Matt & Shannon Heaton
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Matt & Shannon Heaton

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Dirty Linen #112"

“Guitar and wooden flute are the respective specialties of the much-traveled Matt and Shannon Heaton, a husband-and-wife duo now living near Boston wh have played together since 1991. The Heatons, who also comprise two-thirds of the group Siucra, write and perform Irish-style music as heard on "Dearga." The disc has a simple earthy sound, a fine mix of reels and jigs with a dynamic rhythmic tension, and an infectious spirit and vitality that translates into bright, uplifting music that will make you smile. The set also includes three songs on which the couple shares vocals, and Shannon’s delicate arrangement of the sad 18th-century tale of “Fair Jamie” is a proficient retelling of an old story to a new melody.” - Tom Nelligan

"Boston Globe (October 9, 2003)"

“Chicago natives Matt and Shannon are welcome newcomers to the local Celtic music scene.. On their new album, “Dearga,” their music is spacious and elegant, with a sweet understanding of the old music’s parochial charms.”
- Scott Alarik

"Sing Out! Vol 48 #1, Spring 2004"

“American husband-and-wife duo Matt and Shannon Heaton - two-thirds of the band Siucra - combine Irish lilt and a contemporary sensibility on Dearga (a Gaelic word for “red”). Consisting largely of flute, guitar and bodgran, dearga sounds gentle and low, sidestepping the expected treble timbre of Irish music. Shannon Heaton’s flute playing manages to maintain evenness at the same time it punctuates melodies’ syncopated accents. The compositions alternate between traditional and original. The couple have spoken of their desire to make sets travel somplace, and this album fulfills that mandate: moods shift markedly from one tune to the next. The first jig of the “Tell Her I Am: set is a little uneasy, the second more open. “Oil for the Chain” triggers excitement when it switches abruptly from jigs to reels. The Heatons sustain a pleasant tension in most of their instrumentals, particularly the self-penned “F Stop.” Unlike its Snicketty name-sake, the richly orchestrated “Lemony Lullaby,” is neither ominous nor frightful; it builds layers of viola and guitar into an almost fugal multiplicity of voices. A similar effect takes place in “Marching to Crystal Lake,” whose electric guitar mimics a cello. Dearga’s three songs are standouts. “Heartland” is a sweet anniversary commemoration with a chiming chorus and impressionistic lyrics, rounded off by a brief flute reel. “Fair Jamie” tells the heartbreaking tale of a woman forved into marriage by financial obligation; the husband is not a terrible ogre but a “kind old man,” making the heroine’s plight all the more moving. The traditional “Keeper of the Game,” sung by Matt Heaton in a pleasant light, flexible baritone, is a clever riddle romance with a ‘70s folk-rock feel, all fast strumming and drone harmonies. A lovely album, Dearga both intrigues and satisfies.” - Danielle Dreilinger

"Boston Herald Friday, October 3, 2003"

“Brilliant, American-bred Irish folk” - Daniel Gewertz

"Enterprise-Record, Chico, CA (May 22, 2003)"

“Young American-born musicians are now at the forefront of the Irish music scene. This group of musicians would have to include Matt and Shannon Heaton.”
- John Pattison

"“CD Baby" front page pick, Oct 1, 2003"

After blowing us away with their playing in Siucra's album, "Here Among Strangers," husband and wife musical team, Matt and Shannon Heaton, deliver yet another electrifying, heartrending, dear album of Irish trad-fueled folk originals. It is an album that will strum the heart strings as tenderly as the sweet memories of Ireland tickle the senses. With her full-bodied timber flute and his vibrant guitar trading in and out with vocals, fiddle and other surprises, this album is not to be missed by any fan of Irish music, trad or fusion.

Right up there with Dervish and Lunasa in their poignant, endearing and energizing emotion. By far, their music is among the most memorable of CD Baby. -

"Irish Music Magazine (May 2005)"

Matt and Shannon Heaton are two thirds of US Celtic trio Siucra. Hailing from Pittsburgh and Milwaukee respectively and now living in the Boston area, Dearga is their first duet recording. Playing flute, whistle and guitars on a selection of traditional and original tunes and also featuring Shannon’s fine singing voice, Dearga is a highly commendable affair with a neat balance between energetic tune playing and quietly observant sensitive material. Alternate Routes unites My love is in America with two original reels in a seamless trio of unfussy yet impressive performances. Songwise Heartland hints at an older domestic sound –the familial down home harmonies of The Carter Family and Tim and Mollie O’Brien with Matt’s dobro adding extra resonance and Lemony Lullaby, named from Lemony Snicket’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ books hints at a wider American life experience. Their duet playing is tight, sweet, and tasteful, lacking nothing on either technical expertise or instrumental virtuosity, it reminds me betimes of the cool spacious landscapes beloved of Deiseal and Davey Spillane. However, there’s enough fire in the belly to see them kick up some dust as well on Three Days to Go and Oil or the Chain two other finely wrought sets. Dearga offers music of consistency and high quality and deserves your willing ears.
--John O'Regan - John O'Regan

"Boston Globe, March 16, 2006"

"Irish Americana. That's how the Heatons describe their billowy, pulsing, and alluringly frisky way with Irish jigs and reels, prim old love songs, and raw-boned ballads. The Chicago-born flute-guitar duo brings a savvy modernity and American rootsiness to the Auld Sod's music, without losing any of its folksy Irish essence. On a bright-eyed new CD, "Blue Skies Above," their playing is masterful and inventive, their arrangements city-smart and spacious. Still, they never forget that Irish music is, at its heart, a neighborly form, meant for sharing, not showing off."
- Scott Alarik

"Sing Out! Vol 50 #3, Fall 2006"

Boston's Matt & Shannon Heaton combine a love of Irish music, superb chops on flute and whistles (Shannon), guitar and bouzouki (Matt), and a cast of talented studio friends for a lovely debut CD. Shannon's upbeat version of "The Blackbird," and smashing playing by both on "The O'Connor' Donn's" are only a couple of the highlights.
- Sing Out

"Female Musician of the Year"

A great singer, but Shannon’s flute playing on Lovers’ Well is so stunning she had to receive this Award. She is beautifully accompanied by husband Matt on a variety of instruments in an album that celebrates both love itself and Irish music. Fair enough. We love Shannon—and we love her musicianship. Her technical ability is matched only by her taste and grasp of the music. What an amazing woman. What an amazing album. Amazing. Did we say amazing? - Irish American News


"Blue Dress" Shannon Heaton (2010)
"Lovers' Well" Matt & Shannon Heaton (2009)
"Fine Winter's Night" Matt & Shannon Heaton (2007)
"Blue Skies Above" Matt & Shannon Heaton (2006)
"Oil for the Chain" Shannon Heaton (2006) (book & CD)
"Dearga" Matt & Shannon Heaton (2003)

with Siucra:
"A Very Siucra Christmas" Siucra (2003)
"Here Among Strangers" Siucra (2002)
"A Place I Know" Siucra (1999)



Boston-based Matt and Shannon Heaton play traditional and updated Irish music on flute, accordion, guitar, bouzouki, and voices. Their inventive approach to traditional tunes and ballads, their variety of instruments, and their blend of new and old music creates a robust “band” sound the Boston Herald called “majestic excellence.” Winner of Live Ireland’s “Trad Fusion Album of the Year,” the Heatons move seamlessly from harmony singing, to driving flute tunes, to lush guitar lines, creating a big, layered, modern sound.

Their 5th album “Tell you in earnest” (rel. Feb 2015) is a collection of ballads with dramatic stories. Each song is like a two-person play, with emotionally honest dialog, riveting action, and enduring themes of intrigue, love, revenge, and regret. There are plenty of American roots influences and original touches here—newly composed melodies, self-penned stories, updated lyrics, tight harmony singing—but everything is filtered through an Irish traditional music framework. That each song is arranged with great care and creativity is a given, and is just another way the Heatons reach deep to bring the emotional core of each song alive for their audiences.
?Matt and Shannon had their musical start in Chicago, where they played with mentors Liz Carroll, John Williams, and Jimmy Keane. Annual trips to Clare, three years in bluegrass-haven Boulder, Colorado, and their move to Boston in 2001 have all influenced their repertoire and style. They are an integral part of Boston’s vibrant Irish music and neo-Celtic Acoustic scenes, and many of their new arrangements and compositions well out of their work with fellow traditional musicians in and around New England (Matt also plays with Flynn Cohen’s Deadstring Ensemble and has an acclaimed CD of music for children; Shannon plays with Long Time Courting and Childsplay).

Matt and Shannon are poised, passionate performers. They are comfortable onstage and have a warm, sometimes hilarious, presence and banter with audiences. This is Indie traditional music, founded in an authentic love of traditional music (and each other) and a sense of adventure and fun for exploring new directions and possibilities.