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John Shannon: American Mystic

Track List

>Golden Eagle
>Under the Stars
>All the Way
>Failing Into All
>Lion's Mane
>Among the Sea, Among the Star

Album Notes

The title of singer/songwriter John Shannon's debut album, American Mystic, might raise a warning flag for some skeptically-minded listeners, but the appeal of American Mystic to listeners who have little interest in pilgrimages to Taos and Sedona lies in Shannon's better than average musical and vocal gifts. Comparisons to Tim Buckley circa "Song to a Siren" and Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left are not inappropriate; obviously Shannon is not as startling a talent as either of those late masters, but his complex folk- and jazz-flavored melodies and lyrical acoustic guitar style, as well as his breathy vocal delivery, certainly sound heavily influenced by one or both. The better songs, such as album opener "Forgiveness" and the simply lovely "Lion's Mane" are instantly memorable. But as a minimalist voice and guitar album featuring ten delicate ballad-tempo songs with little variance either in Shannon's vocals or his playing, American Mystic is primarily a mood piece, the sort of album one plays in close proximity to a warm bath and/or a pot of herbal tea, while letting Shannon's whispery voice and gently flowing guitar wash over unencumbered. The thing is, there are far worse albums designed for that purpose, and while Shannon doesn't have the poetic depth or melodic mastery of a Buckley or a Drake, he's a step ahead of many of his contemporaries. ~ Stewart Mason


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