The Roundup -

Lauren Sheehan to Perform March 22 at MDHC


Lauren Sheehan

Portland singer and guitarist Lauren Sheehan, who's new record is a companion to a book about the women who kept Gibson's guitar shop strumming during World War II. will play songs from her recording "The Light Still Burns" as well as salute the women in folk who shaped her music.

Enjoy this fascinating concert as part of the Northeastern Arts Network Big Sky Series on Thursday, March 22nd at 7:00 pm at the MonDak Heritage Center.

Roots Americana musician, Lauren Sheehan, launched her recording and performing career in 2002 and has been sailing on to critical acclaim, national/international radio charts and 'encores' at festivals, concerts and venues across the country and in Canada ever since. Lauren clearly loves and inhabits the music she performs, shape shifting through the moods of the familiar and the obscure, howling with the werewolf and weeping with the willow. Her gifted guitar work, stylistic breadth and vocals are inspired by her study with elders, oral tradition and scholarship. With all of that tradition behind her, she re-creates the intimacy of a back porch, where singing and playing were regular events.

Lauren began playing guitar at 10, discovered traditional, social and dance music in her early 20s, then jumped into living acoustic blues up at Centrum's Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival in her 30s, picking up mandolin and banjo along the way.

While the men were off to the war, women filled in and kept the lights burnin' at Gibson's. The guitars of this period have a banner across the headstock, hence "Banner Guitars" and are oft considered among the treasures of Gibson guitars. Who were the women, what was their story, why did Gibson cover up the fact that they made these guitars, why are the guitars so wonderful sounding and how were they made? These questions and more about the story are the subject of the book "Kalamazoo Gals".

But then John Thomas, author, thought about how cool it would be if folks could also hear the guitars the women made. He raised some funds, got guitars donated from all over the country for a recording project and then found a women to play them – such as Lauren Sheehan.

"It was an extraordinary experience to be in the studio surrounded by vintage banner guitars and to be able to take my pick of them." – Lauren Sheehan

The Light Still Burns zoomed to #3 on the Folk DJ Radio charts.

Recent appearances on NPR, four CDs that charted in the top 20 on folk radio, a 2012 Portland Music Award for outstanding achievement in Folk, inclusion in the Library of Congress as part of the MusicBox project and her most recent accomplishment as guitarist for the CD, The Light Still Burns, companion to the history book Kalamazoo Gals; A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson's "Banner" Guitars of WWII, attest to her growing significance as an artist, performer and teacher.

This performance will be held at the MonDak Heritage Center at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door: adults $15, senior $13, and students $10. For additional concert information contact Candy Markwald 406-488-4155, Jill Hill 406-489-4304, or Leann Pelvit at 406-433-3500.

The Big Sky Series is made possible in part by the Montana Performing Arts Consortium Presenter Development Program which is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Montana Arts Council, a legislative grant from Montana's Cultural Trust and the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).


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