Stones throw artist Kiefer Shackelford holding a synthesizer

Kiefer: Between Days Album Review

By Jesse Rodriguez
Music Journalist

Kiefer Shackelford is a jazz and soul pianist that emerged on the scene in 2017 with his independent release Kickinit Alone. Kiefer was signed to Stones Throw in 2018, which is a perfect label to house his abilities considering that it is filled with genre-bending instrumentalists.

Discovering Kiefer in the midst of a global pandemic has provided a huge breath of fresh air and comfort. Kiefers music is just as fantastic for late-night studying as it is for walks alone.

Kiefer’s music can be described as finely-calibrated beats filled with piano riffs, soulful chords and head-nod-inducing percussion and bass lines. His latest release Between Days carries the same tone from his previous releases, but what Kiefer continues to create is an ageless sound and progressively gets better. He has successfully blended the synthetic feel of beat-making with the natural feel of jazz piano.

He leads with singles “Superhero” “Friend’s” and finally his cover of iconic jazz/soul track “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” which is a tastefully done rendition and completely flips the feel of the original song, but also preserves the soulful feel.

Unlike his previous release, Kiefer brought on some collaboration on Between Days, with features on three tracks from producers, The Kount (“Running Out the Clock”), 10.4 ROG (Work and Purpose), LAKEY INSPIRED (His Heart Grew Three Sizes) and jazz trumpeter Theo Crocker (Everybody Loves the Sunshine) who brings in the soulful riff.

10.4 ROG and LAKEY INSPIRED are respected beat-makers themselves with 10.4 releasing an instrumental album this year as well titled Treblemaker, and LAKEY INSPIRED respectfully clocking in at over 21 million plays on the track “Better Days”

The Kount feature is most exciting to me, Kount is very popular in the beat-making community for his sample packs and Instagram videos showing the process of creating a “Kount” beat. I would definitely recommend viewing those videos if you like production.

Kiefer has created another beautiful and intriguing EP, along with visuals that go hand in hand with his music. It is an experience of its own that brings you into Kiefers world of beat-making.

My favorite of Kiefers videos is definitely the “Friend’s” video, because it really captures the essence of a chill night of beat-making and soaking in the little things.

As Kiefer says, “Be encouraged and encourage others.” Hopefully his music finds you the same peace and comfort it brought me.

Featured Image by Jack McKain

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