A little wiki research into the symbolism of the “Dragonfly” perfectly explains why Missouri based rock powerhouse Shaman’s Harvest is scoring across the board success with the explosive first single from their new album Shine.
On Mediabase, which tracks national radio airplay, the song has been in the Top 20 on two charts-Active Rock and Mainstream Rock. “Dragonfly” has also been buzzing on numerous Billboard charts, spending over six weeks on the Rock Songs chart and also placing on the Active Rock chart and Heritage Rock chart.
While the song has scanned an incredible nearly 30,000 singles on iTunes, it’s also lit up phone request lines on stations everywhere from Springfield, Missouri and Omaha to Boise, Spokane, Flint, Michigan and Waterloo, Iowa, placing in the Top 5 of all requests. It’s also spinning in Salt Lake City, Detroit, Atlanta and Portland, Oregon, with more outlets still being added weekly—an incredible achievement considering that it’s happening based purely on buzz for a DIY effort, without any sort of major label promotion, distribution or affiliation!
Even before the band got around to shooting a video for “Dragonfly” late last year, the word of mouth on the song was so great that a fan generated YouTube video (with just an image of a dragonfly accompanying the song) became a massive hit; it’s currently up to almost 300,000 views. The official band video is currently running on two YouTube channels and has amassed over 150,000 views.
While the meaning of a dragonfly changes with each culture, they always represent renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. The multi-talented, Jefferson City based five piece band affirms this with every performance, whether they’re jamming at their home base the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri or opening for superstars Alice In Chains and AC/DC.
Thousands of the group’s fans will be flocking in late May to see them perform at three major festivals: Rockfest in Kansas City (May 15), Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio (May 22-23) and Rocklahoma on Memorial Day weekend. Shaman’s Harvest will be playing alongside headliners like Papa Roach, Drowning Pool, Seether, Three Days Grace, Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit, Slash, Deftones, ZZ Top, and Buckcherry.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently contacted Shaman’s Harvest about recording a song written by their staff writer Jim Johnston for wrestler Drew McIntyre’s 2010 entrance theme. “Broken Dreams” is currently being aired nationally and has resulted in over a combined 200,000 YouTube plays.
Dragonflies can also be a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity, which Shaman’s Harvest has brilliantly achieved as songwriters, artists and performers in the years since core members, front man Nathan “Drake” Hunt, bassist Matt Fisher and rhythm guitarist Josh Hamler first began jamming in high school. Last year’s addition of lead guitarist Ryan Tomlinson and longtime drummer Craig Wingate combined with the founding trio to create the perfect chemistry.
SH loyalists have long responded to the powerful melodies, rich harmonies and deep percussion textures that cut to the heart of what the band is all about. According to Drake and Josh, the band’s moniker touches on the ethereal aspects of the music and its unique power to soothe and heal, while also tapping into the primal aspects of music when, as Drake says it, “people were beating on drums and moving around a fire.”
Josh adds: “People are always asking us what the name Shaman’s Harvest means, so we like to say it’s the shaman spirit that brought us together and music is the harvest that we have created and reaped from that. Music makes us move, it’s a vent for pain and anger and an expression of all these basic primal emotions. We love performing live because our songs translate really well and the audience knows the difference between when we’re on our game and when we’re just sort of showing up. So that keeps us motivated to always be on top of things.”
“I love the fact that onstage, we never feel our songs have to be exactly the same as on the record,” Josh adds. “After playing the song for a while, we start rocking out and jamming a little bit, doing what we love to do. So fans that come to see us live should never expect us to do the songs from Shine or the bands other albums verbatim. A lot of artists just duplicate the recordings night after night, but we think by making every show unique the audience appreciates what we do more.”
Drake and Josh explain that there’s also a deep meaning behind the album title Shine. Drake says, “The band had been around a few years with various lineups and we were determined that this was the last album we were going to do if we didn’t achieve some form of national success. So it was our time to ‘Shine,’ and we’re all excited that there will be many more albums to come! The song is actually a burst of confidence, like ‘this is our moment and nothing is going to take us off this path.”
The band’s original plan was to follow-up their CD March of the Bastards by recording just “Dragonfly” and “Last Goodbye,” a compelling power ballad. These demos turned out so good that they decided to write and record more songs until they had what Josh calls “a solid batch of eight demos” that became Shine. The set also features fan favorites “Turn It Up” and “Strike the Slate.”
“Because we did things this way,” he says, “there was a sense of spontaneity, doing something unexpected that we really enjoyed, rather than writing and recording songs we had to write on a timetable. That spirit translated well to the music on the album, and we’re really excited that the success of ‘Dragonfly’ around the country has allowed us to play for several hundred people when in the past we were lucky if 25 to 50 fans showed up. It’s definitely more fun to feed off the energy of a large crowd that’s going wild, and we’re excited to get out there and do more of that this year!”