Their manager Clyde Hill – who once managed Nickelback – started shopping the video around.

“Promoters for Sunfest loved the video and we were one of the first opening bands to be selected for this years festival. They liked it so much they put us on the main stage on Saturday night,” shared an overjoyed Meehan.

“We were blown away that the first gig booked out of the gate was the largest country festival in B.C., on the main stage,” he added, noting some bands spend years trying to earn the honours of performing on the main stage of an event of this calibre.

Booking that gig kind of started what Meehan described as a buzz that garnered the interest of Howes, an award-winning producer who’s worked with Luke Combs, Keith Urban, and Nickelback – to name a few.

“We go into the studio with Brian Aug. 1, to record our debut single. We are very excited!”

He’s not sure where the new country band will go next, but Meehan is loving the ride so far.

“This brand new band is so much fun live, I’m always looking forward to the next gig!” he concluded.

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Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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