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Jim Drake’s Entertainment Blog: What’s in a name? Dag Shaw plays Pint Shack Feb. 28

I’m sure you agree — if there’s one population of folks with interesting names — musicians surely can be at the top of the list.

Wether it’s a stage name, a nickname, a name developed by fans or a name bestowed by fellow band members, these monikers can become so familiar to us over time because of the pervasiveness of pop culture, that one hardly questions the meaning or reasoning behind a person’s choice for a name.

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I was pleasantly reminded of one important aspect of names when I spoke to Ms. Dag Shaw last week — it doesn’t matter if you’re a marketing superstar, a seasoned classic rocker, or part of a hard-working local band — a name is a true expression of individuality.

Dag Shaw describes her solo acoustic act as sometimes “putting cover songs into a blender” and making the songs sound like they belong to her.

It seems Ms. Shaw’s music is still evolving and changing, and her original songs seem to be a result of her extensive and continuing travels.

Although she has only called White Salmon home for the last year and half, Dag has already played quite a few venues around town and more are on her schedule.

Her upcoming gig at The Pint Shack may seem like a small thing, but I got the feeling during our interview that she was placing a little more value on it — other than just a means for herself. One of the first things she said was that she was really glad to come out and support a business that had been closed for a few weeks during the winter. Dag really seemed concerned about coming out and supporting the local community.

I’m sure there’s a name for that.

Interview with Dag Shaw

You have an interesting name – is it a nickname and where did it come from?

I’ve gone by “Dag” since I was 12. I guess it would be a nickname, but it was something that I came up with to distinguish myself from all the other people who, had the same name as me (laughs). And it was different!

Since then I’ve met a number of “Dags,” but, at the time, in small town New Hampshire, where I was, it was definitely distinct.

So, more than anything, it’s probably individuality showing out of me at a young age, I guess. My family calls me Dag, so that made it easier.

Musically, you seemed to be influenced by Motown and rock.

Rock, Motown, a lot of bluegrass. Playing with bluegrass musicians sort of brought me up to speed in being able to play live, it’s a very fast way to learn. Even though by myself I really don’t sound too bluegrassy

... but it’s been a massive influence.

Have you been playing at any of the local venues here?

I played CEBU Lounge, Double Mountain, Volcanic, Sunshine Mill in The Dalles, and two others. Everybodys Brewing is on the schedule. I will also play a few Portland and Eugene venues.

If you had to describe your music in a few paragraphs, what would you say?

(Laughs) I have a hard time doing that. I have called it “bluesgrass” but it doesn’t seem to translate very well, people just see “bluegrass” and I think that they may be a little disappointed, so I’ve recently developed a different one, “acoustic roots” just to try and stay away from the “folk” category. I do a lot of covers, and I’ve been told that I put a cover in a blender and make it sound like an original. I think that’s a good description, putting covers in a blender and making them my own.

What would you like to tell people to get them to come out and listen to you?

I think it’s a great opportunity to come out and support a local business. For one, that’s the reason I’m going. More than anything it’s going to support this local business.

I feel that music is a gift and if I keep it to myself, and don’t share it, then I’m kind of hoarding it, and music is group therapy. So come get some group therapy and support this local business.

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