Shannon OConnor

Shannon OConnor

BandAmericanaCountry

Shannon O'Connor describes her music as Sultry Americana. One writer said Shannon's witty lyrics sound like and academic who wants to be a biker babe. Others have called it's "Single Mom Country-Blues."

Biography

Shannon O'Connor's music has been described in a number of ways: "Gutsy"; "Sultry Americana"; "No-holds-barred honesty"; "Beguiling"; "Carolina's own Gretchen Wilson." Take your pick.

But for O'Connor, a single mother of a 10-year old girl, her new Varrga Records Release, Low In Paradise, is an album full of songs that may best be described as "Single Mom Country Blues." "This is a collection of love songs," she explains. "Some are songs written to my daughter. Some are about old flames and some are imaginary. But I think they are all true."

O'Connor's goals for the album are hefty. Notable among them is that she hopes the release of the album will help her find the father of her daughter and begin a relationship between the two. "He doesn't even know about her," says O'Connor, who lost track of the father before her 10-year-old daughter was born. "She asks about him and I've tried everything I can to find him, but I have no clue where he is now. I think he would really like her, too."

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, O'Connor's earliest musical memories stem from her Irish - Italian upbringing. "When times were most turbulant - and that's bound to happen in an Irish / Italian household - I heard some really wonderful music," O'Connor says. "My mom would calm down by playing piano. She loved 'Layla," and would play it in a really elaborate, classical style."

Music began to take hold on O'Connor as a young art student in New York City. As a budding environmentalist, it wasn't long before O'Connor took time off from Parsons School of Design and headed out to study with The Audubon Expedition Institute. Basically, students boarded a converted school bus and headed across country, learning about differing cultures from region to region.

"People who didn't know each other and who were from all walks of life got on this bus and traveled all over the United States for almost a year," she says. "One night, we were sitting in a field in Maine and one of the guys pulled out a mandolin and started playing 'Good Night Irene.' He was no expert mandolinist, but it was perfect. That night, under the stars, I fell in love with music."

"I learned through studying folk songs by writers like Pete Seeger, that some of the best songs ever written were simple," says O'Connor. "I try and write my songs using the old-time structures that I loved from the Virginia Hills and Irish ballads."

Later,when she returned to Parsons and Eugene Lang College to finish her degrees, her love for poetry deepened through studies with Sekou Sundiata, who also instructed Ani DiFranco at the time. "He taught me to write what I felt. He would say 'there's nothing new under the sun, there's only new ways of saying it.'

After settling in North Carolina, O'Connor and a few friends would have "big singings". Those same friends supported her emotionally when she became pregnant. "When I had my daughter, it was like somebody took the snowglobe I was living in and shook it all up," she laughs. "I was lucky to have some good friends who were very generous in helping me. As much as I love my daughter, it's hard sometimes being on your own."

In hard times, O'Connor would escape by writing brutally truthful songs about how she was feeling or the circumstances she was going through. It's that approach to her music that has led to Low In Paradise. "Music has been a saving grace for me. I don't get out much, so I'm up close to my reality. When I go out and play, I see and feel that I'm drawing people into my world. And when you write with your heart, you're probably going to find someone else who shares what you're feeling."

Lyrics

Low

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Low
by Shannon O'Connor c. Sultry Americana Music 2005

Take me to the river Lord, now drop me in the water
I've seen the devil dream, I've been to heaven, daughter
Take me to the river Lord, now leave me there to dry
when I'm in your arms you know I'll be in paradise

Low, oh the tide is high...Low, oh, in paradise

Swing me a hammer Lord, now swing it smooth and strong
Throw it down, get your guitar you know I'll sing along
Plant me a flowering bush and pluck for me a rose
When you sing your favorite verse I remember how it goes

and it goes: Low, oh, the tide is high....Low, oh, in paradise

Plant me a bramble, a rambly, brambly vine
Curl around with me at night where the woodbine it don't twine
Hand me a skein of twine and tie it in a knot
Before you take our love away just remember what we've got
I may not be fancy and I may be growing old
But if you put your trust in me I'll be worth my weight in gold

and it goes: (refrain, no vocals)

Lower and Lower you know I call your name
I have taken other loves but you know it's not the same
Nowhere, nowhere can my true love be found
Drop me in the water, bury me beneath the sandy ground.

(refrain)

Cowboy Robot

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Cowboy Robot
by Shannon O’Connor c. Sultry Americana Music

He rides in in a bowling shirt
Combat boots caked with dirt
I let out a hollow sigh
As I watch them ten pins fly
Yodelay de ayyy...Yodelay de ayyy...

Wanna buy him a silky tie
From 1940 or ‘45
Tie him to an old rocking chair
Mend him when he needs repair
Yodelay de airr....Yodelay de airr

Cowboy Robot, outer space
Press your leather against my face
Lonesome rider UFO
Earth Mama won’t let you go
Yodelay de ohhhh.....Yodelay de ohhhh

Sometimes I feel I’ve got to
Run away , I’ve got to
Get away you don’t really want any more from me
The love we shared, oh it’s going nowhere
For I’ve lost my sight
Lord I toss and turn I can’t sleep at night
Tainted Love, oh, tainted love...

Where did our love go
Don’t you need me
Dont you need me no more?

Silver spaceships in the air
Your silver fingers in my hair
Lasso up that Hover Craft
This kind of love baby’s gonna last
Yodelay de asss...Yodelay de asss

Saddle up that sailing ship
Strap your pistol to my hip
Wrap your arm around my side
Full throttle giddy up.. Let’s Ride
Yodelay de iiidee.

Touch me baby tainted love
Touch me baby tainted
Don’t touch me please
I cannot stand the way you tease

Ride

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

I got a girl child she looks like her Daddy
sometimes I think it haunts me
I’m stuck in this dusty little college town
where I feel that they don’t want me

But I got 2 strong arms--I got 2 strong legs
and I think it’s time to use them
I got a child from a man so wild
though my voice means nothing to him

I want to ride away
I’m no mans bride, I’m free to ride away

Thought I’d be your 5:30 wake up call,
your Venus Plastic Aphrodite Sugar Blow-Up Doll
I thought I’d be your lover baby, I thought I’d be your friend
and you would love me when the Springtime comes
and we could ride again

I want to......ride away
Come on let’s.......ride away

*I take all your kisses, baby, I turn “em into wine
and you can come back home to Caroline and get drunk anytime
All my sugar is honey baby, all my honey’s sweet
So meet me tonight on your motorbike we”ll find a one way street
that we can ride away....
right by your side...lets ride away

I know, my baby, you’re a well mannered boy
But I’d like to make it real sweetheart, I just can’t be your toy
I can’t be the one you try to call up late at night
then leave fumbling for an empty phone line, stumbling for the light

I want to.......ride away
Come on.....let’s......Ride away!

*I take all your kisses, baby, I turn “em into wine
and you can come back home to Caroline and get drunk anytime
All my sugar is honey baby, all my honey’s sweet
So meet me tonight on your motorbike we”ll find a one way street
that we can ride away....
right by your side...lets ride away

Low

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Low
by Shannon O'Connor

(intro over verse chords G-Am-/C-G-//)

1.Take me to the river Lord, now drop me in the water
I've seen the devil dream, I've been to heaven, daughter
Take me to the river Lord, now leave me there to dry
when I'm in your arms you know I'll be in paradise
G-Am-/C-G-//

(chorus)
and it goes....."Low, oh the tide is high" ...Low, in paradise
Am-C-G//

2.Swing me a hammer Lord, now swing it smooth and strong
Throw it down, get your guitar you know I'll sing along
Plant me a flowering bush and pluck for me a rose
When you sing your favorite verse I remember how it goes

(chorus)
and it goes: " Low, oh, the tide is high"....Low, in paradise

(1st solo over verse chords)

3.Plant me a bramble, a rambly, brambly vine
Curl around with me at night where the woodbine it don't twine
Hand me a skein of twine and tie it in a knot
Before you take our love away just remember what we've got
I may not be fancy and I may be growing old
But if you put your trust in me I'll be worth my weight in gold
G-Am-/C-G-///

(chorus)
and it goes: "Low, oh the tide is high" ...Low, in paradise

4. Lower and Lower you know I call your name
I have taken other loves but you know it's not the same
Nowhere, nowhere can my true love be found
Drop me in the water, bury me beneath the sandy ground.

and it goes: "Low, oh the tide is high" ...Low, in paradise

(2nd solo over verse chords)

Low.....Low, oh.....in paradise.

Restless

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Restless
by Shannon O'Connor

(intro) C F--

1. Meet me at quarter till I'm feeling restless
I put on my heels and best dresses
for your caresses, I'm restless
F-C-/F- C-/-G F

2. This highway rides straight through to Texas
Take the wheel, I'm high and I feel reckless
Don't let him guess this, I'm restless

*A million stars fell from the sky
I swear they fell for you and I
So young and reckless
Dm G/Dm G/-C

3. Baton Rouge ain't too far now from Texas
Her shooting star might be our nexus
let the sweet rain wet us, bring on the sucesses

*Your love's a mystery to me
For every kiss I trade you three
So young and reckless

4. My flaming red head's a fire
Trying to downplay my desire
Don't let him guess this, I did not mean to confess it

*A million stars fell from the sky
I swear they fell for you and I
So young and reckless.

(outro)-lead guitar fade out....

Stolen Moments

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Stolen Moments
by Shannon O'Connor

(intro) C-//

1. Keep your heart inside it's armor
Lord, it's hard to trust a charmer
Hide your passion, dim your fire
Turn your tongue into a liar

Hide your mission, split your life
Keep the secret from the wife
Relax, go steady, don't go fast
Stolen moments never last
C-/-A7/-D/-G

*These stolen moments, these stolen moments
ain't gonna last--don't you run so fast

(yodel)

2. Take me slowly, take me slow
Run away to Mexico
Drink tequila in the sun
Stolen moments just begun

In darkened shadows we hide
Stolen moments by our side
In darkened shadows we do cry
Stolen moments mean goodbye

*These stolen moments, these stolen moments
ain't gonna last--don't you run so fast

(yodel)

4. Little Robin sings at dawn
Once I held you, now you're gone
The darkest hour sure is passed
We’ve got to make these moments last

So take me slowly, take me slow
Run away to Mexico
Drink tequila in the sun
Stolen moments just begun

*These stolen moments, these stolen moments
ain't gonna last--don't you run so fast

(yodel)

(outro)
These stolen moments

Salty Dog

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Salty Dog
Traditional song,
new lyrics and arrangement by Shannon O’Connor, 2003

(into)
drums: 1, 2, 3 HA!
Am--

1. When the moon is high I’m gonna mow my hill
Don’t pay no taxes, through away the bill
Salty Dog, my salty dog...my honey babe
Am-/--/G--Am-/

*Let me be your salty dog,my honey
F-G-Am-

2. Come on now, don’t you be shy
Lay your head a little further on my thigh
Oh my, oh my, oh my. oh my... honey babe

*Let me be your salty dog, my honey ...... HA!

3. Bible says you know Cain he killed Abel
Hit him on the head with a leg of a table
Oh why, oh why ,oh why, oh why...honey babe

*Let me be your salty dog, my honey ....growll....meow!

(solo over verse)
my honey babe...my honey...

4. Take me once, take me now
Take me up to heaven on the back of your plow
Right now, right now, right now, right now... honey babe

*Let me be your salty dog, my honey

(outro)..."hey, get off my g*d damn car! Fool!

Snowfall

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Snowfall
by Shannon O’Connor

(into) GDGC//

1. No matter how I try
(I) Just cannot write
A song about you
What’s it about
....about you...about you?
GDGC-//DD7GC-//GDGC-//

2. No matter how I try
(I) Can’t meet your eye
For long, I long for
What’s this I long for
....about you.....about you?

3. Come hold me tight
Night bird take flight
It’s so dark this morning
My heart it turns without warning
DD7GC-//GDGC-//

4. Maybe the confusion
Confusion’s mine
Why do I pine?
Tell me what’ is real now
Is it my heart or your mind?
GDGC-//DD7GC/GDGC//

(outro) GDGC

Johnny My Love

Written By: Shannon O'Connor

Johnny My Love
by Shannon O’Connor

1. Johnny my love, where have you been
Tell me where have you been
Johnny my love, Johnny my love
My Johnny my love
G C-G/- C-G-/ D C/-G

Well, I’ve been to the war
It’s a far foreign war
Don’t know what for
My Sadie my love, my Sadie my love

2. Johnny my love, why go away
Tell me why go away
I’m here to stay
For you I wait, for you I wait

* My Johnny My love
woah, oh...woah....oh

3. Sadie my love, I’ve crossed the sea
It’s the wide ocean sea
For what my love?
For naught my love
I’ve crossed the sea
Why can’t you be right here with me
My Sadie my love
Why can’t you be right here with me

*woah, ohhh.....woah....ohhh

4. Daughter my dear
the dream land is here
the sea ship sails near
For you my love, for you my love
My daugher, my love
My daughter, my dear
Sleep tight tonight, won’t you sleep tight tonight
Stars are all bright
Golden and quiet
sleep tight tonight

woah, oh....ohhh...this is my lullaby:

5.Who’s gonna shoe my pretty little foot
Shoe my pretty little foot
Glove my lily white hand
While you’re off in that land?

Discography

Low in Paradise, debut CD released Sept. 2005 on Varrga Records

radio airplay, "Ride"- radio play on americana stations nationwide:

WMFO FM MEDFORD, MA
Twangcast FREDERICKSBURG, VA
WELY FM ELY, MN
WEFT FM CHAMPAIGN, IL
WERU FM E Orland, ME
WMFO FM Medford, MA
WDVR FM Sergeantsville, NJ
WFDU FM Teaneck, NJ
WRIU FM Wakefield, RI
WFCS FM Killingsworth, CT
WSYC FM Shippensburg, PA
WRNR FM Annapolis, MD
WCHG FM Hot Springs, VA
WVLS FM Monterey, VA
WYOU FM Virginia Beach, VA
Twangcast Fredericksburg, VA
WVMR Dunmore, WV
WSGE FM Dallas, NC
WXDU FM Durham, NC
WJJC Commerce, GA
WMNF FM Tampa, FL
Countrybear Lk Placid, FL
KASU FM State University, AR
WOJB FM Hayward, WI
WELY FM Ely, MN
WTIP FM Grand Marais, MN
KAXE FM Grand Rapids, MN
KUMD FM Duluth, MN
WHAY FM Whitley City, KY
WMKY FM Morehead, KY
WMMT FM Whitesburg, KY
KDHX FM St Louis, MO
KANZ FM Garden City, KS
WEFT FM Champaign, IL
WWHP FM Farmer City, IL
KPFT FM Houston, TX
KTEP FM El Paso, TX
KCIE FM Dulce, NM
KGLP FM Gallup, NM
KWRP FM Sante Fe, NM
KRCL FM Salt Lake City, UT
KGLT FM Bozeman, MT
KDNK FM Carbondale, CO
KGNU FM Boulder, CO
KSJD FM Cortez, CO
KSUT FM Ignacio, CO
KUTE FM Durango, CO
KVNF FM Paonia, CO
KMUD FM Redway, CA
KVMR FM Nevada City, CA
KWMR FM Pt Reyes, CA
Semi-Twang Sacramento, CA
KBOO FM Portland, OR
KMUN FM Astoria, OR
KRVM FM Eugene, OR
KSMF FM Ashland, OR
KBBI Homer, AK
KTOO FM Juneau, AK
KTUH FM Honolulu, HI

Set List

Standard 30, 45, 60, 90 minute set. The songs are originals off my debut "Low in Paradise" CD...and many others unreleased. Sometimes when the chord progression and mood are right I'll blend in sample bits of old tunes into my songs. Usually this includest traditional old time tunes or a mix of different covers from the 70's +80's such as Tainted Love, Ventura Hwy...You Ain't Goin' Nowhere...Under Pressure)

1. Low
2. Falling For You
3. Cowboy Robot
4. Stolen Moments
5. Restless
6. Satly Dog
7. Snowfall
8. Johnny My Love
9. Down On My Knees
10. Ride