Over the past five years, Shelburne, Vermont-based singer-songwriter Shannon Hawley has dedicated herself to creating a piece of art that she can be proud of. Her debut, "A Different Kind of Progress," is very much that. A concept album rich with ambition, the crowd-funded effort was produced by Bronx-based Jagoda. And with the accompaniment of a group of supremely talented musicians, the result is an intimate look at Shannonâs hopes and fears about love and creativity.
The songs on the album draw heavily from the natural and animal world, and from the works of great and timeless poets like Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver, and Rumi, among others.
For Shannon, music and words have long been her tools for self-expression. She grew up mostly in New Jersey in a house full of strong women â four younger sisters, her Mom, and their dog, Lady. Her mother, who still sprinkles the house with lyrical phrases painted on wooden signs, taught her that words and songs are reminders to open your heart. Her fatherâs severe dyslexia prevented him from reading to the girls at bedtime. Instead, he improvised stories complete with Pegasus, unicorns, and mermaids in the tradition of the oral poets.
Inspired by these mythical creatures, Shannon now has her own tales of struggle and triumph to tell. She recorded for the first time in Mendoza, Argentina in 2007 with guitar teacher and friend, Andres Ceccarelli. She released a live EP in 2010 that showcased her songwriting evolution and storytelling ability. Her new record is still rooted in narrative, with a fuller, more ethereal sound, poetic language and nature imagery.
Beyond expressing her own vision, Shannonâs mission is to empower people to reach their potential - to find their unique voice and use it. A social worker by training and a mother of two little girls, Shannon teaches songwriting at Champlain College.
Shannon Hawleyâs got a thing for mythical creatures; she spent most of her childhood saying she wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up. Instead, she became a singer-writer and an artist. In her opinion, thatâs close enough.