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September 21, 2023

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University alumnus performs locally

After the release of the debut album “Brooklyn Love,” Luke James and the Thieves are set to perform at Howard’s Club H Friday, which will serve as one of the first shows the band has played since its record dropped Dec. 4.

The doors open at 9 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge.

The band is a trio consisting of guitarist and vocalist Luke Shaffer, bassist Rory Taylor and drummer Mark Williams. Shaffer performed as a solo musician before the band got together and wrote all of the songs on the album.

Shaffer is a graduate of the University and auditioned for American Idol seasons nine and 10 and made the top 50 both times. After graduating from the University, he moved to New York City to try and pursue his music career, but instead learned a lot about life.

“I ran out of money and I didn’t know what I was doing with my life,” Shaffer said. “I wanted to focus on music still but it was kind of a down in the dumps kind of place.”

Since then, Shaffer has moved back to the northwest and performs in areas like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Bowling Green, where he plays at Howard’s Club H often.

The interaction between the band and the crowd is fun, and the crowd at Howard’s is always receptive, he said.

“One of my favorite things in the world is when people sing the words to the songs that I’ve written,” Shaffer said. “It only happens every once in a while and it only ever happens when I’m at Howard’s or with my friends.”

Singer and songwriter Cory Breth has performed with Shaffer several times and felt welcome sharing the stage at shows. He is open to any artist who comes in and plays with him, Breth said.

“His live show is very entertaining,” Breth said. “I think he’s got a pretty powerful voice with a crazy range.”

The musician said he might be working with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins in the spring to remake one of Shaffer’s songs called “Marching On.” Jerkins has collaborated with artists such as: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Beyonce.

“I just want to keep moving forward,” Shaffer said. “I want to keep playing more shows and getting the name out there.”

Shaffer has also performed with another singer and songwriter, Steven Mullan, at several of the same events.

“He just keeps getting better,” Mullan said. “He’s one of the best live singers I’ve heard around this area for sure.”

Mullan said it’s cool to have seen the evolution of Shaffer as a songwriter since the first time he met him.

Shaffer’s goal is to get his songs on commercials and television shows and he wants to get his name known.

“Music has always been my peace.” Shaffer said.

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