Matt and wife Shannon Heaton share many similar Irish music memories, because they 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 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.
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 an older domestic sound, the familiar down home harmonies of The Carter Family and Tim and Mollie O’Brien.”
Before focusing on Irish music, Matt earned a classical guitar degree, played with Chicago popsters the Flavor Channel, and fronted Nuevo tango group Orquesta Atipica. Meanwhile Shannon studied flute and ethnomusicology at Northwestern University, joined Matt’s tango band, and took weekend trips to Chicago’s Wat Dhammaram to continue the Saw Oo (lap fiddle) and Thai singing studies she began when she was an exchange student in Thailand.
Shannon and husband Matt Heaton included their own Irish-style version of Thai classic “Lao Dueng Duen” on their 2009 release “Lovers’ Well” (their fourth as a duo).
Matt’s first taste of professional music was behind the organ console as a page-turner for his father Charles Heaton, a noted organist and composer. In addition to his duo work with wife Shannon, he is highly sought after as accompanist, and has performed with traditional luminaries Aoife Clancy, Robbie O’Connell, Emily Smith, and the Boys of the Lough.
Tickets for the show are $15 and will be available at the door on the night of the concert or in advance at Fiddleheads, 110 Main St. in Colebrook. For more information on this and other upcoming GNWCA shows, visit www.gnwca.org or call 237-9302 or 246-8998.