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Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Americana Rock


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



"Craig Bowles"

Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown have been working together as a songwriting partnership since 2006. The duo first paired up as an exclusive songwriting tandem but soon realized that merely writing together wasn’t going to sustain their desires. Their fifth studio release since then, Tapestry of Shadows, testifies to the wisdom of that decision.

The dozen songs do an excellent, often vivid job of tapping into the traditional roots of American music, folk and the blues, in ways that few practitioners of the form dare attempt. They are, as well, experts at conjuring atmosphere without ever sounding hackneyed when attempting it – every effect on the album comes off quite honestly and in keeping with the spirit of the song. It’s extraordinary to hear such evocative work coming in at such a point in our musical history, but Humphrey/McKeown recall the past without ever seeming beholden to it.

It’s apparent on the album’s first song. Beautiful has the sort of resonance that sounds loose and easily achieved, but a closer listen to songs like this show the hard work and skill required to make these sort of efforts work up to their potential. Songs like this don’t happen by happenstance. The trading off of vocal and instrumental lines with such fluidity and coherence comes from a lifetime of woodshedding and honing your chops to a sharp edge.

The groove on Better Day is quite unlike anything else you’ll hear on this album or, frankly, in this genre. Humphrey/McKeown make a great impression utilizing traditional instrumentation, like banjo and mandolin, in unexpected ways. The production on this track and others highlights another of the album’s strengths – the striking juxtaposition of a bright, lively recording sparks well with the generally serious and often times melancholy bent to their lyrics and songwriting. The blues is definitely a presence on this collection, but it is wisely tempered.

You Don’t Know Me moves away from the overt blues influences on the preceding track in a favor of a lightly balladic air. The piano isn’t a constant presence during this performance, but plays a much stronger role than any of the opening songs and certainly sets a mood for everything that follows. McKeown’s vocals are particularly strong here.
Flower on the Wall might make some think the duo has a little bit more classic country influence in what they do than what they play up, but the folk influences in what they do come across even more strongly here and there’s even a quasi-world music flair in the lyrical violin work.

The appropriately titled Our Beautiful Sad Dance is one of the album’s more delicate works and greatly relies on the tight entwining of Humphrey and McKeown’s vocals.
There’s a more deliberate stride pushing the performance of Your Secret’s Safe and even some shades of dark humor coming through in its lyrical content. The duo’s songwriting is consistently clever and distinguished by a high level of smarts that never fails.
Tapestry of Shadows’ second to last track, Madness, has a much bolder and assertive vocal from both McKeown and Humphrey, but it never dominates the track.

The finale of Sunshine Today strikes a different mood, both musically and lyrically, than what we’ve heard from the earlier tracks and brings the release to a strong close. There’s obviously been a great deal of thought and planning expended on the construction of this album and, along with its high quality, it results in the best release yet from this duo.

9 out of 10 stars - Indie Music Review

"By Natalie Perez"

Humphrey-McKeown have been pushing themselves since early 2016, where writing began to unfold, followed by a recording process that took place that late summer into the fall of around May through December time frame. During this time the album came together as 12-tracks, going on to be titled “Tapestry of Shadows”. But what does this album mean, well besides putting in so much effort as it was for it, the band has gone on to release a glimpse into it with a song called “Passing Shadows”. The genre that this band goes for is a mixture of folk, rock, with those mixed together as contemporary folk rock. But before getting into detail about the track and music style, let us get some more details out there. Did we forget to mention that this band is not your regular based act of 4 or 5 members, nor is it a trio act, it is a duo act. Yes this is made up of just two people, Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown.

Buy –

That said and out of the way “Passing Shadows”, takes the genres enlisted before and enhances them. The song is indeed folk rock it’s made up of entirely that type of genre alone. The song sounding a lot like country but it is not. It is folk rock, having those guitars, drums, bass, as well as a fiddle with vocal chords to boot. But there are two sets of vocal chords, one done by Heather and the other by Tom. Each sharing their own abilities and aspect of the music that goes with this song. The two do their own thing, throughout the song though. Each having their own skill and mind set with musical abilities. Heather’s style is calm and collected. While Tom’s vocal chords are more laid back and progressive. Each of the vocal chord sets play off one another, while they may not be singing together at the same time, each one plays off one another as one ends and the other begins if you will.

The genre and instrumental work done for this song is rather catchy and upbeat. While the song may not be one for everyone it is still a song that can be heard at least once. The song is one of those you could possibly hear played within a fantasy film or television program. It just has that essence to it, with its folk rock style sense, it surely has the ability to embrace that environment if it hit that source wave.

As such, the song that is “Passing Shadows” ends up being a song that sounds interesting enough to the ear. It has the moments of being catchy and upbeat. Offering so much more as well. Like it is able to flow freely throughout its time frame, able to draw in the listener, having the song expand to be one that can even be danceable. If not that then perhaps Humphrey-McKeown, is just one of those bands, that just has that sense to create, doing what they love to do with the music, building it as it comes along. - Skope Magazine

"Beach Sloth"

Humphrey-McKeown’s “Passing Shadows” is a pop anthem with rich triumphant folk underpinnings. The drums have a physicality to them. Strings add to the power of the piece as they nicely frame the strong vocals that define the sound. Indeed, it is the lyrical might of the song that truly drives them forward. Highly articulate, the lyricism represents a hope for the future. With this hopeful, joyous message the song is driven forward. A choir further helps to emphasize this communal spirit.
Beginning right in the thick of things the way the song unfolds is masterful. From such a large sound the song scales it back a little to focus more fully on the compelling story that slowly builds over the course of the song. Nimble little strings add to the playful folksy spirit that dwells deep in the center of the piece. Melodies soar into the sky with a sense of purpose. Positively radiating with life, the way the song builds itself up into a force of nature has a comforting, welcoming feeling to it. By choosing such a style, the song has a clear-eyed vision of what it wants its future to be. Slowly but surely the sound evolves into something after more ornate and blissful. Towards the end of the piece the piano and fiddle come together in a gorgeous cascade of color. Quite spirited the entirety of the sound feels vibrant.

Passionate and pitch-perfect, Humphrey-McKeown’s “Passing Shadows” embodies the sound of celebration with such grace. - Beach Sloth

"The Bandcamp Diaries"

Humphrey-McKeown’s “Passing Shadows” is a pop anthem with rich triumphant folk underpinnings. The drums have a physicality to them. Strings add to the power of the piece as they nicely frame the strong vocals that define the sound. Indeed, it is the lyrical might of the song that truly drives them forward. Highly articulate, the lyricism represents a hope for the future. With this hopeful, joyous message the song is driven forward. A choir further helps to emphasize this communal spirit.

Beginning right in the thick of things the way the song unfolds is masterful. From such a large sound the song scales it back a little to focus more fully on the compelling story that slowly builds over the course of the song. Nimble little strings add to the playful folksy spirit that dwells deep in the center of the piece. Melodies soar into the sky with a sense of purpose. Positively radiating with life, the way the song builds itself up into a force of nature has a comforting, welcoming feeling to it. By choosing such a style, the song has a clear-eyed vision of what it wants its future to be. Slowly but surely the sound evolves into something after more ornate and blissful. Towards the end of the piece the piano and fiddle come together in a gorgeous cascade of color. Quite spirited the entirety of the sound feels vibrant.

Passionate and pitch-perfect, Humphrey-McKeown’s “Passing Shadows” embodies the sound of celebration with such grace. - The Bandcamp Diaries

"Joshua Smotherman"

Humphrey-McKeown is the songwriting team of Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown who founded their creative partnership sometime in 2006.

Fast forward to the present and this powerful duo has not slowed down one bit. From writing songs for publishers in Chicago, LA and Nashville to recording 4 full length albums in 3 years to moving live audiences with their band, Humphrey-McKeown’s secret lies in focusing on the song.

It’s all about the song… nothing else really matters.”
With their refreshing blend of elements from Americana, folk, rock, pop and progressive styles of music, Humphrey-McKeown have paved a lane all their own.

Their newest single, Passing Shadows, is an excellent display of the group’s ability to seamlessly weave these various elements into a beautiful, unified tapestry of sonically stimulating frequencies.
From the sweet mandolin tones to the epic and thematic drums to the vocal exchanges of Heather and Tom, Passing Shadows is a potent and impactful song encouraging us to shine on through the passing shadow.

“From the first note we played together, we all knew the magic was there. It was very exciting!” says Tom McKeown. - Middle Tennessee Music

"Our Culture Magazine"

Humphrey-McKeown’s “Passing Shadows” is the latest piece of music made by the band that is so powerful. The song carries beautiful progression and gifts us instrument combinations that really gives us the flavor of what Humphrey-McKeown’s are, edgy and true to themselves. The song carries us into the world of the band and really reveals the true artistic diversity that the band has.
Overall, the song is truly beautiful, it develops throughout and even more so gives us a feel of what Humphrey-McKeown are known for, which is experimental, diverse and honest music that we all want to hear. - Our Culture Magazine

"Super Star Central"

Illinois residents Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown make up the key pieces to the group Humphrey-McKeown. They have an amazing blend to their vocals that creates a very soothing and flawless sound. Their latest release "Passing Shadows" is a beautiful configuration of inspiring music. From a great beat that makes you want to nod your hear, to creative song play from Humphrey and McKeown as they go back and forth before combining their potent voices for a powerful chorus. As they sing about light in the darkness and hope in our worse times, you can hear their own inner strengths they have found in their lifetime. In this day and age we can use more positive and uplifting music. And today we have something not available in many other places. The official song release of Humphrey-McKeowns latest single "Passing Shadows." Take a moment and give a listen to some feel good music and find that good feeling inside your self. For what doesn't kill us makes us stronger...and all rain clouds pass. Enjoy the music and follow Humphey-McKeown for more music updates - Super Star Central

"Tuned Loud"

Humphrey-McKeown’s new single “Passing Shadows” never lets their audience forget that they play contemporary folk music, but the duo’s brand of folk has a modern flair for rock-flint touches, panels of torchlight arrangements, graceful strings, and a pint of sultry soulful vocals. Their track is where folk meets heartland rock, where Americana and soulful harmonies share a common ground. Comprised of core members Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown, as well as Jim Livas, Tony Meadors and Gary Jacklin, the collective really make the best with what they have, fusing nostalgic folk-rock instrumentation with modern-pop intonations.
“Passing Shadows” shines light on some rootsy folk harmonies that make the melody jump out at the listener. Their harmonizing inflames the song’s organic rock vibrations made up of layers of acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, fiddle and bass, all thoroughly beaten together by big booming drums.

It’s hard not to think of the best tracks Fleetwood Mac brought to the table in their heyday, when listening to this song. The similarities are uncanny – same visceral but highly polished sound, same sense of catchy melodies built upon expansive chord progressions and luscious harmonies, same dynamic vocals and ever-changing rhythmic schemes.

But that’s where the similarities end – the supreme quality of the structural formulas may be the same, but the substance is pure Humphrey-McKeown.

On “Passing Shadows” the acoustic guitars are tucked behind the melodic strings of the mandolin while Humphrey-McKeown’s vocals resonate with arches and imprints that emboss velvety creases in the melody.

The song is so cleanly polished that it gleams like glass. Not a single tendril is left unfinished, while the melody and lyrics are meant to inspire and move your heart rate: “Dance for the common man when they don’t think they can. Dance as it all comes to an end. Speak for the silent voice when they don’t have a choice. Speak as the one who is a friend.” As the music manipulates our emotions, the lyrics give hope a central place.

It’s difficult not to become wrapped up in the bouncy, infectious rhythm and the song possesses a killer anthemic drum and vocal hook, tailor-made for any extravagant arena performances. On the same note it’s not too much to say that Humphrey-McKeown are one of the most promising figures in contemporary folk-rock music.
They are currently preparing their new album “Tapestry of Shadows” – of which you can be a part by joining them on Pledge Music – which once released, in my opinion, will help them to swiftly make their climb to industry and fan acclaim. - Tuned Loud

"Rebecca Cullen"

Humphrey-Mckeown are an act that make exciting, uplifting yet exclusively organic music. Passing Shadows is a superb song and a great place to start if you’re new to the band’s sound.
The passion and power of classic folk-rock is alive and thriving, and Passing Shadows offers everything we know and love about the genre, but with a fresh take on it all, and a brilliantly memorable bit of songwriting. The song itself could actually transfer quite easily to any number of genres, a sign of strong and effective writing and melody use. However, the instrumentation featured in the track is stunning – everything from the rhythm to the strings to the riffs to the harmonies, and also the impressive use of structure, evolution, and communication between each of these components; it all makes for a powerful and compelling few minutes of listening.
The track has a big sound, it builds in a gradual yet striking way, and this is something that gives it that very organic, real sound. There are also certain quieter moments within the track that show the softer side of the songwriting, the gentler side of the band’s artistry.
On a lyrical level, the song offers some important ideas and an underlying sense of optimism – something there can never be too much of, particularly during the world’s more trying times. The verses touch on the darker side of life, though the chorus makes that crucial switch to the positive, the possible, and the music reflects this sidestep well. A live show is a must, and as the release date for their new album draws closer the prospect of an extended collection is an exciting one.
Shine on in our darkest hour, when hope is the only light.. - Stereo Stickman

"The Widows Peak Bandit"

Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown are two talented writers that formed a musical partnership in 2006. Since linking up, the duo has been able to create this unique style of music that blends folk, rock, pop, and more. With this new track called ‘Passing Shadows’, the duo delivers an epic song that exemplifies why they are one of the most unique music acts out right now.

First off, the contributions from each instrument on this song is phenomenal! You get heavy hitting drums, an absolutely riveting contribution from the Violin, and tone-setting guitar play throughout. Together, the instruments create this platform for the singers to do something special sonically.

The vocalists on this song give off this retro sound, reminding me of some of the major hits from the 1970’s. Tom and Heather go back and forth with one another on the verses, promoting this message of uplift to listeners. Their voices are powerful, at times even giving me goosebumps.

The song will truly resonate with you. - The Ratings Game

"Glitter and Stilettos"

--“Passing Shadows”, the latest release by Humphrey-McKeown instantly captures listeners with epic instrumentation and uplifting vocals. The song offers a spirited performance combining various elements of rock, pop, and folk while encompassing the gorgeous layers of the all-American ethos.
While listening to Humphrey-McKeown, fans will be whisked away into an ethereal dimension which is illuminated by the theatrical nature of the score. At moments, “Passing Shadows” makes you feel as if you are in a 70s rock opera. Other times, the song transports you to contemporary times with an distinct alternative feel. Unmistakable however, are the country and folk-infused elements that take listeners to the core of the American soul or even the Midwest plains with a slightly gritty feel.
“Passing Shadows” is an easy listen with a nice danceable feel. The song truly has a distinct sound that is unconventional yet engaging. Humphrey-McKeown has developed a beautifully entertaining production that not only has mass appeal but inspires an appreciation for gifted multi-instrumentalists creating a picturesque layering of stunning images through sound and voice.
Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown are each one-half of Humphrey-McKeown, a songwriting and performance collaboration that started in 2006. The songwriting duo, after agreeing to partner took to the road and started writing for music publishers all over including places like LA, Chicago, and Nashville. The team is known for their diverse writing style, organic melodies, and drive to create new sounds that have never been heard of in the past.
Humphrey-McKeown has written over 100 different songs for other artists however, they have since shifted the focus from writing for others to defining their own unique musical presence. The duo’s first open mic in 2010 led to the release of four studio albums in a 3-year spans. Through a painstaking audition process, the duo was able to find several other great musicians to complete their band.
The band now consists of Heather Humphrey (lead and background vocals, piano, flute, and percussion), Tom McKeown (lead and background vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, piano, synths, bass, drums, and percussion) Jim Livas (drums and percussion) and Tony Meadors (Upright bass, 4&5 string electric bass, and background vocals). Humphrey-McKeown’s sound has been described as contemporary Folk-Rock Americana while their styles encompass a variety of genres such as rock, pop, country, folk, and progressive. The secret sauce to their unique sound is “a hint of Brill Building songwriting” ( The band’s upcoming release is called ‘Tapestry of Shadows’ which is due out on May 20th, 2017. Visit to learn more about the band and their music. - Glitter and Stilettos

"David Shouse"

There aren’t as many active songwriting duos consistently working today. Scanning the major genres reveals that the last lingering bastion of such an approach, a remnant of the Brill Building’s influence on popular song, exists in various forms of Americana songwriting. One of the best songwriting partnerships working in the Americana style today is, without question, Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown’s longstanding collaboration. The two began working together in the early years of this young century and soon realized that, rather than peddling their collaborative efforts to various performers, they would better serve their own dreams and desires by recording and performing their material together. The duo, five albums later, have conclusively proven their instinct to be correct. Their latest release Tapestry of Shadows continues the ongoing process for the duo and finds them now evolving into a full band sound that sounds completely organic rather than seeming more like a mere vehicle for their songwriting. These are songs and arrangements that stand up nicely on their respective feet.
“Beautiful” brings things off with a memorable start. It has a solidly Americana base, but there are a number of structural points in the song that are pure pop. These moments, however, are never handled cheaply. Humphrey/McKeown do an excellent job of weaving the traditional elements of their sound in with this more modern feel. There’s a bit of a bluesy downcast to the second song “Better Day” but, like the opener, it embraces the sound of adult oriented popular song in a way that makes its traditional sound unusually fresh. The slinky, slightly behind the beat tempo of the song gives it an additional allure. McKeown’s vocals come out much more on the song “You Don’t Know Me”. They are name-checking, perhaps indirectly, a pop standard with their own stylish track, a dark jazzy glide with a fluid bass line and seamless changes that might seem a little predictable, but in the most pleasing and inevitable of ways. “Sasha on the Carousel” is another of the album’s more memorable tunes thanks, in no small part, to its melodic strengths – particularly the chorus. The songwriters’ voices come together very nicely on this song and there’s a reflective quality in the lyrics that matches the arrangement quite well.
The violin playing adds a third voice to the mix on “Our Beautiful Sad Dance” and it is the chief melodic vehicle in an otherwise lean musical narrative whose simplicity works beautifully. “You and I” has an almost hypnotic intensity centered on some rather simple melodic phrases and an intense vocal duet between McKeown and Humphrey. “Madness” and “Sunshine Today” end the album with a distinctive character. The former is a lyrically inventive and has the steady stride listeners might associate with folk rock rather than outright Americana. “Sunshine Today” is bright and buoyant in a way few songs on Tapestry of Shadows can match, but it’s comparatively upbeat demeanor doesn’t sound out of place and brings the twelve song album to a close on a thankfully upbeat note.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Groping Towards Grace

"Palace of Rock"

Humphrey-McKeown - Tapestry of shadows (2017) Americana from windy city
"Tapestry of shadows" is the 5th album from Chicago based Americana / folk rock band Humphrey-McKeown, led by Heather Humphrey - Lead Vocals/Piano and Tom McKeown - Lead Vocals/Guitars/Banjo.
Although, this album is mainly filled with classic Americana sounds, the listener will find traces of jazz and blues in "You don´t know me" and progressive rock in "You and I".
I´m not a fan of the entire album but I do like "Your secret´s safe" that bring thoughts to Led Zeppelin IV and the beautiful" Sasha on the carousel", not to mention the folk-rock-prog-ish "Passing shadows" which is the best song on the album.
I don´t know if the band tour like crazy but they could easily fool me because they sound like a tight unit that performs 100 shows per year.
(+) Thumbs up for the great performance on acoustic bass from Tony Meadors.
(-) The vocals are a bit too high and sharp in the mix. - Palace of Rock

"Bradley Johnson"

Lightning doesn’t always strike. The world is full of songwriters who, despite discernible talents, never find the right collaborators or creative circumstance to fully express their artistic desires. More often than not, generations of original musicians and otherwise come and go without any leaving a lasting mark beyond audience memories. When two songwriters find each other and strike up a productive creative partnership, the effect is noticeable. The sum becomes greater than the value of its parts and things reach a place unavailable to them individually. Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown met in the early years of the century and quickly struck up a songwriting team who pitched material to a variety of performers in a wide array of styles. They soon chafed having to subvert their own musical ambitions to the demands of the marketplace in such a way and opted, instead, for recording their songs together as a duo. The latest release from the tandem, Tapestry of Shadows, is a full length studio effort ranking among their finest and proof of the abiding chemistry they established long ago.
They definitely write and record in an Americana vein, but there’s the compactness of pop songwriting imposed over their vision and it makes for an excellent match. It is a fortunate twist of fate that Humphrey and McKeown’s voice strike up such obvious chemistry – they confidently ride the numerous peaks and valleys of the song’s trajectory without ever betraying an obvious misstep. Some of the album’s other material is just as mine, but a little more retro minded. “Better Day” has some of the same pop leanings as we heard on the opener, but they are more muted here in favor of a bluesier approach. The duo’s words are on point throughout and “Better Day” is one of the more effective examples of how they refine longstanding themes with their own style. The light lilt of “Someday” sets up another lyrical instrumental turn but the vocal arrangement is equally melodic. Understatement, once again, is key.
The singers’ duet over some scattered flashes of violin and delicately wrought acoustic guitar work throughout the entirety of “Sasha on the Carousel”. The vocal melody is among the album’s finest and difficult to soon forget. “Passing Shadows” has a surprisingly hard charging snap thanks to its percussion and quickly builds a tremendous amount of barely restrained energy. The duo structures “You and I” around some more string instruments and, primarily, some beautifully evocative piano work. The gut wrenching exchange between Humphrey and McKeown on this track comes at an excellent place in the album’s running order and leaves a mark. There’s a number of songs included on Tapestry of Shadows that certainly lives up to the melancholy implied in its title, but the clouds musically break on the finale “Sunshine Today”. The effect is never crass however. There’s a genuine sense of hope emerging from this final song. It ends the album on a much appreciated note and rounds out listeners’ possible experiences in hearing this.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Blues You Can Use

"Mark Yoder"

Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown have sustained their songwriting partnership over the course of five albums, a radically altered musical landscape, and rapidly changing tastes that might have otherwise left them moored in the reefs. They have survived and prospered thanks to talent, above all else, but surely because of the personal connection they share that’s so strongly manifested in their work – and, moreover, the components of their individual personalities that allow them the latitude to keep their gaze resolutely focused on what they want to accomplish as an unit and exhibiting the necessary discipline to bring that off. Their latest album Tapestry of Shadows is a testament to their continued value as a recording, writing, and performing outfit and they’ve surrounded themselves with a supporting musical cast who gives the songs an unified band feel. It all, in the end, comes down to the unique confluence of their voices why Humphrey/McKeown still stand out and above after all these years.
It’s the songwriting quality too. I defy anyone who claims to be a fan of singer/songwriter driven music, blues, classic country, and bluegrass to hear the opener “Beautiful” for the first time and not be bowled over by the completeness of sound, the seamless entwining of their voices, and the exceptional lyrical content This is the sort of composition and performance that drags traditional music out from beneath its pinned-like-a-butterfly-under-glass existence and restores it to brilliant modern life with the sort of uncluttered, lush instrumentation that only rare performers can manage. “You Don’t Know Me” is steered by McKeown’s voice, primarily, but it’s a wrenching tune in any great singer’s hands. The vocal makes the most of their moment by digging deeply into the phrasing potential. “Flower on the Wall” is a beautifully wrought mid tempo number with just the right amount of spacing between the instruments and a rambling, loose confidence that will immediately lure listeners in. Humphrey/McKeown hit a peak of sorts on the release with their vocal performance on the track “Someday”. One of the best parts of their harmony work is how it is clearly never intended to land with unerring accuracy. Their voices are extraordinarily complementary, but there’s a suggestion of spontaneity pervading every passage that many will find quite entertaining.
“Our Beautiful Sad Dance” has a stark beauty that many of the earlier and later songs do not possess. It isn’t even overly theatrical or stilted however; the vocals bring flesh and blood emotions to life in such a way that you never question the track’s credibility. “Your Secret’s Safe”, thanks to its alluring vocal melody and sharp accessible lyrics, seems like it could be an ideal single for the band – there’s not a lot about this song the audience won’t be able to relate to. Their duet vocals on the song, once again, give it a quality it might otherwise lack and it works marvelously. “Madness” begins very deliberately, but it soon packs quite a punch and moves with a steady stride that makes it one of the second half’s most memorable performances. Tapestry of Shadows has a lot of sounds and makes quite an impression even with one listen. Later listens reveal even more riches.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Music of the World

"Jason Hillenburg"

The fifth album from Chicago based songwriting duo Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown represents another artistic peak in a partnership that can lay credible claim to being among the best working today in any genre. Tapestry of Shadows includes a dozen songs that move through a variety of moods with all the grace and patience fans of the duo have come to expect while newcomers will be consistently pleased by the twosome’s penchant for refurbishing traditional sounds in fresh, inventive ways. Working with first class supporting musicians affords them with the ability to realize the many different moods these tracks exhibit in a tasteful, musically restrained way. Make no mistake, however – Tapestry of Shadows is, likewise, a tapestry of melodic colors that never fail to impress and are further burnished by a lyrical sensibility that is, in turns, geared to serve the songwriting, powerfully literate, and possessed with first class storytelling attributes.
“Beautiful” is one of the more poetic numbers on Tapestry of Shadows. A significant amount of that poetry does come from the duo’s lyrics, but much of it emerges from the music as well. The mandolin and fiddle pairing on this song gives it an unique, introspective flavor, but the moodiness gets a smooth surface thanks to the vocals. Humphrey and McKeown sing in duet on this track and, while they aren’t classically trained singers by any measure, they invest their performance with required range. “Better Day” moves away from the opener’s folk style and settles on a bluesy groove lacking the same urgency of tempo heard during the opener, but still slithering with powerful impetus. The atmospheric qualities of their songwriting are further accentuated on “You Don’t Know Me”. The delicate weaving of the song’s spartan instrumentation finds just the right mood for this reflective and even occasionally bitter lyric. Few bands or performers are able to invoke darkness in their material without making it a dreary listening experience, but Humphrey/McKeown understand how to prevent their serious side from dragging down their audience. Instead, they offer rich dramatic experiences that still entertain.
“Flower on the Wall” returns to the duo’s strong folky bent and gains a lot from its stirring violin. The violin appears often on Tapestry of Shadows and often serves, in some ways, as a third singer whose “voice” perfectly complements Humphrey’s and McKeown singing. Few songs better embody that quality than this one and the windswept sound of the performance has a particularly gripping side. Humphrey and McKeown’s performance of “Someday” is one of the most aching, yet exquisitely gentle outings on the release. It takes a great deal of finesse and feeling alike to make a track like this work as well as it can, but the duo and their talented surrounding cast make it seem effortless. “Sasha on the Carousel” and its follow up “Our Beautiful Sad Dance” are an particularly interesting pair. The first track has a much more sadly elegiac feeling while still retaining some of the sweeping qualities defining earlier songs while the duo strips things away to a bare bones setup for the latter song. It is an especially effective performance, however, and one of the sleeper gems on this release. Tapestry of Shadows is a resounding success for this songwriting partnership that, after five albums, shows no signs of fading away. - Music Emissions

"Ed Price"

Great songwriting partnerships are increasingly rare. More and more young artists seem to aim for the recognition that solo success brings and tethering their futures to the talents of another seems like it will only dilute their glory. Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown, however, are superb individual talents who realize their combined chemistry is much greater. Such instances are rare and require an unique confluence of personalities and skill. Often one is achieved without the other and those instances are near-misses that, invariably, don’t have staying power. Humphrey and McKeown, however, share an all-encompassing musical and emotional sympathy that comes through in each of the twelve songs on Tapestry of Shadows. Their fifth release brings some new musical faces into their fold and results in one of the most seamless “band efforts” yet from this duo, but their customary mix of traditional with the individual makes this a much more memorable effort.
You know you’ve struck something special just based on the opener alone. “Beautiful”, at first glance, might strike some as trite just based on title alone. It would be a hasty judgment. One of the abiding qualities of the duo’s music is how their songwriting continually upends listener’s expectations. “Beautiful” tackles familiar themes in popular song with an unusual poetic sensibility, yet it never overreaches and hits all the right reflective and exploratory notes. “Better Day”, the album’s second track, proves that the duo’s musical explorations have the same flexibility as their lyrical and vocal ones. The deep fried Southern feel they find here requires just the right amount of restraint from the players to pull it off and the duo, ably supported by their collaborators, pull it off with flying colors. They take a different tenor altogether on the third song “You Don’t Know Me”. This isn’t a cover of the longtime pop standard, but rather one of the duo’s best originals defined by a haunting vocal from McKeown that finds the emotional key to this early one and dovetails nicely with the arrangement. The arrangement hinges on the collaboration between piano and other instruments – it has a deeply emotional, melodic grace that many will love.
There’s a slight shuffle quality prevalent on the duo’s performance of “Someday” that peaks nicely on the chorus. It’s one of the album’s songs where the duo sings together with the best effect and they exhibit just the right amount of restraint. The lyrics, as well, are among the finest on the album and the duo finds just the right phrasing even working as duet. They hit another high point with the impressive “Sasha on the Carousel”. This is one of the album’s better lyrics thanks to its evocative imagery that, only occasionally, falls flat. When it works, however, it works so well that listeners are transported into the song’s point of view with little effort. The march tempo and assertive percussion heard in “Passing Shadows” sets it apart from much of the surrounding material but the differences in presentation are never so stark that the track seems incongruous placed against the remainder of the album. Tapestry of Shadows succeeds for many reasons, but artistry is chief among them and that quality has defined Humphrey and McKeown’s work through five albums and counting.
Grade: A- - Growing Old with Rock and Roll

"Alonzo Evans"

The Windy City has been called home by a variety of first class artists and musical acts over the years. Songwriters Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown demonstrate on their fifth album, Tapestry of Shadows, that they deserve inclusion with those names. The dozen songs on this new release show the same penchant for risk-taking that defines the earlier releases. The thrust of much of the band’s music has strong Americana roots, but the duo and their fellow musicians mix up their traditional approach with some twists and turns that newcomers might not expect. The blending of these various sounds never falls short and the collection’s cohesiveness is one of the classic hallmarks of all topflight acts. Humphrey and McKeown have hit a new peak in their partnership with this effort and their complementary talents are deepening with time.
The first song, “Beautiful”, keys off the deceptively simple sounding interplay between mandolin and violin and the attractiveness of this exchange remains consistent throughout the entirety of the track. There’s a gorgeous earnestness about the way Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown’s voice intertwine with each other – they are a natural fit however they structure their vocals, but that aforementioned earnestness comes through most strongly when they are singing together like they are on the title cut. “Better Day” has a slightly darker edge than the opener, accentuated by its slithering tempo, but melody remains the abiding bedrock of the duo’s compositional sensibilities. The banjo incorporated on this song has a strong effect on the listener without ever seeming too much like what we’ve heard before. One of the across the board great qualities that Humphrey and McKeown show throughout is how well they pour old wine into new bottles – traditional melodies and instrumentation are turned to unfamiliar ends while still retaining their recognizable qualities.
“You Don’t Know Me” is an even darker turn than the aforementioned track and the vocals do an excellent job pulling this off without ever becoming too self indulgent. The bass opening the song is soon joined by some gradually evolving piano lines and the patient weaving of the song’s musical elements pays off from the first. McKeown and Humphrey switch off lead vocals to excellent effect. “Sasha on the Carousel” is another high point on the release thanks to its gentle lyricism and one of Humphrey’s best vocal performances and trading off lines works once again for the two singers. One of the album’s late jewels, “Passing Shadows”, has a theatrical intensity that, fortunately, never bites off more than it can chew and presents some of the finest lyrics on Tapestry of Shadows. Many of the album’s songs have a darker cast to them, but the duo never cheapens those moments with short cuts or trite clichés. “You and I” has a slightly droning quality thanks to the brief, repetitive piano line. The violin and vocal presentation further flesh out the performance, however, and make it one of the album’s possibly underrated highlights. Tapestry of Shadows has much to offer purist and casual fan alike – not a single song sounds like anything less than a genuine band vehicle and the traditional elements in each performance are quite credible. Humphrey/McKeown have written and recorded their best album yet.
9 out of 10 stars - Skope Magazine

"G.W. Hill"

It seems that a lot of people get their music in small, single song dosages these days. That's probably a good thing for this album. That's because not everything is strong. There are a couple tunes that I would have left off the album to make it a better release. Unfortunately one of those is the opener. It tries to hard to be tied to modern pop and falls flat because of it. I tend to think that the closing tune, while not one I'd have left off, might have worked better toward the middle of the set. Still, this act's balance of roots based music with rock and country elements works really well. The two voices tend to play off one another and complement each other in style most of the time. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes folk based music. I'd suggest you skip the first track and start with the second one, though.
Track by Track Review
Energized, this is part of folk and roots music and part pop rock. It's rather fun, but I'm not crazy about a lot of the vocals on it.
Better Day
Now, this is much better. It's more of a blues based number. The roots elements bring folk and country to the table. This is classy.
You Don't Know Me
The bass that starts this brings a bit of a jazz vibe to the table. The cut works out from there in a fairly stripped back and very cool arrangement. As this gets more layers of sound later I'm actually reminded of things like the more world music based stuff from Camper Van Beethoven. Coming from me, that's high praise. This has quite a bit of a progressive vibe to it, too. As good as the last song was, this is even stronger.
Flower on the Wall
This opens more purely folk music oriented. It grows out to something with a lot more layers over the top. To me, when it starts it's not as strong. When it gets more powerful, then it really soars.
There is some pop rock in the song structure here, but overall this is a more purely folk oriented thing. It has some catchy hooks and energy. It's not as strong as the last couple tunes, though. It definitely feels like something that would have been at home in the late 60s or early 70s.
Sasha on the Carousel
This one definitely feels like the folk groups of the 1960s. It's pure folk and packed with magic. It's a highlight of the set.
Our Beautiful Sad Dance
The title of this really fits. This is beautiful and sad. It's mellow folk music. It's one of the strongest cuts of the set.
Your Secret's Safe
More energetic, this is more of a folk rocker. I really like this one, too. It's a potent number with some great melodies and themes.
Passing Shadows
The opening of this makes me think of some of the more folk oriented stuff from Fleetwood Mac. As it grows out to more rocking stuff, that comparison still applies. This is a powerhouse tune. It might be my favorite number of the set. The jamming on this is exceptional. It works out more to Celtic prog territory during those instrumental sections.
You and I
Pretty and poignant, this is very much a folk prog styled piece. It has so much drama and power. It's another highlight of the set.
This is a fast paced tune that's probably more country that it is folk. It's a powerhouse number and another standout.
Sunshine Today
Country music and pop merge on this cut. It's a fun song, but not one of the highlights. Still, it does a decent job of closing things in style. - Music Street Journal

"Dan Weston"

3.9 out of 5
Heather Humphrey (vocals/piano/flute), Tom McKeown (vocals/guitars/mandolin/banjo harmonica), Jim Livas (drums/percussion), Tony Meadors (bass/background vocals) and Gary Jacklin (violin/vocals) are Humphrey-McKeown.
McKeown starting working with Humphrey in 2006 and since then they have released a good amount of music since then. The band seemed to go through a creative floodgate when they became a band in 2011. They released four studio albums between 2012 and 2015. That’s almost one album a year. Their latest entitled Tapestry of Shadows is due out next month.
Tapestry of Shadows is an easy to enjoy album for a number of reasons. The production is stop notch, the instrumental work is both creative and technically minded and the catchy melodies are prevalent whether it’s from an upright bass or a vocalist.
They mix aspects of folk and rock as well as a couple of other genres into an impressive array of sounds. Suffice it to say Tapestry of Shadows is an album that is easy on the ears. Grab the beverage of your choice and sit back and relax while taking this in .
Up first is “Beautiful.” I dare you not to enjoy the organic strings and upbeat and jovial vibe. The vocal harmonies are mixed just about perfectly. Up next is “Better Day” where Humphrey is on lead vocal for the first verse. She sounds very soulful on this track. The fiddle sounds especially good.
The band continues with the jazzy and relaxing “You Don’t Know Me.” The upright bass really gives the song a distinct feel and the fiddle almost feels Mediterranean.
“Sasha On The Carousel” is a warm, nostalgic emotionally resonant track free of percussion while “Your Secret’s Safe” and “You and I” does a fair amount of rocking. They close the album with “Sunshine Today” which is about as happy sounding as the title indicate.
Overall, Tapestry of Shadows is a no brainer. I’m more than convinced you will be a fan when you hear it. - Divide and Conquer

"Lydia Hillenburg"

Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown first began working together in 2006 and found some initial success working as a songwriting team and peddling their creations to a variety of artists. It wasn’t long, however, until they found themselves chomping at the bit to take their songwriting vision and do something with it themselves rather than feeling beholden to the whims and professional vagaries of another. It resulted in five albums, thus far, of uniformly high quality. The latest release from the duo, Tapestry of Shadows, is a twelve song affair with the sort of focus and wide ranging vision we typically associate with the greatest of artists and acts. Their sure-handed invocation of Americana music never follows a predictable path, but contains recognizable elements reaching out far from a mere regurgitation of the style’s trusty tropes. Tapestry of Shadows delves deep into universal human experiences and has a spark of the personal that will draw in many listeners.
The opening track makes this apparent. “Beautiful” doesn’t go in for any of the trite musical or lyrical explorations of the subject and, instead, hits a solidly soulful and melancholy note quite unlike anything happening today in the genre. The album’s third song, “You Don’t Know Me”, has a bittersweet sentiment conveyed by a musical arrangement placing a premium on imagination over obvious turns. Any predictability in the performance has a pleasing variety – listeners can come to expect it and admire how well Humphrey, McKeown, and their collaborators pull it off. “Flower on the Wall” has a more traditional slant than many of the other songs on Tapestry of Shadows, but it never smacks of the imitative. Instead, it serves as one more testament to the duo’s ability to refurbish traditional minded material in a thoroughly modern way.
“Someday” has a light, relaxed musical feel and the trading off of vocals between Humphrey and McKeown finds just the right balance for it to prove an entertaining listening experience. Their lyrical skills are always welcome – few songwriters, singly or in tandem, are so adept at balancing the disparate elements that go into making a great song while paying justified deference to all of them. One of the album’s high points, songwriting wise, comes with “Sasha on the Carousel”. This image-heavy song has a strongly personal air but, still, retains enough universality to allow everyone to enter into its world. The slight elegiac air pervading the track gives it a faintly sad air while never belaboring the emotion. “Passing Shadows” opens up with some hard-charging mandolin playing soon joined by some strong and simple drumming. The song does an exceptional job balancing its attitude between alternating Humphrey and McKeown vocals as well as different musical moods. The album’s finale, “Sunshine Today”, has a bright uplift quite different from the earlier songs but never so out of the ordinary that it doesn’t sound wholly consistent with what has come before. It’s an excellent finale for an album that personifies all the best qualities associated with the singer/songwriter or Americana form while avoiding all of its excesses.
Grade: A - The Modern Beat

"J. Chillen"

Based out of the Chicago area, musicians Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown are a musical partnership first formed in 2006 and responsible for five well-received, artful studio recordings. The latest offering from the duo, Tapestry of Shadows, finds them recruiting additional musicians to further flesh out their songwriting. Jim Livas’ drummer mixes nicely with their work and the contributions of Tony Meadors and Gary Jacklin, on bass and violin respectively, are superb additions clearly geared towards realizing what the songwriting requires. The latest album features a dozen songs and there isn’t a single moment of filler heard on the collection. Instead, this feels and sounds like a true band effort while maintaining the duo’s singular flair for bringing new twists into Americana musical traditions while staying strongly connected to the spirit within those long-standing forms. Tapestry of Shadows is a fully conceived, cohesive work of great beauty and impact.
The rousing, string-driven storm of the album’s opener “Beautiful” sets an immediate tone. Humphrey and McKeown succeed in a varied way – the music and melodies alike have a sweeping, cinematic quality, but the lyrical content draws blood as well. The fiddle, in particular, glides through the song with impressive fluency. There’s a much more pronounced rural or Southern quality to the second song “Better Day” and Heather Humphrey’s singing approximates every drop of that slow molasses drawl. McKeown’s vocals come in at key. The smoky jazz flavors conjured with “You Don’t Know Me” strike an immediate groove and the light vocal touch applied by McKeown hits its mark without ever sounding belabored. The song certainly conjures some reflections on the torch song with the same classic title, but a number of turns make it significantly different and Heather Humphrey’s entry in the song’s second half gives it unexpected character. The mood is decidedly downbeat, but never unpleasantly so. The classy piano fills, in particular, underscore the melancholy mood.
There’s an unexpectedly bright banjo bounce that keeps “Flower on the Wall” is, like the preceding number, has an atmospheric Gypsy taste quite unlike anything served up by other performers on the scene. The continued lyrical strengths of the duo’s material continue with “Sasha on the Carousel” – Humphrey alternates vocals with McKeown and they once again strike an ideal musical balance that never risks self indulgence. The specific qualities of the songwriting here are quite remarkable and evocative while never seeming to strain for effect. The intimate qualities of the album grow even more so with the song “Your Secret’s Safe” and the conspiratorial tinge to the song is further reinforced by the vocal duet they take here rather than trading off verses and lines as before. Another quality returning is the same near-subterranean slink in the musical arrangement. The album’s penultimate song, “Madness”, traffics a little in lyrical clichés, but the musical and vocal arrangement utterly redeems those excesses. Humphrey and McKeown are astonishingly natural vocal and songwriting partners – the latter quality would always be apparent so long as the interpreter were qualified, but even a cursory listen to their interplay on this album will assure any newcomer why they began recording albums. Tapestry of Shadows is a fantastic effort and reinforces the duo’s abiding skills. - No Depression

"Vents Magazine"

A traditional genre can find its way in a time where artists are almost obsessed with combining different melodies and styles together. The key? Taking the best elements of such genres and upgrade it into new highs, in a way that it keeps the essence of such genre while at same time it adds new layers to it. I’ve reviewed some rock and rap artists that have embrace this as their main mission, some with great success and others don’t.

Tapestry of Shadows by Chicago based band Humphrey-McKeown is a great Americana Folk album. Every song is filled with on point vocal harmonies by the two lead that never falls flat. The addition of the Banjo and Violin helps taking the listener to the rural corners of America in songs like “Beautiful” and “Better Days”. The album then changes to a much sober, darker if you wish, mood on “You Don’t Know Me” where the bass lines throughout the record and later the other string additions, gives the song a great Jazzy vibe proving the band it ain’t a one pony trick group. In the following tracks the band pretty goes back to its initial roots though they add some other elements that makes each one unique with “Passing Shadows” kicking off with this amazing intro that immediately hook you up, it’s also the closest to a classic rock song on the record.

If you aren’t really into the Roots genre that much, then there’s a big chance you will not enjoy the album nor the band. As mentioned earlier, this is a band that doesn’t play too much game with its music. Again, in a period where music doesn’t feel that sonically pure as before, the band has directly (or indirectly?) become heralds of the traditional Americana and Folk sound. This isn’t your Hipster, The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons type of Folk music but rather in the lane of Hank Williams Jr and Avett Brothers. Though they do add a few good elements here and there that gives some modern spin into their sound, it still remains pure to its (no pun intended) roots.

Overall, this has some potential to become a classic album. I can both see them wowing people in small Country bars to big stages. The vocal harmonies reached by Humphrey and McKeown on this record reminded me of those greatly made by Stevie and Lindsey in Fleetwood Mac. Definitely a must listen.

User Rating: 4.5 - Vents Magazine


"When the World Was Young," 2012
"On My Way Home," 2013
"Winter's Hill," EP, 2015
"All I Wanted to Hear," 2015
"Tapestry of Shadows," anticipated May 2017 album release

All albums can be found on I-Tunes, Amazon and other worldwide on-line music markets.



““With their refreshing blend of elements from Americana, folk, rock, pop and progressive styles of music, they have paved a lane all their own.”  Middle Tennessee Music - Joshua Smotherman


“Paving an Americana lane all their own,” this 5-piece modern Americana folk-rock act,  engages listeners in with organic melodies, originality of sound and soulful lyrics. Writing together since 2006, they delve deep into universal human experiences and captivate live audiences with their high energy music, atmospheric Gypsy taste, melodic colors and first class storytelling.

Shadowfields have created a buzz for themselves with their personal concerts to unsuspecting fans during tours, are on rotation on 120 independent radio stations across the U.S., Canada, and Europe and have released 5 albums in 6 years, self-produced by Tom McKeown and Heather Humphrey, Shadowfields' songwriters. “Tuned Loud” states, It’s not too much to say that they (Shadowfields) are one of the most promising figures in contemporary folk-rock music.”  Given much acclaim across varied press, their 5th album “Tapestry of Shadows,” (under prior band name of Humphrey-McKeown) is available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever digital music is sold .

The band’s songwriters and co-lead vocalists, Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown, met in their current home towns of Schaumburg, IL in 2006 when they joined forces to write for publishers in LA, Chicago and Nashville.
blending New York native, Heather’s innate sense of melody, and Chicago-based Tom’s pursuit of something new and unexpected, the partnership wrote for any occasion and in any style always seeking to better themselves and their craft.  After peddling their songs for the success of others, they realized they wanted to find success for themselves and write for their own musical voice. 

In 2011 they formed Humphrey-McKeown, subsequently released 4 studio albums from 2012-2015, and honed their unique take on Americana folk-rock. By bringing Tom and Heather’s his/her dual lead vocals to an Americana style with unexpected progressive sense, broad sweeping melodies, a big beat, and a touch of Brill building sensibilities, the Humphrey-McKeown sound was born.
 In March 2018, the band officially became Shadowfields.  
The entire band is actively touring across the U.S. and Canada.

PERFORMED IN CHICAGOLAND VENUES & FESTIVALS:   Joe's on Weed Street, Prairie Center for The Arts, Elbo Room, Double Door, Uncommon Ground (Clark and Devon), The Cubby Bear, Goose Island, Chicago City Limits, Durty Nellie’s, Egyptian Theater, Temple Bar, Chicago Union Station's Great Hall for Metra Promotional Event, Wicked Good Cafe, World of Beer, Escape, Cup and Vine, Mac's on Slade, Broken Oar, QBar, The Alley, The House Cafe, Fitz's Spare Keys, Bannerman's, Sugar Grove Festival, Septemberfest Schaumburg, Roger's Park Polar Palooza, and Bannerman's Music Festival. 

TOURING THROUGHOUT U.S. and CANADA:  Summerfest (2017) (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Layfeyette’s Music Room (Memphis, TN),  Windom Riverfest (Windom, MN), King’s Live Music (Conway, AK), Nice Ash Bar (Waukesha, WI), Black River Tavern (South Haven, MI), Chocolate Cafe (St. Joseph, MI), Three Lakes Performing Arts Center (Three Lakes, WI), Boulder Coffee (Rochester, NY), Blue Bird (Nashville, Tennessee),  Touche (Austin, TX), Rooftop on 6th (Austin, TX), Sweetwater Music Headquarters (Fort Wayne, IN), Lindberg's Tavern (Springfield, MO), Atomic Cowboy (St. Louis, MO), Opera House Café (Kansas City, MO), Madison's (Beaumont, TX), The Cove (San Antonio, TX), Opening Bell (Dallas, TX), Vintage Paris (Branson, MO), The Patriarch (Edmond, OK), Three Lakes Wisconsin Performing Arts Center (Three Lakes, Wisconsin) and house concerts in Ohio, Hamilton and Ancaster, Ontario Canada, Oklahoma and more. 

RADIO AIRPLAY:  Shadowfields has toured nationally and internationally and has been added into rotation at over 150 radio stations nationwide and in Canada.  In Chicago, Shadowfields have been a featured artist on WXRT Chicago, WGN Chicago with Nick DiGilio (2015 and 2017), WZRD Chicago, WDCB (College of Dupage, IL), WLUW (College Radio – Loyola), WCSF (Joliet, IL), WXPR Radio (Rhinelander, WI) and Fearless Radio.

Band Members