The Jason Shannon Band

Coincidence and discovery at Desmond’s Tavern. Raw, scaled-down blue soul, country tinges, rock fringes and pure honesty with no trickery.


April 16, 2010: I had popped in for a few pints with friends at Desmond’s Tavern (433 Park Ave S, NYC). We talked about many things as men do when pints are flowing. One subject was about the continually changing neighborhood of Harlem. I told them about my friend Margo who lived on 125th off of St. Nicholas.

We had once worked together on an ill-fated TV pilot thru her company Organic Entertainment. I was the head writer, she was a producer. Although the show never got off the ground, we remained friends. Albeit distant friends. Much of the work we did was done in that apartment in Harlem.

As I passed tales of the characters I’d meet and places I’d go, I figure appears in my peripheral vision. It was one I had not seen in ages. It was Margo. It took me a second to compute the odd coincidence in my head. Immediately following was a joyous hug. So why was she here at Desmond’s?

She was there to promote a new client. A singer/songwriter from Minneapolis, MN named Jason Shannon and his band.


Jason Shannon Band at Desmond’s Tavern, NYC

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I didn’t know what to expect. After all, I was only here for a few pints with friends before moving on. But since I admire Margo’s taste in music, I convinced our little group to stick around. Boy were we glad we did.

Not speaking for anyone else, but I’m a grizzled and cynical old fart. I seem to get more critical about music as the years pass. This mostly comes from the growing difficulty in finding real good music amid the muck of American Idol and Broadway punk. So imagine my surprise at the raw, scaled-down blue soul of Jason’s music. Country tinges and rock fringes and pure honesty.

There were equally moving moments of explosive energy and quiet subtlety. The songs flowed together nicely and I could see people singing along. I sometimes forget that, in this age of new musical distribution, the distance between NYC and Minneapolis is not all that great.

Still, many artists can’t make that connection on a purely emotional level. They try too hard to either be drastically the same as or different from whatever is hip. What makes a band like Jason’s stand out is the ease in which that connection happens with no use of cheap trickery.

Feet tapped, mouths sang along and I left the bar replaying the set in my head, having only heard it for the first time this evening. This to me beats any quirk or gimmick or flash that have become all too common.

I’m thankful for the unlikely coincidence that brought my friend to this bar on this night and made this new discovery possible.

See Also:
Jason Shannon (website)
Jason Shannon (myspace)
Organic Entertainment
Desmond’s Tavern


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