Ben Shannon – a Bio
Ben Shannon was born in Nashville Tennessee, the second child of two social justice activist parents. He grew up in Pittsburgh to become a writer, a sponsored skateboarder, and a student of contemporary American poetry (BA Writing U of Pitt). Now, a teaching writer (MA Ed Duquesne U.) and father, Ben Shannon resides on the last farm in the city of Pittsburgh (Mildred's Daughter's Farm). Ben is co-founder of BurghSong, a songwriter listening room series featuring a local and a national pairing of writers; an award winning songwriter with two independent and self funded releases; winner of the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase 2015; and finalist in the 2017 Kerrville Folk Festival New Song Showcase.
Ben Shannon writes and performs folk songs that attempt to speak to the human condition on a local, personal, and global level. His lyrical range shows a command of melody and phrasing with rich rhythmic and technical detail while managing to sidestep the pitfall of head on predictability. His songs spring from an acute awareness of the Appalachian region and a first hand experience of the multi-generational effects of a resource extraction economy. Even his love songs are rooted in the landscape of these psychological, social, and geological ripple effects. His songs have an urgency--as if the region and its people are a harbinger for the rest of the planet--but remain spiritually hopeful and come bearing narratives that challenge the devaluation of human life and the life of the planet.
Advocating for a "better world in birth" began as a life mission at 13 years old when he was given the first of several opportunities to serve as a cultural ambassador for the United States on international student delegations. This mission continues in his work as a teaching writer and a performing singer in the belief that the organic experience of story and music are our best hope to inspire empathy and penetrate the ideological armor that needlessly divides so many people who hold so much in common.
His latest recordings remain unreleased. The Finalist, a collection of folk songs, was recorded in the fall of 2016 over the span of two days in Woodstock NY with Erik Lawrence and Jeff Berman. Good Enough is a video EP which was recorded in single takes the Fall of 2017. Ben tours nationally June-August with limited availability September-May.