August 10th, 2007 marks the release of Common Shiner's sophomore effort, 'Viennas,' a CD which 'ventures inward, as the band focuses on making some of those familiar [pop-rock] streams sound better than ever' (Recoil Magazine, Aug 2007). Common Shiner began with college friends of Morgan Foster, a songwriter 'with witticisms to spare and surprising social commentary,' (Recoil) who desired to create music that would serve to be both meaningful and fun. Morgan's acoustic rock dream is realized today with Andrew Huisjen on electric guitar, Vijay Bangalore on drums, and Michael James Brooks on keys. When that lineup was finalized in March of 2006, the boys gratefully and gleefully felt they had a satisfying set of serious musicians. Soon Brooks began to offer his songwriting talents to the group as well, and it wasn't long before this group of passionate musicians was collaborating full-force to craft intelligent music and a tight live sound. Common Shiner rose from the Michigan roots-rock rubble just a couple years ago. The group released their debut full-length 'So Long...' in June of 2006, commemorated by an outdoor concert at Rosa Parks Circle. It was not long before the disc received accolades from local press and earned radio airplay in West Michigan. In the fall of 2006, the band made leaps and bounds in their career, playing shows up to three times a week, and opening for national acts such as Tim Reynolds, Flickerstick, and This World Fair. They were also chosen to showcase at Midpoint Music Festival in September of 2006, and soon began playing multiple shows outside of the Grand Rapids area, going as far as Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The band takes it's name from a small, abundant fish found throughout streams and lakes in the Midwest and Northeastern United States. In the same scope, the band writes music seeking to highlight the beauty found in the common experience we all share. Love and hope to melancholy and anger-and all the humor in between. The group's mission: clever songwriting and meaningful lyrics that appeal to a wide range of avid music lovers as well as casual listeners. Some have drawn comparisons to acts like Dave Matthews, Barenaked Ladies, and O.A.R., but many just say Common Shiner has an impeccable way of combining many elements for a sound that is 'uniquely familiar.' All can agree that the thing that sets Common Shiner apart the most is the quality and thoughtfulness of the songwriting, which encompasses just as many feelings and themes as their music does styles. Everyone who listens to Common Shiner comes away liking something different, and these boys wouldn't want it any other way. Common Shiner spent the spring of 2007 in the studio recording some fan favorites from the past year of writing and playing live shows. Says Brooks of 'Viennas': 'While the songs themselves may not be all that new to fans who have been following us, we hope these recordings will offer just a little bit more than what we may be able to do live. We wanted to sweeten the deal.'
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