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.
"Brilliant, American-bred Irish folk" -Daniel Gewertz, Boston Herald
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