B e n S h a n n o n

This page is all about Ben Shannon's music.  Ben Shannon writes, records, and performs in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the tri state area, and nationally in the United States.


Someones coming home with some workboots on
and a lunch box in their hand.
And someone is hearing that rock n' roll music
like its coming from a little tin can.
Someones picking food in a back yard garden
with the wash out on a line
where the honey suckle blooms and the buzzing bees loom
in the town that used to live here

    Yeah the town that used to live here
    there was a way of livin that we could be living if we
    had a moment to share in the town that used to live here

Someone sits down and plays the piano
with the door wide open to the night
Someone sits rockin in those rockin chairs
singin along in the pale moon light.
Someone is standing at the bottom of the stairs
listening with all of their might
to the song that keeps coming from the place we been running
the town that used to live here...

    Yeah the town that used to live here
    there was a way of livin that we could be living if we
    had a moment to share in the town that used to live here

no one is cryin thats just water thats tryin to turn itself back into rain
and no one is lonesome thats an old dog moaning
and straining at a length of his chain
and no one is broken thats just empty bottles
lying on their side in the rain
no one is feeling that empty old feeling in the town that used to lived here

“Once upon a time the end” is a story
that some folks believe is coming true
It says our factories and schools our firehalls and pools
Are just a flash of light passin on through
It says we all will become comfortable and numb
forget what we were put here to do
It says we'll plant a flag in our yard and turn back
in the dream we're livin up to

    Yeah the town that used to live here
    There was a way of livin that we could be living if we
    had a moment to share in the town that used to live here

Words and Music Ben Shannon

Welcome Abraham Publishing

A Story about "Ghost Town"   

It was a strange dark dream I was walking through as I arrived in a room that had a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling over an upright piano.  I sat down to play and boy could I play!  The keys were light and fat and worn down.  My right hand flew through fantastic runs...It was amazing and fluid music--better than anything I've played since.  The door was open and the stars and moon shone in the sky.  I  walked out to the porch and woke up... in East Nashville on an inflatable mattress with a hangover--a dream hangover.  I was still in touch with the essence of that dream and spent the day holding it, turning it, and writing it into song.  The guiding image was a small town that goes dark at night, under an unpolluted sky of stars.  That town, the idea of a town, still alive in spirit has been physically buried under malls and the big box economy.  Where I'm from, the rusted footprints of mills have been filled with malls (I'm not complaining here). But there are no sidewalks so people drive--sealed off in little bubbles of personal space.  But, the dream was showing me there is a town that used to live here and it can still be found in dreams, and in shared moments.   

The last verse of the song is about the story of our country or our shared dream and the fact that we are ultimately responsible for its outcome and how it is being told.  The story of our country/town I critique in the song says "we'll plant a flag in our yard and turn our backs on the dream we're living up to."   There are so many little flags everywhere: shorts, tee-shirts, car antennae, credit cards, yards--there are flags everywhere! But really, what are those flags accomplishing aside from patriotic advertising? Patriotism doesn't happen with a flag it happens when we can get out of our bubbles and do mutually beneficial work.  It happens when we can build an economy to benefit our town and yes our country instead of some distant, unaccountable, and nation-less corporation.