Lauren Sheehan

Lauren Sheehan

BandFolk

Lauren is a lusty voiced, warm, sandy-edged singer, "the first thing you note is her tone, some beautiful new sound like a synthesis of a clarinet and fiddle", says Phil Wiggins. She is an accomplished instrumentalist, guitar and banjo her main focus, playing blues, old time and folk.

Biography

"The first thing that strikes me is the beauty and clarity of Lauren's voice. It's like discovering some new instrument that combines qualities of fiddle and clarinet, fresh but with deep roots, accompanied by some pretty impressive guitar work. Lauren's music is rich with ingredients that nourish the human spirit."
- Phil Wiggins, of Cephas and Wiggins

Lauren is a charismatic 'songster', an interpreter of songs learned from some of America's greatest folk and blues artists. She is known for her voice, which slides through old lyrics like clear water through a smooth creek bed. Her performances are memorable for the authentic range of her material: from unaccompanied ballads, to boozy Memphis blues, to old time banjo tunes, to old country songs and eclectic modern folk. She is a musical shape shifter, in one song making the willow weep and in another making the werewolf howl. "She is a true entertainer, weaving the stories and history of the music into her performance and connecting with her audience on a personal level." (Gray Eubank, Director, Portland Christmas Revels). "Like the old songsters, I seem to have a simple destiny with song," says Sheehan. "I just collect, interpret and play the music that strikes my heart. It's the power of the strike that pulls me into a particular song."

Lauren grew up in New England where she studied classical guitar as a child and became infected by the spirit of fiddle music at contra dances in western Massachusetts. She wrote her thesis on American folk music at Reed College before spending a number of years playing in small ensembles while founding, administering, and teaching in independent schools. During this time, she toured in New England, Ireland and the Pacific Northwest. She retired from teaching in 2003 and dedicated herself to full-time performing and recording. One look at her website, shows the variety of club, concert, and festival dates she performs, in solo, duo, and trio configurations and with the old blues band Eagle Ridin' Papas.

Lauren's passion for learning directly from other musicians has led her into the homes and front porches of the musical legends who passed on much of the material and stylistic qualities she presents today. Her endearing performances spring from time spent with such legendary performers as John Cephas, Ginny Hawker, Etta Baker, Carl Rutherford and Howard Armstrong. She enjoys recalling the twinkle in John Jackson's eye when the two of them sat alone together in an old school house and he taught her "Come On Over to My House". Another vivid and hilarious memory involves a late night music jam in which the inimitable Smokey McKeen, Maine troubadour and Lauren's master's thesis mentor, concluded, "Girl, that was a two credit party!"

--{ Recordings }--

Two Wings, 2005, is a spirited collection of country blues and ballads ranging from the beseeching title cut to Lauren's haunting rendition of the old-time standard, Red Rocking Chair. Once again complimenting Lauren's singing and fine guitar and banjo picking is the virtuoso harmonica playing of international Piedmont blues star Phil Wiggins (Cephas and Wiggins). "...an exceptional vocalist and quite engaging throughout this highly recommended set...a disc well worth tracking down." Robert Tilling, Blues In Britain magazine.

> Album of the Year finalist, Independent Music Awards
> #1, Folk DJ airplay chart, October 2005
> #7, Freeform American Roots airplay chart, 2005

Her first album, Some Old Lonesome Day, 2003, scored high on radio charts around the world, including #4 on the FAR chart and #7 on the Folk DJ Chart, and received high praise from magazines and DJ's. "Lauren, you have restored my faith that there is a God for music lovers, and he made you." (Al Watts, DJ, Victoria, Australia)

--{ Selected Performances }--

Northwest Regional
> Waterfront Blues, Portland, OR, 2004-2005
> Port Townsend's Blues and Heritage Festival, WA, 2004-2005
> The Bite of Oregon, Portland, OR, 2004
> Portland Old Time Gathering, Portland, OR, 2005-2006
> Art in The Pearl, Portland, OR, 2005
> Pistol River Concert Series, Pistol River, OR, 2006
> Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA, 2005
> NW Folklife, Seattle, WA, 2004-2005

National
> International Blues Challenge, Memphis, TN, 2005
> Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, Lexington, KY, 2006
> Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis, TN, 2005
> Vendalia Gathering, Charleston, WV, 2003
> Fiddle and Bow Society, Winston-Salem, NC, 2005

Discography

*Some Old Lonesome Day--Wilson River Records, 2002. Available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/sheehan
*Lay Down My Old Guitar/A Tribute to John Jackson--Centrum Recordings, 2003
*Two Wings-Wilson River Records, 2005. #7 FAR Chart for 2005, #24 Folk DJ Chart, for 2005. Available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/sheehan2