Live from the Boom Room | Megan and Shane

Live from the Boom Room is a live music video series featuring live performances recorded in the Blip Blap Video HQ bunker in St. Louis, Mo. Learn more about Blip Blap Video at, or follow them on Instagram and YouTube.

This week’s episode features Megan and Shane performing their original, “Things Don’t Have to Change.”

About this week’s artist:

St. Louis based Americana duo Megan and Shane Baskerville’s new album Peaks and Valleys encompasses one of the great love stories of our time. Its songs chronicle their odyssey from humble punk rock beginnings in Minnesota’s frozen wastelands to their time in the mystic deserts of the Southwest to their new lives in Music City U.S.A. They connected with multi-Grammy-winning engineer Brandon Bell (Brandi Carlile, The Highwomen, Alison Krauss) and an all-star cast of players to bring Peaks and Valleys to life.

“We knew we needed someone to push us,” says Megan. “So we looked at all the records that we really loved in that year, and the records we love in general. The same name kept popping up. Brandon Bell.”

 “I reached out while we were still living in Arizona,” Shane adds. “We were scouting out Nashville before we moved, and the three of us went out for coffee. After about five minutes Brandon was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’”

The trek across the country was a cathartic experience. They rode Arizona switchbacks at sundown. Wild horses watched them from the top of mesas, giving them permission to leave. They ate Texas BBQ. A cross the size of a skyscraper lit their way through a storm. They stopped in Memphis to revisit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music where they were married. They were practically chased out of what they call the “Murder Days Inn.” They eventually made it to their new Nashville home.

The album kicks off with the cinematic introduction of “Lasso.” Shane speaks, “As the sun crested the lower plains / Like a fire in the sky / We passed through the mesas of New Mexico / And there stood a pale horse.” The song then moves into a Ennio Morricone meets Orville Peck guitar line backed by haunting background vocals before Megan sings about how this transition in their life is “like a Phoenix that’s been reborn.”

The psychedelic country standout “Magic Rocks,” with its spoken word verses and melodically sung choruses, expresses the need for people to listen to each other to make the world a better place. It emphasizes how working together to achieve a common purpose through “love, patience, and caring” can take us to the next level.

“The metaphor of a woman in the desert represents the origin of the country,” says Shane, “and how things have been messed up, but it doesn’t have to be that way if we could all show a little more kindness and compassion. It’s my version of a modern-day Stone Soup. I wrote it during a magical crazy time—desert rainstorms, coyotes and butterflies were following us around. I remember sitting on the floor in our place in Arizona, watching people storm the capital on TV, and I just thought, ‘God dang. We just all need to be better.’ We have everything we need here on this planet, not just America, but on this planet, and it’s amazing!”

Their duet “Rose Colored Glasses” has dark tones, but Lillie Mae’s fiddle creates a comforting and uplifting vibe. It takes on the idea of preconceived notions, especially when it comes to homelessness. It’s a reflection on the importance of not judging others and living life to be happy instead of for material things. Megan & Shane have always volunteered at local food banks, where they realized their own judgments about homeless people were often misguided. The song encourages listeners not to “pity what may look gritty” and to avoid judging a book by its cover.

“We have our own struggles,” says Megan, “our unconventional lifestyle as musicians, and the financial instability it brings, is something we deal with, sure, but we’re rich in love, animals, and music.”

“Coast of California” is a fun duet that harkens back to early in their relationship when they took a trip driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a song of freedom and young love. The alt-country “Blue on Blue” harkens back to classic Bloodshot Records days of Robbie Fulks and Ryan Adams. If it doesn’t get you up and dancing, are you even alive? “Diamond in the Rough” tells the tale of a waitress who needs to get out of a domestic violence situation. Megan fattens up the Tom Petty-esque rock production with her Neil Young-inspired harmonica playing. “Oh Oh Oh” is about living life on the edge, and was written by Shane 15 years ago in a country-punk outfit. Now it’s brought to life by Tim Galloway’s amazing mandolin and banjo work, and Lillie Mae’s driving fiddle.

“We didn’t want this record to be just the Megan & Shane show,” says Shane. “It was important to us that since we were surrounded by some of the best players in the world, that they felt comfortable experimenting, offering us their expertise and having some creative control. We wanted the Nashville experience.”

“4 Strings in Pain” begins with somber, muted bass notes as Shane’s gentle voice sings about their friends Kent, Ri and Chad—a tribute to the bass players that they’ve lost to murder, drugs and mental illness over the years. After a short discussion, bass player Brian Allen said he knew exactly how the song should start. In the swaggery blues-rock biker ballad “Mama Raised Hell,” Megan confronts the trauma of her childhood with an alcoholic, bipolar, schizophrenic mother, and how her and her sister processed the car wrecks and suicide attempt of the person that was supposed to be taking care of them. “Mama raised Hell, and mama raised me,” Megan sings.

Album closer “Things Don’t Have to Change (feat. Lillie Mae and Brit Taylor)” is a chill, tropical tune with a hopeful message. It reflects on Megan’s past and finding inspiration in letting go of heartache and pain. The song was written during a casual jam session in their kitchen, with Megan strumming two chords while Shane cooked. It’s like a warm hug or a Fleetwood Mac slow dance, and elevated by Mae and Taylor’s vocal harmonies.

“I wanted to incorporate a feminine touch to the song,” says Megan, “to embrace the nurturing aspect. I found solace in the cliché-ness of the chrysalis metaphor, as humans, we’re constantly evolving.”

“I got to watch this change over the last year and a half,” says Shane fighting back proud tears. “I find so much inspiration in her newfound confidence. I hope everyone can find their strength and experience a similar transformation.” Peaks and Valleys reflects the duo’s punk roots, as well as their appreciation for storytelling troubadours like John Prine and Margot Price. It’s a self-aware opus of hope, healing and change. They confronted raw wounds and are now happier and more in love than ever. They’re excited to play shows and win people over one person at a time with a duo tour in April, then a full band tour and performance at Today Nashville in June. Nashville may be crazy, but this duo has found a home in a circle of good-hearted musicians who are all making music that matters together.

What brought you to this point in your life as a working St. Louis artist?

We’ve both been playing music all of our lives and have been writing together for over 13 years. We had a moment in AZ when the Highwomen album came out and we assessed how we were spending time in our lives. So we quit our careers of over a decade to put the priority on our songwriting and each other. We packed up the car and moved to Nashville. We had a lot of amazing adventures in Nashville and met some incredible people, made some lifelong connections and found ourselves again. Flash forward to now, and we couldn’t be happier living in St. Louis! We missed the Midwest and this place just feels right for us.

What inspires your music? What does this song in particular mean to you?

Emotion and life experience fuels most if not all of our writing. This song is called “Things Don’t Have to Change” and it’s about coming to a place in your life where you can let go of the past hurts and realize there is so much beauty. It’s about transforming into the person you were always supposed to be.

Who in St. Louis are you inspired by right now?

We haven’t been here too long but we are finding that there are amazing artists in every genre everywhere you look. Man, there are some amazing players here! We feel a deep connection to Alt Country and we think it is so cool that its roots are here.

What bands are you touring with lately?

So far our tours have been by ourselves…but we found our band family here and are working on booking shows and tours for the summer. We’ve had the great fortune to open up for some of our favorites like Lillie Mae and Riley Downing.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

Still living and playing in St. Louis but being on the festival circuit and being able to sustain a life we love with playing and writing music.


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This season of Live from the Boom Room has been partially funded by a generous grant from the Regional Arts Commission. Help keep Live from the Boom Room an absolutely free service for musical artists by supporting the project with your donation here:

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