Pastoral folk musician, Pamela Wyn Shannon hails from the New England countryside but is now a permanent resident of Wales. Her inventive and intricate guitar work has been described as "a tiny chamber orchestra working in unison at the end of her hands” and her virtuosity has been compared to the legendary guitarist Bert Jansch of Pentangle. Her sensitive vocals compliment the pastoral poetry in her songs, which have an elliptical quality, creating its own timeframe, rules, and kingdoms, reminiscent of that magic found in UK '60s psyche-folk artifacts. She has walked with the legends of British and Irish folk music, garnering respect and admiration wherever she goes. She incorporates her visual art adventures in stop-motion animation and hand-hewn “crankies” into her live performances.
Pamela had something of a "false start" to her music career in the 90s. Her New Jersey rock band grabbed the attention of the great Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny Kaye, who was slated to produce the band's debut. Though they didn't stay together long enough to see it come to fruition, Kaye's interest was a foreshadowing of the attention she would receive in the years to come from many a rock and folk music luminary. But the seeds for Wyn Shannon's intricate folk guitar playing and wistful, timeless voice would really take root when she discovered artists such as Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, the Incredible String band, and a wellspring of traditional Irish folk music.
Shortly after landing an opening slot for Byrds legend, Roger McGuinn, she bought a one way ticket to Ireland where she serendipitously met the Irish folk hero, Johnny Moynihan (Sweeny's Men, Planxty, De Dannan) on the second day after her arrival. They became quick friends. Moynihan, seeing in her his old friend Anne Briggs, took her under his wing and together they played around Ireland for a year. When she returned to the US, she made her living as a session player and performed and recorded with musicians from the likes of Lunasa, Cherish the Ladies, even the Klezmatics, still traveling to and fro across the Atlantic performing on her own, as well.
In 2004 at the Nick Drake Tribute Gathering, she performed to accolades for Robert Kirby, the great British arranger for Nick Drake, she appeared on German television (ASPEKTE's Nick Drake Retrospective), and when asked to open for another British legend, Davy Graham, at Bush Hall in London, he surprised her by turning the tables and doing a part of his set in the opening slot before her. Her 2001 album, Nature's Bride released on her own Girlhenge Records label was recorded to full studio polish and received airplay on the prestigious WFMU, NPR & BBC Radio and others.
Since 2003, Wyn Shannon has lived a largely isolated pastoral life as a caretaker in various estates throughout New England and the United Kingdom. With portable recording equipment, she produced Courting Autumn. Her "studios" included an 18th century borning room & parlour room in a house museum in the Berkshires, a 19th farmhouse and stable, a tool shed, a cow barn, a sheep farm, a Colonial piggery, bathrooms and basements. The album was mixed in Philadelphia by Engineer Brian McTear (Espers, Marissa Nadler), and comes complete with packaging which Pamela hand assembled herself.
In August 2007, in advance of the album's release, she performed live on BBC Radio One and played the Green Man Festival in Wales, where the line-up included Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsome, Vashti Bunyan, John Renbourn & Robert Plant.
Her CD, Courting Autumn, which she recorded largely on her own throughout New England, is a rustic almanac of autumnal songs burnished with a melancholy mood, wistful vocals, delicate hand-spun guitar playing, weather-worn and windswept by plaintive string and recorder arrangements. It was voted the Top 10 Best Album of 2007 by Heaven Magazine, The Netherlands and the Top 10 Best Albums from the March 2008 issue of fRoots Magazine Playlist, UK.
Pamela performs at prestigious festivals and folk venues and regularly tours the UK and USA. In the winter of 2010 she performed with Billy Bragg, Martin Simpson and the Oyster Band at the Roundhouse in London for fRoots Magazine’s 30th Anniversary. Her music has been used for various documentaries including the Biography Channel, MTC, the History Channel and A&E Channel.
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