Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shannon Heaton: The Blue Dress

The power of melody and love of story are two of the things which drew Shannon Heaton into a professional career in Irish music. Those are qualities which come through clearly on her album The Blue Dress. On this album, she carries the melodies and tells the stories through her flute.

It is an excellent and engaging journey, with new compositions balanced well with fresh views of tunes from the tradition. Heart, creativity, skill, and imagination are all in evidence as she invites listeners in with a set of reels and continues with an creatively arranged take on a pair of polkas. You can hear many stories in The Blue Dress Waltz, a Heaton original that is gracious and thoughtful, and offers a fine connection to a quite different bit of music, the lively Dennis Watson’s set of reels. Heaton generally has a particular person in mind when she’s composing a tune. Nights on Caledonia Terrace is a gently reflective slow air written for restorative conversations with friends at a festival in Ontario, and Frost Place was written for two musical friends, as Heaton writes in her notes, for “their winning combination of shannon fwn copyright Kerry Dexterstellar musicianship and good vibes to all those around them."

Though the Boston based Heaton is well known as a fine songwriter and a gifted singer, on this recording she speaks through her flute, offering her melodies, and her stories without saying a word. She is well supported in imaginative arrangements by usual duo partner Matt Heaton on guitar, bouzouki, and bodhran, Long Time Courting band mate Liz Simmons on guitar, Maeve Gilchrist on harp, and Paddy League on bodhran.

The power of connection to tradition, the quietness of reflection on slow pieces and the lively step of dance tunes, now and then a dash of humor and a bit of whimsy: these are all in the music Shannon Heaton offers here. Like the vintage satin and lace of the favorite dress which sparked her creative ideas for the project, it is music that will stand the test of time.

you may also wish to see

Music Road: Another Fine Winter's Night: Matt & Shannon Heaton
Music Road: kickstart an Irish music recording
Music Road: Shannon Heaton: Oil for the Chain
Music Road: Lovers' Well: Matt & Shannon Heaton

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posted by Kerry Dexter at

7 Comments:

OpenID marthaandme said...

I love it when artists include notes that explain the inspirations for the songs!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous ruth pennebaker said...

What a lovely post. I could almost hear her music as you described it, Kerry.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thanks for this update on Shannon's new CD. Love the blue dress and look forward to hearing the music.

1:28 PM  
OpenID melanie said...

I'm so glad she reached her fund raising goal and was able to make this album. Fantastic.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Kris Bordessa said...

Oh, I really love the flute.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

A vintage dress inspiring music--that's very cool.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Stephanie - Wasabimon.com said...

Ah, the flute. I played in junior high school and it made me so lightheaded I was glad we were sitting down to play. I was always sad that I was terrible at it, so I've always loved the music of others! Will definitely check this out. Thanks.

1:28 AM  

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