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Lockdown Listening Q&A with Christopher Davis Shannon

By Sean Timmons on May, 7 2020
Sean Timmons

Lockdown Listening 

Christopher Davis-Shannon's music is the essence of honest simplicity. Bringing together influence ranging from Fats Waller to Chet Baker, he creates an atmosphere that will instantly transport you back to jazz clubs, and speakeasies of the early 20th century. Not content being labelled a traditionalist, he forges ahead breathing new life into old classics, weaving together a sound that is enjoyed by both young and old.

As a multi-Instrumentalist, songwriter, and educator, based in Philadelphia, Davis-Shannon maintains a steady tour schedule with his own music as well as a sideman for various acts. He brings to the stage not just the pure joy of music, but a vast knowledge of the history behind the songs that he holds close to his heart. His intricate instrumental work and plaintive vocals are infused with soulfulness which cannot be faked, and a respect for his predecessors which is rarely equaled.

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How are you and your family adapting to the “stay at home” order?

Life is certainly changing daily. The toughest for my family is not being able to go see my mother who is right over the bridge. I'm lucky to have my partner here with me and we're taking this time to work and cook together, as well as teaching her to play ukulele as she teaches me Spanish. It's not so bad!

How have you personally been spending your time?

Mostly working, which is a beautiful thing. I'm lucky in that I have built a large online presence over the last few years and have taken this time to greatly expand my content. I've been releasing daily videos across platforms ranging from lessons to performances to. I have also started a new podcast and Youtube series : 'Checking In With Christopher Davis Shannon' interviewing and featuring performances with musicians from across the world as we are all in this time of flux. I'm finishing up my third ukulele instructional book 'The George Formby Handbook' to be released on June 1 and am continuing to think forward to how I can make the most of this time. Boredom is far from my friend. But most importantly I've been enjoying daily walks in Fairmount Park which I'm lucky enough to have right on my doorstep.

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What do you miss most about performing?

The musical conversations. Music is a team sport and while I do a fair number of solo gigs there is nothing like playing with a live band and the energy and support that we are able to provide each other.

What is the “silver lining” you’ve experienced from this situation?

To breathe. After logging around 250 gigs annually and much touring over the last seven years, taking a step back and re-evaluating my priorities has been a welcome change. I would have never had the opportunity to do this had I still been down in the trenches. Anyone who works with me knows that I am constantly on the move.

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Can you recommend some songs for your Mole Street Artists Spotify Playlist by any artist in any style that people should listen to now?

You and I - Rover Harvey

Jitterbug Waltz - Slowey and the Boats

Samba De Orfeu - Ensemble Novo (Lead by Mole Street Artist Tom Moon.)

Tell us a little about each track and why you chose it?

You and I

To put it succinctly, this is one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in years. There is nothing like a beautiful simple melody, heartfelt lyrics, and only a few chords. 

Jitterbug Waltz

There is only one thing I love more than a Fats Waller tune: a Fats Waller tune played on a steel guitar. Slowey has been one of my favorite groups in Philly for some time (and I have been lucky enough to have Isaac on a few gigs with my group as well). Trad jazz with a Hawaiian Tinge = Perfection!

Samba De Orfeu

I've long been a bossa nova fan since I first stumbled over Elis Regina's 'Elis and Tom' as a teenager. Philadelphia is lucky to have such an incredibly authentic Brazillian group in Ensemble Novo. Some of the finest players in town playing the music that they love. It doesn't get much better than that.

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Learn more about Christopher David Shannon by visiting his profile page HERE

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