A little bit folk, a little bit shoegaze, Shane Bartell's influences can be traced to wan Brits like Morrissey and Thom Yorke. Raised in cowboy country (Kerrville, a smallish town nestled in the rugged hills of central Texas), Bartell moved to Austin in 1992 to attend the University of Texas. It was there that he started playing in a local dream pop group called Cling. The band had some success in the Austin area, even opening up for such popular mid-'90s acts as Oasis and Liz Phair, but the group dynamics were volatile at best. Bartell relished the band's success but the constant bickering made him weary, so he made the move to go solo after Cling finally broke up in 1998. "The only reason I want to be a singer/songwriter," said Bartell in a 2006 Austin Chronicle article, "is because I don't want to be in a band fighting all the time."
Deciding that a change of scenery was in order, Bartell moved to Portland and got to work writing songs. He returned to Austin a year later determined to try to make his way as a solo act. Recruiting keyboardist Derek Morris, bassist Marcus Rice, and drummer Stephen Bres in the months following his return to Austin, Bartell slowly but steadily gained a local following. 2001 found Bartell with his first EP, Reference, and he was showcased later that year at Austin's SXSW festival. It was there that he grabbed the attention of PRI broadcaster Marco Werman, who named Bartell as one of the best showcases of that year's SXSW. Soon after that, Bartell began collaborating with Cardigans producer Lars Göransson on the lush, moody songs that comprised his first full-length album, Too Soon to Say. The album was released on Lilywhite Records in 2004 and re-released on Sarathan Records in 2006. ~ Margaret Reges