The Shams Band-Cold City

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If I were to ask a large sample of the local musicians I know to list for me their top five favorite Chicago bands, The Shams Band would come back on more lists than any other act. I know this because on countless occasions I get asked this question, “Hey did you see Shams Band yet? You got to, man. They’re great!” There are two driving factors, I believe, behind this universal love. Number one, lead singer Donnie Biggins is a talent booker for House Call Entertainment (who put on some amazing shows), and two, they happen to be a really, really good group. I hadn’t heard a single note by them until the free single they released a couple weeks ago. I had some expectations because I know that they sometimes associate themselves with Dastardly, but those expectations were my own projections, and The Shams Band shattered my thoughts and molded some new ones.

Their music blends some country and bluegrass with straight up rock & roll. It’s a crowd-pleasing style that leads me to compare them to Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers with a full-time banjo player. Donnie and Paul Gulyas sing a lot about lovin’ and drinkin’, often at the same time, and their words come through sincerely. Gulyas also provides the riffs on electric guitar, and when he’s allowed to he can really soar.

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