Concert Review: Sunfest 2009, Part VI: Shauna Sweeney



Members of the Shauna Sweeney Band performing at Sunfest
Members of The Shauna Sweeney Band performing at Sunfest: (l-r) Ben Seffner (guitar), Shauna Sweeney (vocal & djembe), Brett Segal (drums)

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Shauna Sweeney graced the Sunfest stage with her presence and a talented group of  musicians known collectively as The Shauna Sweeney Band. Wasting no time, Shauna and her band kicked off their performance with one of Shauna’s strongest songs,  “Catch The Light”, a mid-tempo rocker from her CD “Cliffjumping”.

The entire set consisted of Shauna’s compositions, which tend to center on the vagaries of love. In the ballad “A Little Less Perfect” the narrator is reluctant to commit to her amour, despite his good qualities; the subject of the earthy ballad  “Dear Jeremiah” seems to be cut from the same cloth.  Also, “Too Late” is an uptempo elegy to a relationship that fails to achieve the longevity of  the couple on the other side of the restaurant celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. But other songs performed, such as “Worth It” and “Don’t Ask Why”,  reflect a more hopeful outlook on love.

(l-r) Jason Montero, Ben and Shauna
(l-r) Jason Montero (acoustic guitar), Ben and Shauna (acoustic guitar)

 Throughout the set, Shauna alternated between playing acoustic guitar or djembe to accompany her powerful vocals. Assisting her was a competent crew of musicians with whom she has played, in one capacity or another,  for years: Ben Seffner (electric guitar, mandolin), Jason Montero (rhythm and lead acoustic guitar),  Brett Segal (drums), Chris Bonelli (bass), and Shaen Huser (percussion)

Percussionist Shaen Husner, right after putting a saucy cymbal in its place
Percussionist Shaen Huser, right after putting a saucy cymbal in its place

Not only was Shauna supremely comfortable during her performance, conversing with the sizable mid-afternoon audience in between songs, she also attempted to do something which I’ve never seen at Sunfest: an onstage encore. Unfortunately, the festival powers-that-be prevented Shauna from satisfying requests from fans in the crowds for one of their favourites. Overall, Shauna’s set was a nice combination of talent and confidence from all concerned, so hopefully this will be just the first of several Sunfest performances for the Shauna Sweeney Band.

Ben, Shauna and Chris Bonelli (bass)
Ben, Shauna and Chris Bonelli