Jack Shea / Newsman

review by William Routhier



I was at The Tap Room in Newburyport a couple of months back, watching this excellent brother/sister blues rockish group whose name I can’t remember, and if you try googling brother sister music…  well, it’s hopeless for the moment. One day their name will float by me and I’ll write it down.


So I can usually spot a writer or musician in a crowd, and this one guy was by himself and watching the band observationally, like he was making notes in his head, and I said hello, good band huh? He said yeah, and in a sentence or two I learned that he was writing an article about them. Music journalist. Bingo. We talked a bit, and I told him I edited an online music magazine. He told me he was also a musician, bingo twice. In fact, he was more of a musician than writer, he said, and so we swapped emails and he said he’d send me a link to his latest recordings.


When our emails finally connected, he sent off his latest, Newsman, which is on ITunes, Pandora and Spotify. Its video is also on You Tube.


Now, whenever someone tells me they’ve got a recording, I have no expectations about it. The way it goes, it could be excellent, wretched, beginner or expert, or anyplace in between. So I was the proverbial              ‘…pleasantly pleased to find out his song was great!’ listener. Newsman targets Fox News’ slanted approach to the ‘truth’ and the power of it as a propaganda machine. The tune itself is immediately catchy, with a repeating four chord sequence that Shea sings over, and raps over, alternately, in different sections of the song. The lyrics are biting, there’s the occasional swear word that the radio will have to autotune out, but this song is poised to break open on indie radio, it would fit into The River’s (92.5 FM) rotation in a snap.

The video, courtesy of director Trevor Buckingham, is perfect for the song, with its newsprint appearing as Shea sings. It’s a distant technological relative to Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues video. Shea’s lyrics cut deep into the lies of the media and its history (the video has clips of early Bill O’Reilly and President Nixon with a ghostly Trump) and show a heartfelt pain at what distortion paraded as truth causes.


            I want the truth man, not the same old shit again

            making enemies out of the people who should be my friends


Edgy, truthful, jabs at the heart of media hypocrisy and sounds great. What else can you ask for? Deserves widespread airplay. Newsman has all the qualities of a heavy rotation hit. So DJ’s, do your job and break this thing.