Anna Shannon
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Anna Shannon


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Barnsley Folk Club 2009"

It’s a testament to the growing reputation of Anna that when we got to The Shaw Inn it was clear that the Club Room was going to be packed, the parked cars lining both sides of the road, and so it proved, with standing room only being the order of the day, with instruments being piled up at the back of the room. ....
So first, a congratulations to both the Barnsley Club and Anna for dragging so many people out on such a bad night. ....
Anna was on top form, her songs, (drawn from her CDs including her new one which is due for official release next year, but available at her Gigs and from her Web Site to those in the know), had the audience spellbound as she sang about, love, life, the sea, and the country. ....
It’s hard to classify Anna into a Folk genre, her lyrics, one could say, are of the tradition, yet her melody lines are very much contemporary, which perhaps explains why she appeals to Folkies across the board. ....
In fact I was intrigued by just who was in attendance for the concert, the traditional singers who one normally finds buried away in their own Clubs having turned out in force. Yet another tribute to the draw that Anna is becoming. ....
And this was no thirty minute quickie Folk Club performance that some artists have taken to doing, no, her first set had the audience awestruck for an hour and her second was cut short only by time. ....
If you have not yet, despite our pleading check out Anna’s songs you can find a fantastic selection of old and new on her Myspace page HERE....
- Acoustic Rotherham

"Over Land"

Anna Shannon – OVER LAND (Chloë Productions)
Over Land is Scarborough-based songwriter Anna’s fifth CD release, and comes at the culmination of three years during which she’s been working (and gigging) hard and rapidly (and deservedly) building a reputation as one of the folk-acoustic scene’s most confident – and compelling – live presences. For, as Acoustic Rotherham devotees will already know, she makes a hell of an impression in live performance, where she brings to her lyrical and sensitively evocative songs her seriously stunning singing voice and some intensely accomplished musicianship that encompasses distinctive guitar work (influenced by both classical Spanish and folk stylings) and occasional excursions onto whistle and percussion. (She’s also a more than capable player of fiddle, flute and oboe by the way, and these instruments all get brief but effective airings on this new record, which scores points by virtue of its sparse yet richly-toned palette.) Strictly speaking, Over Land’s immediate predecessor, the lovely, intimate When We Were Young album (released in 2008), should have brought her name to the attention of every right-thinking music-lover, for it was her most perfectly formed collection and if anything it sounds even better today. I’m not entirely sure that Over Land is quite as consistent a set in total, but it certainly contains plenty of real gems and no weak songs. It actually also forms a neat bridge between albums (and, I guess, creative periods in Anna’s writing), since its opening two tracks (A Little Piece Of Africa and Frost On The Larch) also occur on When We Were Young and just happen to be two of its strongest songs. The reason for the re-recording of these songs, Anna explains in her liner notes, is essentially the presence of the incomparable Mike Silver, who’s been responsible for production (and mastering and mixing) of Over Land as well as the gentle and sympathetic musical arrangements on three of the tracks. Mike’s rather special, (umm) silvery-toned Lowden guitar graces six of the songs in beautiful counterpoint to Anna’s own guitar lines, and he sings backing vocal on a seventh. Mike’s new, and strongly individual, arrangement for Frost On The Larch, made after hearing only the melody of the original version, is just wonderful. Moving on through the album, Anna glides over land (and sea) to retell the tale of the flight of golden eagles returning to their native Scotland, then comes to earth and settles down for a sequence of songs with the land (the soil) as a loose connecting theme. Three tracks carry the special resonance of Anna’s own stamping ground: the rather bluntly-titled Yorkshire Song chronicles a special moment in the fields around her home, Cinder Hills is an instrumental portrait of a local hillside, and English Holly takes a Victorian perspective on one of Anna’s own regular occupations, the harvesting of holly to make wreaths. Two songs powerfully retell old tales: the ballad of Charlotte Dymond, based on a Bodmin legend, comes straight out of Mike Silver Country, while Velvet Green (a standout track) is an old English fable on the consequences of infidelity which has a stark traditional feel and moves eerily from acappella to fiddle and hurdy gurdy drone accompaniment. Several of the other songs would have fitted in well on When We Were Young, two in particular feeling complementary to that earlier album, both being reflections from the point of view of a farmer (Where Once He Laboured affectionately recalls years spent with his working horse, while No Money For Old Rope tells of being defeated by technology and modern ways). Dancing With Lilies was written for Anna’s youngest daughter, while Bravios Gryengro provides a historical window into the life of a Romany. So why, despite its many virtues, do I still have a nagging feeling that Over Land isn’t quite as consistent a set as its predecessor? I suppose it might be that I’ve grown to love When We Were Young so much that it will inevitably take a little longer for any new album to surpass it; but it’s equally possible that while each song is strong individually, there’s sometimes a sense that Anna’s melodies aren’t all quite as immediately distinctive this time around. This may just be a false impression, and certainly when I take a step back and at further remove from the earlier album Over Land scores especially highly and on its own terms is definitely an immensely appealing and rewarding experience – which in the end is how it should be assessed. Anna’s is a very special talent, so miss it at your peril!
- David Kidman for Netrythms and Folk Roundabout

"When we Were Young"

Over the past couple of years in particular (following the winning of two prestigious songwriting awards), Scarborough-based free spirit Anna's been gaining a deservedly enthusiastic following due in no small measure to a succession of brilliant live performances; these have enabled us to savour close-up her wide range of assured performance skills, which set the seal on her increasingly compelling songwriting. Seen live, her presence is very intense, and her latest CD brings us the closest possible representation of that experience with a set of intimate performances of a dozen uniformly excellent new songs which run an impressive emotional gamut with a complete lack of pretension. Partly I suspect due to Anna's bewildering prolicity, each of her solo releases thus far has been mildly compromised, either by a degree of stylistic or artistic inconsistency within the material chosen or by occasionally less than convincing musical arrangements.
Notwithstanding her enviable accomplishment as a multi-instrumentalist, Anna has this time resisted the temptation to over-egg the pudding: indeed she's steadfastly refused to indulge in any overdubbing at all. For on When We Were Young, Anna goes back to basics, utilising a pure, stripped-down texture of just voice and guitar throughout - and it's much the better for it, I believe. Not only because it imparts a strong sense of unity to the proceedings, but also because it allows for maximum concentration on the lyrics, which are a fabulous and ever-intriguing combination of simple, evocative poetic imagery and deep compassion, underscored by an uncanny ability to get inside (and really inhabit) the psyche of her protagonists. The upfront confidence of Anna's personal and idiomatic singing, with its own special, innate sense of dramatic flow, conveys both a wide-eyed innocence of immediate experience and a more composed maturity of attitude and reflection. Anna's stylish and distinctive mode of self-accompaniment (mostly on a Spanish guitar) provides the ideal foil for her voice: its filigree textures, gently plucked out of the ether much in the manner of a courtly medieval troubadour performing for you alone, are aided by the close-miked and faithful home-recording.
There are some startlingly good songs here - almost too many to take in at one hearing! First cherrypick yields the delicate tone-picture Frost On The Larch, the poignant, questioning introspection of The Childhood Place, and the magnificent brace of songs inspired by Irish settings (The Gathering demonstrates just how fine an acappella singer Anna is, while The Magic Of Fae is a notable addition to the pantheon of Silkie-legend songs). Then there's the fond remembrances of the lovely title track (whose appealing melodic contours and genially singable chorus seem much inspired by the songwriting of Stan Graham), while at the other end of the spectrum the inner turmoil of often painfully conflicting emotions is tenderly expressed in Rachel and the ballad of The Farming Boy. The momentum generated by a more insistent rhythmic backing on A Little Piece Of Africa embodies a different kind of passion, one born of childhood ignorance as well as innocence perhaps, which inexorably propels the story's events forward. The wilfully independent come-what-may defiant spirit of Damselfly mirrors the mercurial (almost Anne Briggs-like) character of Anna's eldest daughter depicted within, and can also be taken to symbolise both those very qualities in Anna's own personality and the endearing qualities of this CD in general, which are further enhanced by its attractive booklet design, complete with photos and helpful background notes.
David Kidman November 2008

Anna Shannon - The Whale Dreaming (Own Label)
Scarborough-based Anna's both ubiquitous and elusive, it would seem: let me explain!...Barely a year ago she garnered two prestigious songwriting awards (BBC Radio York Songwriter Of The Year and Runner-Up for The Song For Yorkshire competition), but prior to that she was probably better known as fiddler for Cajun band Red Hot Boudin and multi-instrumentalist with ceilidh band Slinkymalink, though she's also a dab hand at blues and skiffle (with The Chloe Doody Persuasion and The Worried Men). And on top of all that, she currently fronts Johnny-Jump-Up (a trio playing an energetic brand of "Irish rockin' folk and trad")! The Whale Dreaming, her debut solo album, hints strongly that Versatility is Anna's middle name, for here she also takes to the folk-troubadour role as to the manner born.
The CD is ostensibly first and foremost a showcase for Anna's own original songs, but its appeal extends much further, to her finely-honed skills in arranging and performing those songs. The songs themselves occupy a range of subjects and emotions, their very real concerns being expressed in admirably direct imagery and language that's mildly poetic and (refreshingly) never descends into navel-gazing. The brilliant title track opens the disc, and is probably not the obvious ideal introduction to Anna's art, for its narrative takes the form of an ambitious extended opus that's cast into distinct sections. It does, however, serve to introduce the seafaring theme that surfaces periodically (the four songs that bookend the disc): the sea, and the experiences of those who depend on it for their livelihood, clearly exerts a fascination for Anna, and she writes of its magnetic pull with much feeling and understanding. Those latter qualities turn out to be central to the appeal of Anna's songs, whose essence is an air of atmospheric magic built around a gentle observation of realism and an acute (yet not over-the-top) observational gift that doesn't draw attention to itself. For instance, a song called Rabbit Skin Mittens could all too easily be an exercise in pretentious nu-folk, but it turns out to be a wholly charming depiction of "a special time for a young girl living on a remote Dales farm", and contrasts well with the playful Back Lane Wars, the tale of rivalry between gangs of travelling children, and the wistfully reflective country-tinged Sticks And Stones. Anna's singing voice, too, is both confident and distinctive both in tone and phrasing: she knows exactly where the ideas and melodies are going and is clearly intent on communicating them fully to her listeners. Anna provides her own vocal harmonies too, and has a really canny sense of instrumental colouring, playing all of the (very many!) instruments herself (except for bass and harmonica). It's not easy to pin it down, but the whole disc has a really attractive, slightly earthy homespun DIY quality which is perfectly aligned to Anna's personal life-vision through its credible high degree of artistic and technical accomplishment; what comes across so very powerfully is Anna's honest delight in the creative process and her personal music-making and an evident eager desire to share that delight - and its final fruits - with us. So bursting with ideas is Anna that she's got two further albums of original material planned already - I can hardly wait to hear them.
David Kidman August 2007
- David Kidman

"Capt. Cook Fest 2006"

" Singer-songwriter Anna Shannon is celebrating after scooping first and second places at the Captain Cook Seafest in Whitby on the 27 May. Anna entered two original songs in the competition "A Song for the Sea". "Safe Home" which won her BBC Radio Yorkshire songwriter of the year award last year, took first place and
" Just a Tiny Boat", describing Grace Darling's rescue of nine people from the wreck of the Forfarshire, came second. Anna will now go through to the finals in September. This success coincides with the release of her latest album "Ready for the Shout", which consists of 11 original songs of a maritime nature and is being sold in aid of the RNLI. Members of the Scarborough Lifeboat crew and Filey Fishermans Choir Harmony Group appear on the album as guests. The album has been accepted by the RNLI to be sold in their outlets. Anna will be appearing at the Scarborough Seafest in July.
- Richard Grainger for Seafest

"Acoustic Rotherham"

Reflections On Acoustic Rotherham 2

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Simply magical…………………….. Sat on stage Anna almost disappears into the background, and then she sings…………….. oh wow. The room fills and all eyes focus on direction of the sound. ....
This was another of those magnificent performances of which we were treated to on this Sunday afternoon. ....
Anna’s voice is unique, it just captures one’s senses making her self-written material live and come to life. Yes you must head to her Myspace page, but even that does not quite capture the brilliance of her live performance.....
Another artist deserving of greater recognition, which must surely come her way.....
- Rawmarsh Mashers

"Blackpool Folk Club"

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Posted By : Logan | Comments : 0
Anna Shannon
Blackpool Folk Club, The Clarence
Wednesday, 12th February, 2009

Anna Shannon sang solo with what seemed an innocent naivety and beautiful intrigue, but there sure was some real experience in her charismatic performance.
Her songs had the feel of Leonard Cohen with a Yorkshire Lilly Allen kink.
Her style was timeless and personified, and ring fenced her Anna Shannon folk persona.
Unlike many artistes, this lady had wisdom beyond her appearance, and her vocals reached all her audience both in song and story, above background babble from an England football game. Such a good communicator.
She made her flute and on loan guitar sound hypnotic.
- Logan for NWB Community


Album "The Whale Dreaming"2006
Album "Ready for the Shout" 2007
Album"Blackstrap Molasses" 2007
Album"When We Were Young" 2008
Album"Over Land" 2010
Tracks on Youtube
Various tracks have and are receiving airplay on the following stations: Radio Derby, Radio Gloucester,Radio Shropshire, tulip and Drystone and also East coast and Radio York.



Since being awarded BBC Radio “Yorkshire Songwriter of the Year” in August 2006 Anna has been forging a steady path into the folk singer-songwriter scene, appearing at numerous venues and festivals including Whitby, Fylde, (5th consecutive year)Wimbourne, Otley, Dent, Holmfirth, where she has captivated her audiences with her original songs, covering a vast range of subjects.
From a classical musical background (flute, oboe, saxophone and violin) Anna has featured in line-ups of varying styles over the last fifteen years but it is her award winning solo work that is now earning growing acclaim. Her 12 string and harp-like classical guitar styles and honest voice, along with unusual instrumental pieces, makes refreshingly unique entertainment.
Since Aug.2006 she has released five albums of original material all of which have been met with overwhelming critical support. Anna also composes pieces for ads/themes /short films etc. What people say about Anna….

“I have had the honour of sharing the stage with Anna Shannon, She's a truly fine multi instrumentalist, a great singer and as far as I'm concerned, a major song writing talent. The clubs and festivals are yearning for what she has to offer”
Vin Garbutt

“A singer / songwriter of the highest calibre. Her thoughtful and imaginative guitar accompaniment is a true match to these fine songs”
Martyn Wyndham-Read.

“Anna is a very good songwriter and her songs are of great merit. She is a polished performer who deserves greater recognition. We will hear more of Anna in the years to come.”
Alan Bell, Director of Fylde Festival.

“ Her vocal power echoes the strength of Sinead o’ Connor. Considerable song writing and vocal talents. Amazingly she’s still unsigned!”
Sean McGhee, Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine. "Some cd's hardly bear a second listen but occasionally one really surprises by standing out from the crowd.Such is Anna Shannons Over Land.Her songwriting is superb.She has a fine voice of exceptional clarity.It is difficult to select specific tracks as on repeat playing all are strong.Vin Garbutt describes Anna as "A truly fine instrumentalist, a great singer and a major songwriting talent" I CAN BUT HUMBLY AGREE" David Hawkridge for Taplas Magazine.