Jon Shain Trio

JON SHAIN is a veteran singer-songwriter who's been turning heads for years with his words, his fiery acoustic guitar work, and his evolved musical style - combining improvised piedmont blues with bluegrass, swing, and ragtime. Shain’s newest disc, a rollicking live album called The Kress Sessions, was recorded this past spring with his group in Durham, NC.

Jon grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a Merrimack River mill-town that had already seen its better days by the time he was a child in the 1970s. His family’s business was a small textile dyeing company, and he worked in the factory during the summers throughout his teens. At the same time, Shain began to discover his love of American roots music and songwriting, specifically drawn to the narratives about regular people and themes of social justice.

Shain headed south to North Carolina in 1986, to study American History at Duke University and to continue his musical journey, as well. In addition to studying with jazz professor Paul Jeffrey, he also had the good fortune to learn the piedmont blues tradition firsthand by playing in Big Boy Henry’s backing band. It was at this time that Shain also got to meet and play with John Dee Holeman and a number of the great older NC blues players. Shain's classes in school were heavily concentrated in southern history, English, and world religions. That mixture of the academic environment and the real-world blues music is what has most informed his musical direction.

Shain cut his touring teeth from 1989-1998 founding the Chapel Hill, NC folk-rock group, Flyin' Mice and their spin-off group, WAKE. The band performed with acts such as David Grisman, Tony Rice Unit, Hot Tuna, and the Dixie Dregs, released four CDs, and played clubs, schools, and festivals up and down the East Coast, building a legion of fans.

After his band's breakup, Shain went solo, returning to his roots in the folk and blues circuit. He has released six studio albums, working with studio luminaries such as Dave Mattacks, Tom Dube, and Chris Stamey, along the way. In addition to festival slots and headlining club dates, the last few years has seen Shain playing esteemed listening rooms such as The Living Room and Caffe Lena and opening sold out theatre shows for John Hiatt, Keb’ Mo’, Little Feat, and others. When Shain is not recording or performing, he stays busy giving private instruction in Piedmont blues fingerstyle guitar, and teaching group workshops in songwriting and blues guitar.

The Jon Shain Trio are Jon's musical partners-in-crime who appear frequently on his live dates as well as on his recorded material.

upright bass, vocals
F.J. Ventre and Jon began playing music together in 1982 when they met in high school. F.J. went on to University of Massachusetts-Lowell, earning a B.A. in Music Performance and Sound Recording. He remained in the Boston area, performing in the city's vibrant music scene. Since relocating to Chapel Hill, NC in 2000, Ventre has performed with his own group The Swang Brothers, as well as The Stars Explode, Rebecca and the Hi-Tones, and Matt Hill. In addition to performing as a sought after sideman, he spends his time behind the mixing board, engineering at his home studio and operating his graphic design firm Tadpole Designs.

dobro, guitar
The talented multi-instrumentalist John Currie has been playing with Jon since 1997 when he joined WAKE as an electric lead player. As one of the Triangle area's hottest and most in demand players, Currie is at home playing everything from Bluegrass to Bebop. His solos often bring hoots and hollers from the crowd.

Anna Rose Beck

For fans of: Antje Duvekot, Natalie Merchant, Dar Williams.

One of North Carolina's most promising up-and-coming young songwriters, Anna Rose Beck pens timeless ballads that would have felt as meaningful a century ago as they do today. The Austin, Texas native draws heavily upon visual imagery in her songwriting, carrying the weightiness of her storylines and cleverly worded lyrical wanderings with a voice that has been described as "both bold and understated, moving and hypnotic, brimming with passion but never overpowering," inviting comparisons to Dar Williams and Natalie Merchant. It's hard to believe that a mere three years ago, Beck didn't sing or play guitar. In fact, she first picked up the guitar one summer while in the course of completing a biomedical engineering degree at Duke and spent the subsequent school year juggling coursework and a newfound addiction to singing alone in her bedroom. Completely transformed by her passion for songwriting, she began performing at local dive bars shortly after graduating and soon garnered a local reputation for her hushy middle-soprano intensity, finger-picked guitar lines, and whimsical lyrics. A mere two years later, after gathering a modest recording budget with the popular fundraising website Kickstarter, Beck collaborated with Asheville-based producer Andrew Schatzberg to record her 7-song, full-band debut EP The Weathermaker, released in summer of 2011. Since then, she has won over audiences from Austin to Boston to Berkeley, and is in the process of writing and recording the full-length follow-up, to be released in the spring of 2013.

"With Anna Rose Beck, it's all about the voice. Sure, the tender but lush arrangements of her reserved modern folk resound with bittersweet pedal steel and intricate fingerpicking, but they would be nothing without Beck's truly special air. Seeming at once both bold and understated, she manages piercing reverberations without having to reach. The result is moving and hypnotic, brimming with passion but never overpowering."
—The Independent Weekly [10.27.11]



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