Reggie Shaw honors his family with his music
Most people have someone in their life who has influenced and guided them to become who they are. For musician Reggie Shaw, that person was his grandfather, whom Reggie lived with from the time he was 10-years-old. His grandfather encouraged Reggie to pursue his passion for country music, and following his grandfather’s death, was the inspiration behind one of the most heartfelt songs on Reggie’s new album Drive called “I’m Gonna Miss Him.”
Reggie’s journey into becoming a country music singer started in his hometown of Overton, NE. At age 13, a dirt bike accident required an extensive hospital stay. He watched Garth Brooks perform “The River” on TV, and it resonated with him so deeply, he learned to sing the song and performed it first at his church, then at the town’s high school graduation ceremony. It was so well received he sang karaoke songs locally, wearing a big cowboy hat. At age 14 he taught himself how to play the guitar and soon was booking gigs at local bars.
After graduating from high school, Reggie wanted to move to Nashville. His grandfather packed up their belongings and they moved there together, living in a two-bedroom apartment. Reggie frequented clubs, watching the other musicians, then started playing on street corners, drawing crowds and leaving with a guitar case full of money each time. “One night drummer Johnny Barber, who played with Merle Haggard, walked by and heard me play,” Reggie said. “He invited me to tryout at one of the biggest clubs in Nashville. I played there for five years. It was my version of honky tonk university.”
His grandfather returned to Nebraska while Reggie stayed in Nashville where he had the opportunity to play with musicians such as Brad Paisley and Rascal Flats before they were nationally known. But like most journeys, Reggie’s took a number of turns. After marrying and having a son, he decided to take a break from music and moved to Dallas, but when the marriage ended, Reggie returned to Nashville and to his music. He had just reached a point where he had recorded a song that RCA was ready to contract when he and his first wife decided to remarry. He turned down the contract and again stepped away from music to focus on family.
Reggie couldn’t deny the pull toward his passion, and after another five years, he returned to the music industry, this time for good. Unfortunately, not long after, Reggie received the call that his grandfather had passed away. “I had a 14-hour drive back home, and before I was even out of Nashville, I had the chorus written for ‘I’m Gonna Miss Him,’” Reggie said. “The entire song was done by the time I reached Kearny, and I was able to sing it at his funeral.”
He was also able to sing that song on stage at the Grand Ole Opry—a dream come true. In 2011 he won the local, state, and regional Texaco Country Showdown and competed for nationals, where he won 2nd place. After returning to Nebraska to help settle his grandfather’s affairs, he decided to stay. But since Overton didn’t offer many opportunities musically, he moved to Omaha. “I had friends here and there’s so much to do,” he said. “West Omaha reminds me a lot of the suburbs of Nashville.”
The people of Omaha have embraced Reggie and given him tremendous support for his music. Meeting Dave Kotinek with the local band Hat Trick was a pivotal point. The two musicians clicked, singing perfect harmony together, and have regular gigs around town at venues such as Copa Cabana, Deja Vu Lounge, and Pitch. He also performs private events such as weddings and a number of charitable functions.
Friend and supporter Tim Thoreson said it’s easy to want to help Reggie become successful. “Reggie is so grounded and loves to entertain,” he said. “He has a huge play list and is great at performing.” Another supporter, Tydd Rohrbough, agrees. “His music has powerful messages,” he said. “He wants to bring people together, have a good time, and enjoy life.”
Reggie’s newest album Drive is available on iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. His songs reflect family, heartache, and living life. Some are upbeat while others are more reflective and poignant. He’s developed a loyal following locally, but his next goal is to tour throughout the Midwest at mid-sized arenas. He’s also been invited to a private audition this summer for The Voice, which would fulfill another dream—to walk on stage and tell his story to millions of people.
With more than 10,000 shows under his belt, Reggie can perform any type of show with songs by Johnny Cash, Eric Church, Tom Petty, and even Jimmy Buffet. His fans say he can emulate each of them but has a unique style with his own songs too. He performs almost every weekend and looks forward to it more than anything else. “I feel naked if I don’t have a show on Friday or Saturday night,” he said. And as he navigates his way through the music business once again, Reggie knows his grandfather is still with him, guiding him along his journey as his biggest fan.