Artist of the Week

The “Lionheart” in Folk Americana

Posted by tbaker |

Staff Report

Local artist Shannon Wurst is releasing her fifth studio album “Lionheart Love” and with it — to include her soft, poetic voice, story-telling ability, and lyrics about nature, community and survival — she’s defining what folk Americana means today.

To find out what gives “Lionheart Love” such an ear pleasing, heartfelt and much-needed-for-the-genre originality, The Free Weekly asked her a few questions.

What is your history with music?
I grew up in a musical family. My dad played a lot of rock and roll and country. My stepdad is a blue grass picker. I grew up singing within both of those genres … I started taking guitar lessons when I was 16 and then I started picking it up on my own and played throughout college. It’s been in the last six years or so I’ve been doing it full time for my living. I’m lucky enough to be a part of the Arkansas Arts Council Touring Artists Registry, so I get to go into schools and libraries and do writing workshops with kids and adults.

What inspires your music?
I really love stories. I love hearing other people’s stories. I’m also inspired a lot in nature and being out in the woods. A lot of my songs are inspired by a job I had as a dog musher. A lot of it is just from my life experiences and other people’s stories and also that of nature.
I create the music that is in my heart and I feel like I want to express to people. I’m lucky enough to have a small niche and a small fan base that supports what I do. It’s not to promote my music to this large genre that people are really use to but to provide a service to those who are interested in my type of music.

What have been your accomplishments in your music career to date?
I feel like my greatest accomplishment is all the great friends and musicians I’ve met and got to play with along the way. That’s what keeps me going and writing songs are the people who come to my shows and I have these personal connections with. I do a lot of home concerts so I get to dip into these people lives. I want to make the personal connection with all of these people that wouldn’t have been possible without the music.

“Lionheart Love”, recorded in Bozeman, Mont. was made possible by the Arkansas Fellowship Award and fans supporting the project through an online crowd sourced fundraising site, Kickstarter. During the CD release party at Greenhouse Grille, the stories from the songs will be paired with multi-media footage and actor’s interpretations, while Wurst and her band perform. The audience will be part of a fiction radio show hosted by Director Jason Suel. All this while supporting the causes mentioned above. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit Trike Theater, and a portion of the CD sale proceeds will benefit caringbridge.org. Seating is limited, so pre-purchased tickets are strongly encouraged: $10 at shannonwurst.com, and $12 at the door.
What: Multimedia, Live Theatre, Audience Participation, CD release party
Where: Greenhouse Grille
When: Jan. 27.

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