Modern folk guitarist, vocalist, and song crafter John Shannon believes in the power of music to enlighten the mind. Having already toured the globe with some of the brightest rising stars in indie rock, folk, and jazz, including Sonya Kitchell, Haale and Hiromi, Shannon's solo work has taken him on a journey into his own soul and beyond. Starting with an exploratory meditation trip in the southwestern desert some years ago, John Shannon discovered his unique, tender sound, rooted in nature and the earth, and translated it into his debut solo album, a subtle masterpiece called American Mystic,. The album's first single "Somewhere (remixes)" on ObliqSound, continues Shannon's musical voyage, and includes two remixes by two-time Grammy winner Eric Kupper, plus a stunning video of the original version of the song.
"I believe in the awakening power of song," says Shannon, whose musical vision came to the forefront a few years ago in the Arizona desert, after he spent four days and nights sitting in a circle without food, only drinking water. On this vision quest, communing with the elements according to Native American cultural traditions, Shannon found a sense of clarity. "There's a point in the circle in those four days when you realize you have always been there, and there's a point in the moment of the music - which is very much like being in a circle to me when it's right - when you realize you have always been there. After the vision quest, my music and my life path became more clear to me. They're one and the same, really."
Shannon's musical foundations began with guitar lessons at age six. After years of Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page-inspired musical exploration, Shannon studied harmony and improvisation with a local pipe organist. His teacher brought him to a church for lessons around midnight, with lights dimmed except on the altar, so the pair could improvise on the organ and electric guitar. At the same time, Shannon studied straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz with renowned saxophonist Eric Kloss. The lessons left Shannon with a focus on performing with heart and spiritual awareness. Shannon later went on to graduate from the Berklee College of Music, where he began a series of organic musical explorations in the evolutionary instrumental trio Waking Vision together with friends Mitch Cohn (aka Catalyst, bassist for Lauryn Hill, Ashanti, Destiny's Child) and Martin Valihora (drummer for Hiromi).
In addition to his solo work, Shannon has spent the past several years performing and touring with an eclectic group of artists. He's recorded three albums as leader of Waking Vision, and toured as electric guitarist for psychedelic Sufi trance rocker Haale, jazz fusion piano phenomenon Hiromi, avant-jazz singer Pyeng Threadgill, and played guitar for Sonya Kitchell's ground-breaking folk album Words Came Back to Me (Velour/Starbucks Hear Music) and her subsequent national tour. Shannon continues to play with Waking Vision, whose fourth album is slated for release on ObliqSound in 2010. He recently collaborated on British pop rocker Gary Go's self-titled debut album on Decca/Universal. Shannon continues to tour with Hiromi's Sonicbloom and with Sonya Kitchell.