Shannon Heaton: The Blue Dress
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 stellar 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.
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