Tom Shackleford
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Tom Shackleford
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Tom Shackleford
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Tom Shackleford
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Tom Shackleford
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The last time Darren Hart, aka Harts, performed in New York City, he was a part of a huge list of Australian artists scheduled to play at CMJ’s Aussie BBQ in Oct. 2015. The Melbourne-based musician made his return to the big apple stage in Brooklyn on Saturday night at the Knitting Factory, as a support act to fellow emerging rock bands in Private Island and Future Generations.

The young guitarist and singer has returned stateside to promote his first official U.S. album release in Smoke Fire Hope Desire. The new LP follows various projects he’s released internationally the past few years, including having been invited to Paisley Park to work out some song ideas with Prince back in 2013. The similarities in the two artists are uncanny - both deliver an explosive package of funk-rock, with plenty of dance-friendly rhythm sections to balance Darren’s masterful guitar work.

Not that much has changed since Harts last performed in New York City nearly two years ago, aside from his setlist, which contained mostly new songs from Hope Fire this time around. He still sports his signature black leather jacket and pointed boots to go with his colorful, hippie-era painted Stratocaster. It’s the overall sound coming out of his guitar amp that may have changed the most since his last visit. While he’s been fond of using a mix of powerful, bluesy-rock overdrive effects pedals in the past, this time around his tone was a bit cleaner. The lack of distortion allowed him to add more color to his overall sound this time, giving his musical persona more personality than just another talented guitarist with a distortion pedal.

.With all the Australian talent breaking in America at the moment, Harts now sets his own sights on bringing the guitar back into the popular realm once more with his own interpretation of the sexy instrument. With talent like his, it’s only a matter of time before that happens.