About Lauren Sheehan
Lauren is a charismatic 'songster', an interpreter of songs learned from some of America's greatest folk and blues artists. She is known for her voice, which slides through old lyrics like clear water through a smooth creek bed. Her performances are memorable for the authentic range of her material: from unaccompanied ballads, to boozy Memphis blues, to old time banjo tunes, to old country songs and eclectic modern folk. She is a musical shape shifter, in one song making the willow weep and in another making the werewolf howl. "She is a true entertainer, weaving the stories and history of the music into her performance and connecting with her audience on a personal level." (Gray Eubank, Director, Portland Christmas Revels). "Like the old songsters, I seem to have a simple destiny with song," says Sheehan. "I just collect, interpret and play the music that strikes my heart. It's the power of the strike that pulls me into a particular song."
Lauren grew up in New England where she studied classical guitar as a child and became infected by the spirit of fiddle music at contra dances in western Massachusetts. She wrote her thesis on American folk music at Reed College before spending a number of years playing in small ensembles while founding, administering, and teaching in independent schools. During this time, she toured in New England, Ireland and the Pacific Northwest. She retired from teaching in 2003 and dedicated herself to full-time performing and recording. One look at her website, shows the variety of club, concert, and festival dates she performs, in solo, duo, and trio configurations and with the old blues band Eagle Ridin' Papas.
Lauren's passion for learning directly from other musicians has led her into the homes and front porches of the musical legends who passed on much of the material and stylistic qualities she presents today. Her endearing performances spring from time spent with such legendary performers as John Cephas, Ginny Hawker, Etta Baker, Carl Rutherford and Howard Armstrong. She enjoys recalling the twinkle in John Jackson's eye when the two of them sat alone together in an old school house and he taught her "Come On Over to My House". Another vivid and hilarious memory involves a late night music jam in which the inimitable Smokey McKeen, Maine troubadour and Lauren's master's thesis mentor, concluded, "Girl, that was a two credit party!"