Tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door.
Shannon Stephens was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the daughter of a hymn-singing mother who played the piano with high heels and a hootenanny-hosting father with red pants and a sonorous Roy Orbison voice. She learned to play the acoustic guitar during the particularly boring summer of 1992. She moved to Michigan shortly thereafter, and met Sufjan Stevens at a concert. She became the voice of the band Marzuki, a Celtic-inspired folk-rock ensemble comprised of Shannon, Sufjan, Matthew Haseltine and Jamie Kempkers. Marzuki played a lot of shows in Michigan, and a few ill-fated shows in New York City. They released two albums in the five years that they were together, all out of print.
After Marzuki disbanded, Shannon began to play local venues on her own, releasing her self-titled debut LP in 2000, the same year she moved to Seattle and shared the stage with the likes of Denison Witmer, Rose Thomas, Jason Harrod and Damien Jurado. But by the time the new album had come back from the manufacturer, she had realized that all this music stuff was a lot of work. The boxes went into her garage and collected dust for nine years while she got married, read copious amounts of books, had a daughter, and did lots of hippie stuff like growing potatoes, canning preserves, and making kombucha. Eventually she began to see that her love of music needed to have a place in her life again. In 2008, one of her songs (“I’ll Be Glad”) was covered by Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy) on his album Lie Down In The Light.
In 2009, Shannon released her second album, The Breadwinner, which Rachel Carson at Exclaim! describes as “…a spectacularly beautiful and fiercely compelling sophomore album” and Sufjan Stevens calls “…a joyful, heartful collection of quiet, gorgeous songs about family, friends, work, love, and the beauty of the world at large.”
Shannon continues to play shows in the Seattle area and around the Pacific Northwest, staying close to home while her daughter is yet young, and writing songs for her next album.
Appearing with Shannon is The Marrying Type (Nathan Smurthwaite, Ryan Weaver and Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy.)
Growing up, Nathan Smurthwaite wasn’t allowed to listen to “new” music because it might be evil. However, established artists like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were okay. It’s no wonder then, that blurring the line between light and dark is what he does best. After fronting a metal band (The Abodox) for over 10 years, his new acoustic project, The Marrying Type, balances the scales while making use of all that dexterity won through playing metal. ”Until Death,” The Marrying Type’s debut, marks Smurthwaite’s long-awaited re-emergence into the folk music scene.
In the late 1990s, Smurthwaite released an album of his acoustic songs under the title The Nathan Smurthwaite Affiliation. It enjoyed great reviews, including one from The Tablet’s Sarah Baker, who raved that his “…unique blend of country and soft-alt folk will make you weep… This CD is an absolute delight.”
Smurthwaite’s illustrious guitar work and soft lyricism are joined live by subtle keyboard and bass touches, performed by Ryan Weaver (Stradhoughton Echo, Karol Karol) and Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy (Lesbian, The Abodox). The resulting sound is darkly meditative, punctuated with bright guitar flourishes and joyful images of domestic life.