Sally Shuffield

Sally Shuffield

 Durango, Colorado, USA

A voice that goes down smooth as molasses and songwriting that captures the American landscape. This Americana songwriter blends the bluegrass of the Arkansas Ozarks where she grew up with the wide open spaces of the West where she resides.


Highlights - Charted on the FAR Charts, 2007; Charted on the Folk DJ Charts, 2006; KRCL Founder's Title Songwriting Finalist, 2006; Avalonfest Songwriting Finalist, 2005; Southpark Music Festival Showcase Selection, 2005; San Juan NF Artist in Residence, 2004; Silverton Jubilee Songwriting Finalist, 2003

Folk/roots songwriter, Sally Shuffield’s, songs take the listener on a journey through the west of the 1800s, small town America, the emotions of love and loss, motherhood, the politics of war, and the search for meaning and redemption in every day life. Her music draws upon a vast life experience from her master’s degree in anthropology, to her other career in the environmental/nonprofit arena, to motherhood. She calls Durango, Colorado, home and draws inspiration from the beauty and serenity of small town mountain living.

Sally’s third CD, “Something in the Water,” released in February 2006, follows the rootsy style of her earlier CDs, but also experiments with a couple of non-acoustic numbers, as well a tune that is strictly bluegrass. According to Bill Hahn of the folk radio show, “Traditions,” “Sally’s sound is new, yet has that wonderful old timey feeling.” Her themes include profound insights into history, including the Mountain Meadow Massacre, the Civil War, and the taming of the west, in addition to songs that address the universal yearnings and ramblings of humanity. Like her earlier CDs, “Something in the Water,” attracted some of Colorado’s best musicians, including Greg Schochet, Sally VanMeter, Pete Wernick and many others.

Sally’s performance consists of her original songs, intertwined with stories of the cultures of different regions. Growing up in Arkansas, she experienced her grandparents’ rural roots and their connection to the land. Many of her songs are about this region, and the stories she tells to accompany her songs are filled with Arkansas personalities and characters from the Depression days to the Baptist bible town where she was raised. Her songs also tell the story of a modern day migrant to the west, rambling through western mining towns, the canyons of Utah, and the mountains of Colorado, trying to discover a new identity like so many other people who have left their roots to fall in love with the freedom of the west. According to No Depression Magazine, “Although she shares a regional home with other Ozark angel, Iris Dement, Shuffield’s decades long stay in the west has tinged her song-writing with themes of coyotes and canyons, as well as lost love and rambling songs.”

Sally tours regionally and nationally, sometimes solo and sometimes with mandolin accompaniment, playing well known concert series, festivals, and house concerts. She has received glowing reviews, a wide base of support, and radio play on over 100 radio stations nationally and overseas. Most recently "Something in the Water" charted nationally on the FAR Charts and the Folk DJ Charts.


Arkansas River Flow

Written By: Sally Shuffield

My picture’s in the paper
Displaying what my grades were
And how I wrote a paper on Shakespeare
But it failed to mention
That I got detention
For getting caught at sixteen with my first beer

And the sun goes down on this sleepy southern town
Clinging to the only home I’ve known
Where judgment’s in the air
And the heat’s too much to bear
And the only thing that’s moving
Is the Arkansas River flow

They separate the haves and haven’ts
Through the local beauty pageants
Good Christian girls that are gonna go far
But it’s common knowledge
That we might not get to college
Cause we’re spending time in the back of our cars


Everybody sees what you’re gonna be
Everybody knows you’re a shooting star
Putting on a show
So nobody knows
Nobody knows who you really are

Sittin in Sunday service
Trying not to be nervous
That the preacher’s gonna call my name
Cause I had some indecision
And I questioned my religion
I still go baptized just the same


Yes the only thing that’s moving
Is the Arkansas River’s flow

Heart on the Mend

Written By: Sally Shuffield

Driving alone down an old country road
Dusty winds blow but they’re blowing me home
The sun’s in my eyes and the wind’s in my hair
They let me know that you are there
Let me know that you are there

Travelin along with my thoughts and a song
Our courses in life call for us to be strong
I’d rather be with you but I’m far away
And I love you more than I can say
I love you more than I can say

I think that a memory can stay
With you for all of your days
Everyone has a heart on the mend
But I know you’re my dearest friend
And I know your love just won’t end

The sky up above me the earth down below
I carry you with me wherever I go
You leave me each morning when you start your day
It’s the same as me driving away
The same as me driving away


Everyone has a heart on the mend
But I know you’re my dearest friend
And I know your love just won’t end

Something in the Water

Written By: Sally Shuffield

Seven hundred miles on the California Trail
Something’s in the water
Circle up the wagons and tighten down the sails
Mothers protect your daughters

Fog roles in the clearing and covers up the ground
Birds have stopped their chatter
They said their prayers this morning before they started out
But it doesn’t seem to matter

And the sun shone bright on that cold September day
Sparkled on the ground as they hit their knees to pray
So many colors as the day became the night
River’s running red, mixed with the white man’s sin

They came from Arkansas and they didn’t know the law
It’s all about religion
The chosen people said that the other’s better dead
God made the decision

Separate the dresses and put away the shoes
Maybe we could use them
It’s us that are the righteous for what we had to do
Try not to confuse them


Perhaps it wasn’t wise, but half and dozen wives
Cried for the babies
They’d raise them up to see a Morman family
That’s not so crazy

But when the holy man, touched them with his hand
They’d try not to be countin
The bodies on the ground, scattered all around
Out on Meadow Mountain



Something in the Water (2006) - Charted nationally on the Folk DJ Charts and the FAR Charts.

Ties That Bind (2001) - Played on over 100 radio stations nationally and overseas.

Backroads of My Mind (1999)

-"Rythms of Durango" CD to put out by the City of Durango to promote Durango musicians (2006)

-"Slickrock and Sagebush" benefitting the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (2000)

Single-“Alaska Skies,” Song that pays tribute the the Arctic Refuge and the Porcupine Caribou Herd. $1 of every sale goes to benefit the Alaska Wilderness League. (2004)

Set List

Plays 95% original material. Prefer one hour show, or two 45 minute sets.