His was hard rock and heavy metal. Hers was the classic sound of the East Texas piney woods. Theirs was a fiery collision, bearing forth a sound that was at once novel and instantly familiar--nodding to roots seated deep in high lonesome harmonies and back porch blues, while peering out at a scorched path bound by modern assertions and contemporary commentary.
Behind Grifters & Shills is John and Rebecca Stoll, who met in a classic rock/blues jam band in 2008. Between them they discovered a magnetic chemistry that manifested not only in music, but in all aspects of their relationship. When they began playing songs as a two-piece band, they found a unique voice in the combination of Rebecca's East Texas vocal stylings and John's formidable guitar work. They immediately began writing their own original songs, while testing the waters of vocal harmonies, and adding an array of instrumentation to their arsenal, including bass guitar, cigar box, resonator, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, lap steel and harmonica.
The sound defies genre, but they call it roots music, as there are obvious influences from americana, rock, ragtime, blues and bluegrass.
Above all, this two-person, dozen-instrument act provides a show full of sound a fury, punctuated with raw, quiet vulnerability, shining new light on familiar ground.
In June 2017, this Texas-based band completed an album they had been eyeing for some time. “Road to Brownwood” is a 17-track collection of traditional and gospel songs that the two made their own, either through new arrangements, instrumentation or lyrics. Recorded and produced in their home studio, the album offers an electrified take on tradition, while still honoring the heart and soul of the original songs.
Grifters & Shills released their debut full-length album, "Watershed," in 2014. Produced by Brad Sayles (Houston Symphony) and featuring Max Dyer (cello) and Kevin Hardin (fiddle), "Watershed" was the much-anticipated follow-up to their EP, "Trainwreck Junkyard" (2013). They released two additional albums--"Now & Then" (2012) and "Blackjack Road (2010)--under their first band, Westbound.
Grifters & Shills have also been featured on albums from other artists, including Texas favorites Zach Tate (Serious Man - 2014; End of Time - 2012) and Myrna Sanders (Big Head Diva - 2012), as well as various compilation albums (Texas Music Selections - 2015; Quote Your Pulse: Covers Compilation - 2012; Oasis Rock and Roots Sampler - 2010). They have also appeared in Musician’s Friend advertisements in Guitar World, Mix, Electronic Musician and Modern Drummer magazines.