Between the two of them, ‘Megan and Shane’ Baskerville have played just about every kind of American music you can imagine. Born in Wisconsin and based in the Southwest—with a lot of rambling in between—they’re veterans of punk scenes, bluegrass circuits, ska bands, even hip-hop acts, all of which informs their work with the School of Rock franchises they operate in Arizona. Discover ‘Scars’ the January 21st in Formula Indie

Between the two of them, ‘Megan and Shane’ Baskerville have played just about every kind of American music you can imagine. Born in Wisconsin and based in the Southwest—with a lot of rambling in between—they’re veterans of punk scenes, bluegrass circuits, ska bands, even hip-hop acts, all of which informs their work with the School of Rock franchises they operate in Arizona. Discover ‘Scars’ the January 21st in Formula Indie

But nearest and dearest to
their hearts is country music, which allows them a unique opportunity to meld all these disparate
interests, and to air their darkest secrets. Defined by Megan’s force-of-nature vocals and Shane’s inventive
guitar playing, their full-length debut, Daughter of Country, is a memoir set to music, every word the
God’s honest truth, as the husband-wife duo re-create the sounds pioneered by their heroes, while putting
their own personal spin on the genre.
“I’m a daughter of country, raised my whole life,” Megan sings on the barn-burning title track. As her
husband provides a hand-on-shoulder guitar solo, she recounts a rough childhood and a broken family,
but the song also conveys the solace and wisdom that country music offered her. It’s clear they’ve both
taken such lessons to heart, as she channels the grit and integrity of Loretta, the heartache and dignity of
Patsy, the clarity and self-possession of Tammy. Growing up, she saw those women as mothers. “Patsy
Cline in particular, she’s just so strong,” says Megan. “Her voice didn’t have that country twang, but it was
booming and powerful. She embodied strength to me. That was something I wanted to be. She helped me
daydream of a different life.”
Country, in other words, raised her right. Megan and Shane don’t simply recount those hard lessons, they
enact them with every note and every chord on their full-length debut, turning their tribulations into
triumphs. After spending her adolescence skipping school to see DIY punk shows in Chicago, Megan lit
out to South Carolina, where she apprenticed herself to a pair of bluegrass musicians named Roger Bellow
and Bob Sachs. If Patsy was a mother figure, those two guys “were my musical dads. They helped me
believe I could do something.” Meanwhile, Shane was touring with a series of punk bands before a
mysterious illness sidelined his career. “One doctor said I had six months to live, but I never gave up.
Instead, I packed up and started a career out in L.A.” Many years later, he relocated to Minneapolis and
used his experiences to teach kids at the School of Rock (one of his first students was Jake Luppen of
Hippo Campus).
It was through that organization that he met Megan, who applied to teach vocals. Instead of asking her
out, he invited her to start a ska band. Their first real date was a Motorhead show at the legendary
Minneapolis venue First Avenue. The attraction was romantic, but also musical, as they realized they
complemented each other in every way. Not long after that, they split for Arizona to open and operate a
School of Rock franchise in the Southwest. In 2013, they flew to Memphis, booked sessions time at Sun
Studio, then got married the next day at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
The School of Rock has been important to them both as educators and as artists. “We love what it does for
kids, and that is really, really special to us,” says Megan. “We love that we can employ other musicians,
too. But something was missing. We weren’t feeding ourselves creatively.” When Covid slowed their work
with the school, the couple found themselves with extra time on their hands, so they started writing a
batch of new songs—deeply personal, deeply harrowing songs about hard upbringings, death scares, true
love, and what looked to them to be a world falling apart. It was a creative breakthrough. “We had realized
our songwriting was skating around what the actual story was and the real emotion behind it,” says Shane.
“We weren’t really digging in. So we just ripped off the BandAid and let it all fly out. When we wrote these
songs, we felt like they were different.”
So they wanted to treat them differently, with a bit more care and consideration. Megan and Shane were
so committed to these new songs that they sold their house to fund the creation and promotion of an
album that would serve as their defining statement. First and foremost, they wanted to hire an outside
producer—someone who could bring a different perspective to the music. After considering candidates all
over the country, they finally settled on somebody just down the street: Bob Hoag, who runs Flying
Blanket Recording in Mesa, Arizona, and has helmed albums by Courtney Marie Andrews and the Gin
Blossoms, among many others. To capture both the sound and the spirit of the country music they loved,
they recorded to tape rather than digitally, often using first takes to preserve the spontaneity of the
performances. One area where they took their time, however, was with Megan’s vocals. “Every time we’ve
recorded before,” she says, “my vocals always got pushed to the end and I never got to spend the time to
get the perfect take.”
“Megan’s such a stronger singer, and her rough tracks would be pretty solid. She wouldn’t be giving it her
all on the rough tracks, but nobody understood that because they were so good. They just assume it can’t
get any better,” adds Shane. When Hoag suggested they use her first takes, she put her boot down. Megan
insisted she could do better, and that she did, pushing herself to capture those moments perfectly. That
was especially important on the standout “Scars,” on which she tells the stories behind the wounds to her
body and to her heart. There’s a moment toward the end when the instruments all fall away to leave just
her voice confessing unspeakable tragedy: “This one’s when I lost that little baby, Lord how I cried and
how I cried.” It’s devastating, but the clarity and steadiness of her performance show just what it takes to
survive such heartbreak.
On that and every other song on Daughter of Country, Megan and Shane strip away everything that might
stand between them and their listeners. It takes a lot of guts to show those scars to the world, but that’s
what country is. That’s what makes it so relatable to listeners looking for musical mothers and fathers.
“It’s a sad album,” says Megan, “but it needed to happen.” Shane agrees: “I don’t think we even had a
choice. It all just came out. We had to bare our souls to put those things to bed and move on with our
lives.”

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