COVID can’t keep these good musicians down

J Shogren, Shanghai'd

Shanghai’d band members Jascha Herdt and John Wilhelm on guitars, Dana Robertson on drums, Mark Zieres on bass guitar and J Shogren on guitar and vocals knock out some bluesy tunes during their live concert in the Glenrock Library courtyard July 31. (Cinthia Stimson/Glenrock Independent)

J Shogren

Musician and renaissance man J Shogren strums his guitar during a performance in Glenrock Friday night. (Cinthia Stimson/Glenrock Independent)

Twins Lorelei and Rowan Zieres cuddle each other during one of Shogren’s & Shanghai’d’s songs. The kids are the grandchildren of “Papa” Mark Zieres who is playing bass guitar in the band. (Cinthia Stimson/Glenrock Independent)

Cinthia Stimson,

J Shogren and his band of blues-playing merry men aka Shanghai’d are  testing out their equipment under the blazing afternoon sun in the Glenrock Library courtyard. It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday and as they practice a few pieces of music in their playlist for the upcoming concert, people start to arrive in twos and threes. Children are running amok as parents throw down blankets, claiming their spot on the lawn.

Wyoming music legend, University of Wyoming professor, environmental economist, winner (with a team of scientists)  of the Nobel Peace Prize and folksy, funky bluesman Shogren is back onstage in the small town of Glenrock for the fourth time. He keeps coming back, he says, because the people here treat him well.

“The folks of Glenrock have been great: Friendly, supportive, generous. They even like my music and laugh at the bad jokes. I’ve played here now for the last four years, solo, and this year with the full band. I will come back to play music as long as they will have me,” he said following the concert.

It’s been an odd summer for playing gigs, though, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Shogren and his band are playing less this year (he said he hadn’t played live for a month by the time he was ripping it up in Glenrock), he doesn’t let it get him down. He doesn’t have time for that.

“COVID-19 shut down live music everywhere, including Wyoming. We are slowing finding new outdoor venues that can handle social distancing rules — drive-in theatre shows and outdoor stages like at the Glenrock Library.”

Shogren and Shanghai’d have used the time wisely – they’ve put out two new albums – Pulp for Paper and A Bub of Clefuddlement (both available on Spotify and Bandcamp). 

“While things have been very slow this summer for live performances as compared to last year, we keep looking for new ways to create new music to share with everyone,” he said.

Shanghai’d consists of Jascha Herdt - guitar, John Wilhelm - guitar, Dana Robertson - drums, Mark Zieres - bass, Shogren sings and plays guitar.

Members of the audience whooped occasionally and sang along to the lyrics of his songs more often that not. Spontaneous laughter often escaped as people listened to the songs’ lyrics, some for the first time.

Shogren’s show was co-hosted by the Glenrock Library and the Glenrock Chamber of Commerce.

“How did you get J to keep coming back to Glenrock,” queried one woman, sitting and grooving to rich, full sounds of their music.

“We made friends. We love having him in Glenrock and he keeps coming back. We just love him. And, we’re pretty lucky,” Glenrock Adult Program Manager Tamara Lehner said.

Want to know more? Visit Shogren’s website at


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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