Closer to Fame

An Emory-born band sings with the stars

Harmony: Country music star Time McGraw (in black hat) and the Shadowboxers backstage.

The Shadowboxers, a pop rock band formed by Emory alumni Scott Schwartz 11C, Matt Lipkins 11C, and Adam Hoffman 11B, have been working with some well-known talent across the musical genres of late, getting a Twitter shout-out from country superstar Tim McGraw and working with pop powerhouse Justin Timberlake.

The group performed as an opening act for three spring dates during McGraw’s Soul2Soul tour with his wife, country star Faith Hill, then joined McGraw in an impromptu acoustic session to cover Leo Sayer’s “More Than I Can Say.”

“Love these guys! @TheShadowboxers and I doing Leo Sayer ‘More Than I Can Say’ backstage at #Soul2Soul,” the country star posted on his Twitter feed @TheTimMcGraw to mark Sayer’s birthday on May 21.

Rolling Stone writer Jon Freeman posted the video of the performance on the magazine’s website and gave the performance high praise. “McGraw and the Shadowboxers’s backstage performance (which appears to be in the venue’s locker room) situates the tune in a slightly lower key for McGraw, who brings a touch of soulful grit to the easygoing, acoustic arrangement,” Freeman writes. “The Shadowboxers add silky layers of harmonies, four- and five-parts strong in places, to make it sound more like a stage-ready performance than friendly one-off.”

The group also was featured in a live podcast with the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)’s Coffee Break series in June, which is available on the NSAI’s Facebook page.

The Nashville-based band, whose members met and began performing together at Emory, has been recording material for an upcoming album in Los Angeles and New York. The group kicked off its Timezone tour in late July and will tour through November in venues across the US, from the Iowa State Fair to Los Angeles’s El Rey Theater to Terminal West in Atlanta.

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