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.
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)
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.