Shake Senora (1998-2001)
I started out as the lead singer of Shake Senora; a world-beat, pop, jazzy, folky , funky eclectic as heck band that thrived out of the Boston area from 1999 – 2001. The musicianship of this band is probably the highest I’ve ever been exposed to, especially when you factor in the young ages of the members at the time. High school best buddy bassist (yaiii alliteration!) Fez Aswat and I were the founders and leaders of the band. I still play with Fez whenever we are in the same place. We are involved in a project right now where he is using his talents for arrangement, writing, bass playing and ferreting out great material to mine my back catalogue for a group of songs we can rework or just make sound better with the two of us. A kind of “Best of Owen Plant as Fez sees it and adds bass to”
Amazingly Swedish sax player and NYC area audio engineer Mattias Murhagen was the third member to join as the leader of the horn section, writing most of the parts. He also produced 3 of my solo albums afterwards and has a very demented sense of humor. Amazing sax soloist Janet Harris and trumpet player Ed Salveraj rounded out the horn section and Kyle Saulnier joined us after Janet moved away and for our first and only east coast tour in the summer of 2001. Janet’s brother Michael Harris was our first percussionist followed by Justin Feinstein, who is the percussionist on our one and only album, For the Likes of a Commoner (2000). Mathias Kunzli played both drums and percussion on a sub bassis and did the awesome percussion tracks on my first solo EP, This is the One. Virtuoso drummer Deantoni Parks, also on that EP, went on to play with people like Loren Hill, Me’shell Ndegeocello and is now the drummer for The Mars Volta, was our first drummer but was replaced by Austrian drummer extraordinaire Harry Tanchec after the recording of the CD. Adam Strum was our first guitarist and is who you hear on the album but was replaced by Tak Tanaka after Adam relocated to NYC. The other Jamaican in the band was also the other Michael Harris in the band. Jamaican Michael was our backup singer until he finished his studies in Boston and returned to our country of origin.
We had enough material for a second album but never got to do it with the final lineup: Fez, Mattias, Tak, Harry, Ed and me. Maybe one day! I still have the CD from this project on the merch table at gigs so request it if it’s not out. Seasoned players, like my Sunshine Bretherin, are continually surprised that my first band was as tight and talented as this. I had no idea at the time of course cuz it was straight from my living room playing for my family and friends to Boston headlining the House of Blues with up to 9 other cats – I just thought that was what all bands sounded like right off the bat! Boy was I wrong.
My next band was Kumina. We did the bar scene in New England for a year or so, mixing in old school reggae covers with my originals. The musical director was former Shake Senora guitarist Tak Tanaka who is now the king of Japan guitar. Dimitri and Nicos, two Greek cousins going to Berklee, were bass and drums respectively and two of the funniest craziest guys I’ve ever shared vans and stages with!
Sunshine Brothers (2007-2011)
We are on hiatus right now but still on excellent terms and will hopefully collaborate again soon. Go to the website for more info on the history of the band and the music www.thesunshinebrothers.com. Many of the tracks you hear on this website are from our CD and demo tracks and are also on the band site.