was born in 1953 when his family was stationed at Annapolis. As a child,
and his family traveled wherever the Air Force sent them. The elder Shea retired to San Bernardino, CA, when
was in junior high. This really was the starting point for
's association with California's country music and the Bakersfield sound.
An alumnus of volume three of the A Town South of Bakersfield
's song "Foot in the Fire" continues to be a popular, requested favorite. However, before there was even an inkling of a project like the TSOB
compilation series, Shea
had to discover the guitar. He began to play around in bands and gigging from the time he was in seventh or eighth grade. By high school he had discovered Merle Haggard
. After high school he did acoustic solo dates wherever he could. He also began learning the basics of recording. Hanging out in studios owned by friends and other players gave him the education he would need.
In 1989 Shea
released his first project, which featured a striking duet with another California country singer who also scored with the TSOB
project, Patty Booker
. Outside of Nashville
, produced with Wyman Reese
and John Lee White III
, was a good record of Shea
's career progress. A popular player around L.A., he was often featured with Chris Gaffney
and Brantley Kearns
and recorded with Heather Miles.
A steel player as well as a guitarist, his songs were often scooped up by other performers, as is the case with his "Bed of Roses," which was included on Cody Bryant
's debut disc. A 1995 CD, Buffalo Show
, caught the attention of Americana radio and included story-songs like "The Rattlesnake Daddy's Daughter," "Georgia Pines," and several Tex-Mex numbers sung in Spanish. In 1997, Shea
went into the studio to record his next project. He was also a member of the band 1000 Wedding, joining old friend Wyman Reese
as well as former Plowboy Tracy Huffman. As a sideline, he was known to do a little journalism. His review of the George Jones
bio was a success after it was published in the L.A. Times during the summer of 1996.