Matt and Shannon Heaton [web site | Amazon.com] have performed together from their first meeting in Chicago in 1991. Behind their Irish flute- and guitar-driven tunes and stirring songs is a deep well of mutual memories, setbacks, and triumphs.
Having built their act from years of touring together (first with the band Siucra, then as a duo), Matt and Shannon have grown into thoroughly entertaining performers. They bring to the stage a depth of shared experience and a love for Irish music; their stage banter is comfortable, often hilarious.
Scott Alarik of the Boston Globe wrote, "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."
Musically speaking, the Heatons play the heck out of their instruments (Irish wood flute/accordion, guitar/bouzouki). After years of study in Chicago, and many nights of music in Clare, Galway, and their adopted home of Boston, Irish Music Magazine's John O'Regan wrote, “their duet playing is tight, sweet, and tasteful, lacking nothing on either technical expertise or instrumental virtuosity."
As for their singing, when Matt and Shannon perform centuries-old songs, it feels current, conversational. They make traditional music relevant to American audiences. O'Regan wrote, "songwise [there are] hints of an older domestic sound, the familiar down home harmonies of The Carter Family and Tim and Mollie O'Brien."
Like Richard Thompson or Nic Jones, the Heatons' music comes from a traditional aesthetic, a devotion to strong traditional bones, and a passion for reaching out to the modern world around them. They are devoted to Irish traditional music and uplift listeners by connecting with each other and the people around them.
This is the latest in a monthly series of free events in collaboration with the Friends for the Public Library.