After a long journey from Anchorage, Alaska, through the Yukon, British Columbia and down the coasts of Oregon and California I finally arrived in Los Angeles on a golden early autumn day. In Hollywood I knocked on the door of Stephen Marcussen, mastering engineer extraordinaire. He worked on half of my record collection – Cash’s American Recordings, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, Ry Cooder, Prince, Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch, Eels, Audioslave, k.d. lang, the list is endless…

A few months earlier, in the hot summer of 2018, four of us had gathered in our own studio in Berne: Simon Baumann on the mighty 40s Rolling Bomber drum kit, Michel Poffet on upright bass, Tom Etter on his beautiful guitars. Together with my friends I recorded ten songs in two days – two guitars, bass and drums. Nobody was wearing headphones, we played and sang live, the way it’s supposed to be done: four musicians, a room that sounds really good, a handful of nice microphones, no gimmicks.

In the following weeks pedal steel guitar, lap steel, some obscure stringed instruments were added. Then the guests arrived: Michael Flury with his trombone, Hendrix Ackle on Piano, Tinu Heiniger on clarinet, Jürg fuyuzui Zurmühle with his Shakuhachi, Rhani Krija on percussion. As our live engineer Oli Boesch likes to say: “Less is always more”. That was the motto throughout these sessions. This music almost mixed itself. The focus was always clear, the songs showing the way.

I didn’t care who wrote the tunes or how old they were. This resulted in a tracklist that presents songs from over a hundred years. Traditionals, songs by Randy Newman, Tom Petty, Country & Western, Hillbilly Swing, rowdy blues, three originals. And then all this landed in the hands of Mr. Marcussen on Hollywood Blvd., the perfect man for the job. As I write this the delightful Jeana Hadley is working on the LP and CD design in San Francisco, CA.

The album’s title is STEADY AS WE GO. It will be released in January 2019 on Blue Rose Records. It’s my 15th record. I know that musicians always say their new album is their best one yet. Honestly: I have trained for 25 years to make this album. With this band, these wonderful musicians and all the other good people involved I can say that I have arrived. This is the album I’ve always wanted to make. I can’t wait to play it for you.

Photography by Luis Gautschi

Hello all, it’s been a while. I’ve been very busy lately. After this summer’s symphonic mountain theatre extravaganza (Romeo & Juliet facing the Matterhorn) it was back to the old drawing board, chipping away on new stuff and finally completing the studio I have been building with my good friend Tom Etter. We’re up and running now, recording and playing as I write this.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to spend two weeks at Powerplay Recording Studios with Moes Anthill, recording their fourth album “Quitter”. I sat in the producer’s chair with Mario Baumann handling sound engineer duties. This young band centers around Moe Schelbert’s songs. I honestly don’t know how to describe this music. There’s americana in there – you know, banjos, fine acoustic guitar picking etc. but also catchy pop stuff, good lyrics and some elements commonly described as “alternative”. All I know is I like these songs and these people, they’re a fine bunch of musicians. I am currently recording pedal steel, dobro and baritone guitar overdubs. Mixing is scheduled for winter/spring. Look for a release somewhere in late summer 2018.

As for my own stuff, I’ve been doing something I haven’t done for a while: demoing new songs and in the process getting deeply lost in my new instrument of choice, the pedal steel guitar. The plan is to record a new album with this material in the coming months. I am also really excited about forming a new band with my fellow musicians Simon Baumann, Tom Etter and Michael Flury. This is going to be a band, not me and really good musicians playing my songs. After playing as a trio and then as a quartet it has become clear that this group of musicians has its own sound. So we’re about to form a real band where everybody brings music to the studio floor to be recorded and then we’ll go out and perform it for you. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, here’s a peek into the workshop. See you soon, best, Hank

hank shizzoe telecaster studio magnatone
My revived, beloved 60s Fender Telecaster, now with Tom Petty tribute emblem along with the current two amplifiers of choice: A brand new Magnatone Panoramic Stereo (2×12 watts of pure bliss PLUS spacey varistor vibrato) and a Fat Bastard Custom amp made by Carlo Milan at Gitarren Total, one of Europe’s leading guitar stores. It is equipped with a Weber 15 inch speaker and a harmonic vibrato and at the moment the choice amp for pedal steel. On the newly reduced pedalboard we find an Archer, two Strymon delays (El Capistan for tape-style echoes and Deco for slapback) plus the trusted Ernie Ball volume pedal and the switch for the Mag.

romeo julia gornergrat hank shizzoe

Im Sommer 2017 wird auf dem Riffelberg ob Zermatt das Freilicht-Theater “Romeo und Julia am Gornergrat” gespielt. Hank Shizzoe hat dafür die Musik geschrieben und produziert. Der ganze Soundtrack steht gratis auf dieser Website als Download und Stream zur Verfügung. – This summer you can enjoy an open air theatre production of “Romeo und Julia am Gornergrat” at the Riffelberg above Zermatt. Hank Shizzoe wrote and produced the music. Stream and download the complete score here.

Die Freilichtspiele Zermatt kehren im Sommer 2017 mit dem Stück «Romeo und Julia am Gornergrat» zurück. Vom 6. Juli bis 27. August 2017 wird auf 2’600 m. ü. M., auf dem Riffelberg, die wohl bekannteste Liebesgeschichte der Welt vor dem Matterhorn aufgeführt. Livia Anne Richard hat das Stück – inspiriert durch Gottfried Kellers Novelle Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe – neu geschrieben und die Handlung in das Bergdorf Zermatt verlegt. Das Stück bringt grosse universelle Themen wie Liebe, Freiheit und die Frage, ob die Liebe stärker ist als alles andere, auf die Bühne. Die Freilichtspiele Zermatt versprechen ein einzigartiges Theater- und Naturerlebnis und dies alles vor dem Berg der Berge, dem Matterhorn.
Exklusiv auf hankshizzoe.com steht der gesamte Soundtrack als Stream und Download zur Verfügung. Hank Shizzoe hat für “Romeo und Julia am Gornergrat” sein erstes Orchesterwerk komponiert und zum ersten Mal seit 30 Jahren die klassische Gitarre entstaubt. Als Gäste sind Michael Flury an der Posaune und Töbi Tobler am Hackbrett zu hören. Hier gehts zum Album.
Infos und Tickets: Freilichtspiele Zermatt

hank shizzoe romeo julia gornergrat

Two feuding Zermatt farming families. Their children, madly in love with each other. A headless doll appears as a bad omen. The pastor who foresees everything and recounts a telling tale to the enamoured couple: the story of Romeo and Juliet. A drifter with a big dream… The Matterhorn is all-knowing – and smiles kindly. Europe’s highest open-air theatre performances at over 2600 metres a.s.l. will be staged for the second time in the summer of 2017. Accompanied by magnificent views of the Matterhorn, an emotional and gripping Zermatt-based drama will again play out on the Riffelberg following on from the “The Matterhorn Story”.
Hank Shizzoe wrote and produced the score for “Romeo and Juliet at the Gornergrat”. The entire soundtrack is available for free exclusively on hankshizzoe.com, streaming or download. For “Romeo and Juliet at the Gornergrat” Hank has written his first orchestral work. For the first time in 30 years he as dusted off his classical guitar. Michael Flury on the trombone and Töbi Tobler on hammered dulcimer joined him for the recordings. Listen here.
Info and tickets: Freilichtspiele Zermatt