SALEM- "Stormn' Normn."
Is there anyone from around here who doesn't know or heard of him? Norm Shaw is "Stormn' Normn," known for deft keyboard work, a ranging saxophone and baritone vocals that rolled together make him a premier "One Man Band."
Shaw knows about playing to the crowd and his experience runs to just about every imaginable venue. His stage presence and performance earned him a call a couple of weeks ago from The Vogues, one of the great bands from the 1960s that is still touring.
The original band from Turtle Creek, Pa. needed a backup singer and keyboarder. So Shaw starts with the group in a couple of weeks.
The band is anchored by one original member, lead singer Bill Burkett. During the 60s the Vogues had a number of chart-topping songs including "Five O'Clock World," "You're the One," and "Turn Around, Look at Me."
Shaw is a Sharon, Pa. native who arrived in Salem in 1991 after marrying his wife, Janie, who is from Salem, when he was a member of "Blackhawk."
"We opened for the acts at Ponderosa and were playing five nights a week," Shaw said. "We played the area, Warren, Youngstown. There were a lot of places and that was a day when you really could make a living playing music."
The band opened for Marie Osmond, the Oak Ridge Boys, George Jones and Reba McEntire. Shaw played for Blackhawk for about eight years full time.
"One month we played 29 of 30 days," he recalled. "I think it was in August. We were doing pretty good. We took some of the money and put it in promotional items like T-shirts."
Shaw, 56, grew up around music and had that rare ability to hear a song and then sing it.
"That's how I started out," he explained. "I could hear and then play them but my grandma said, 'you have to read music.' I played the piano at a very young age. Music was in family and grandma taught music at Theil College and my dad was a musician but didn't play professionally."
After graduating from Sharon High School in 1975, he earned his bachelor's degree at Youngstown State University where he played in "just about every ensemble" on campus and earned his master's degree in 1979 at Baldwin Wallace University in theory and composition tracks and arrangements.
"During college I played for shows in the Powers Auditorium with the Angelo LaCivita Band which opened for Paul Anka, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Lettermen."
He filled in with the band for about four years and played Idora Park with the big band orchestras like Benny Jones and Joe Cann.
"Filled in" sounds work-like, but being in a position to get the call in the first place was the important thing - just like the recent call from The Vogues.
"That's why I played for them; because I could play and read music - sight ability," Shaw explained.
After getting married, Shaw said, "I migrated here and Salem became the home base. I played Timberlanes and everyone kind of got to know me. That's where my networking began."
Timberlanes was big on live entertainment, grand piano in the dining room and combos and duets in the lounge - mid-90s stuff.
That's about the time an old high school nickname started taking hold: "Stormn Normn."
"I had it in high school, but in Salem it stuck," he said.
He branched out taking his one-man-band to one the road playing everywhere from night clubs to nursing homes.
In a couple of weeks he will be in the choir at the Men's Rally at the Covelli Centre. Recently Shaw has been booked into the Smoke House in Greenford, the Columbiana Diner, the Sandwich Factory in Columbiana, and will appear at B.B. Rooners.
Joining "The Vogues," which includes former Columbiana resident Lynn Royce Taylor, Troy Elich, and original lead singer Bill Burkett, will mean some schedule juggling for Shaw. But that will work out.
"They're breaking me in. Since Royce is back their bookings have picked up a lot," Shaw said.
Taylor performed with "The Vogues" when the group was center stage during two Salem Jubilees years ago.
Shaw will join The Vogues on stage to backup the Shades of Blue, The Edsels and The Coasters at the Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda, N.Y. on May 17 and later in Steubenville.