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Shannon Janssen | Piano Paintings

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United States - Iowa

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Easy Listening: Mood Music Classical: New Age Moods: Featuring Piano
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Piano Paintings

by Shannon Janssen

The brush is in your hand and the only clue is the title...let your imagination paint the scene and the characters of this instrumental piano music that will take you to another place.
Genre: Easy Listening: Mood Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Wishing Well
5:16 $0.99
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2. Days of Innocence
4:08 $0.99
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3. Bittersweet
3:31 $0.99
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4. Hollie's Wedding Isle
2:50 $0.99
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5. Promise Me
3:01 $0.99
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6. White Sand
5:18 $0.99
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7. Mother's Day
3:18 $0.99
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8. The Lighthouse Window
5:00 $0.99
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9. Approaching Storm
6:00 $0.99
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10. Peace Afterwards
4:41 $0.99
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11. Home Again
4:42 $0.99
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12. Sweet Dreams
2:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Born and raised in Iowa, Shannon Janssen began playing a small electric organ when she was very young. She has very few memories of it, but her parents remember Shannon making up tunes at a very early age. When she was eight, formal piano lessons began. Her Austrian piano instructor was strict, allowing Shannon to only play classical pieces. She would practice the lessons her teacher would give while spending additional time at the piano learning pop songs and working on her own compositions. Shannon continued lessons through high school, then studied piano with a passionate pursuit that led her through the years. She was a church pianist for 20 years and taught private lessons for twelve years.

At the request of people who wanted to take Shannon's music home with them, in 2001 she began the adventure of recording her debut album, "Heart Journey". Working closely with her producer Mark Pence, orchestration added tasteful beauty to her piano solos. Together they would see eye to eye and hear ear to ear exactly the special touches that would add the magic that Shannon was looking for. Within a year, she began recording her second album "Piano Paintings", released in October of 2002.

In recent years she began writing her compositions down in sheet music form. It is her desire in the future to have her music available in song books for students, teachers and anyone who enjoys playing piano. Shannon is now a full time pianist performing for Von Maur, Collins Plaza Hotel, for private and company parties, receptions, special events and concerts of her original music. She continues writing in preparation for her next CD.

Music is her passion, and her style is unique. Her award winning music would be categorized as Contemporary Classical or Romantic New Age. She plays with such feeling and emotion; her melodies will take your heart on a journey. To learn more about Shannon and to hear her music, visit her website at: www.shannonjanssen.com.

"I love music that is soul stirring and touching, that makes you stop to ponder, taking you to another place. This kind of music can be in many categories. But instrumental music without words, allows the listener to use their imagination to tell the story or to paint the picture within the song. The only clue is the title...you decide how the story goes and ends. It's like reading a book verses watching a movie. Your imagination paints the scene and characters, thus allowing the music to take you on a journey. It has always been my desire and dream to create music such as this."

From Shannon Janssen's "Piano Paintings" CD, "The Lighthouse Window" won an 'Outstanding Achievement In Songwriting Award' placing second in the Instrumental Category of the 2003 Great American Song Contest.

Also from Shannon Janssen's "Piano Paintings" CD, 'Approaching Storm', won an Honor Award in the 2002 Great American Song Contest. 'Promise Me' and 'Home Again' won Honor Awards in the 2004 Great American Song Contest.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

A very promising new artist.
“Piano Paintings” is Shannon Janssen’s second release, and is a lovely collection of original piano pieces with synth orchestrations and embellishments by producer Mark Pence. Most of the pieces were inspired by family or nature, giving the overall mood of the album one of tranquility. “Peace Afterwards” was composed as a patriotic song and was titled after 9/11. A very pensive and heartfelt piece, this is one of the best tracks on the CD. “Approaching Storm” is also interesting, and has a bigger, more turbulent feel. With such a strong musical statement, I don’t think the thunder claps throughout the song were necessary - besides, they scare my cats! “Home Again” describes the feeling of coming home to the things that you love. This is also a very warm and heartfelt piece that works especially well at conveying a familiar emotion that we all experience at one time or another. Two of the pieces were composed for Janssen’s daughter’s wedding. “Hollie’s Wedding Isle” was written as her processional, and is full of grace and warmth. “Promise Me” has lyrics written by a friend (but were not used on this recording) and was sung at the wedding. It is referred to in the liner notes as “the perfect wedding song.” The melody is very gentle and beautiful, so it will be interesting to hear the song with its vocals on a future recording. “Mother’s Day” is a loving tribute to Janssen’s own mother, and is very flowing with an easy-going melody. I’m not a fan of added sound effects, so by the third or fourth listen to this album, the baby’s laughter at the beginning and end of this piece got a little annoying. “Sweet Dreams” is a lullaby for a new grandchild, and is full of tenderness and a grandma’s love. “Piano Paintings” is a very nice album, but I am not as excited about it as I was the earlier “Heart Journey.” Maybe my expectations were too high, but I found this album a bit more predictable and harder to get into. I was also bothered by the sound quality of the piano, and suspect that it was electronic. Shannon Janssen is definitely an artist to watch, as her playing and composing styles are passionate and very capable.
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Performing Songwriter


Good easy-listening instrumentals have a flow and an emotional integrity that can be quite moving, and Shannon Janssen’s second album Piano Paintings features a healthy sampling of just such instrumentals—delicate, swaying keyboard originals that are more substantive than mere Muzak air-pudding. With the aid of producer Mark Pence’s tasteful, unobtrusive arrangements, piano teacher and church organist Janssen comes up with light melodic variations that she plays with imagination and grace. Piano Paintings also contains touching liner notes in which Janssen explains the origin of each song in her travels and family life, adding to the album’s warm, homemade feeling. —NM
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Wendy

I love the CD.
Everything about this CD is great. The listener can feel the pianist in the music; can see her as part of her music.
Thank you.
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Arnette Pint

My CD's by Shannon are the top requests in the office.
My new CD's by Shannon have hit the top of the charts in the office. I have people asking me if I would put them on and others ask me if I would turn them up. I play them in my sewing room alone, or as meditation or devotional music in groups I lead. They are a great addition to my small tape library.
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charles lee

Fantastic, soulful, and soothing
Shannon is a tremendous talent. Since I purchased this CD I simply can't stop playing it. Shannon bears her soul to the listener and her emotions are expressed so eloquently through her music. From the lighthearted merriment of "Days of Innocence" with its Celtic flavor, to the deep reflective classical jazz sound of "The Lighthouse Window" Shannon talks to us without saying a single word. She uses her notes to paint a picture just as masterfully as Rembrandt used the brush. I highly recommend this CD.
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©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


After several months of intense deliberation in the studio, Shannon Janssen has another musical gift to share with us all. “Piano Paintings” is exactly what it advertises to be. Janssen paints a musical landscape that offers a group of tracks that come from the heart of woman with a direct connection to heaven. As sentient beings, we are all connected to that realm or dimension in some way, and others have tapped into that energy directly and are able to communicate its divinity through musical instruments; Shannon is one of those blessed with this gift.

While the 12 tracks on this CD have a variety of moods and styles, each song effortlessly blends into each other. In other words, the 12 tracks become one gorgeous sonata that creates a peaceful yet entertaining soundtrack.

All of the hard work and effort has paid off for this talented ivory manipulator. I would like to see her go into more of a jazz direction on her next outing rather than drawing her influences from the classical genre. Ideally, I think a blend of both would make for a dramatic recording. I would not say this if I did not feel she was ready to move to the next level of development in her career.

This woman is certainly capable of creating music that talks to your heart, and once again, she has touched my soul with her music.
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Bill Binkelman


From my neighbor state to the south (Iowa) comes a most pleasant, albeit fairly "safe," album of piano and keyboard instrumentals, courtesy of Shannon Janssen. What I mean by "safe" is that the music is, simply put, immensely accessible and easy to get into on first listening, assuming the type of music is to your liking. Janssen wears her heart on her sleeve, whether her emotions are somewhat sadly romantic and plaintive (such as the opening "The Wishing Well"), warm and loving ("Mother's Day"), or reflective and wistful ("The Lighthouse Window"). This, in and of itself, is certainly not a bad thing. Many of the songs on Piano Paintings are lovely and could serve as not just enjoyable background music for company but also as dedicated listening, if your taste runs toward similar artists (such as Robin Spielberg, Suzanne Ciani, or Kevin Kern). Like the latter, Janssen uses electronic keyboards to flesh out many of her melodies, adding coloring, drama, and substance to her artistic piano playing.
However, unlike Kern, her approach is a little more diverse and a little less overly commercial (although Piano Paintings is still 100 percent accessible to the mainstream). For example, "Approaching Storm" is one of several tracks that is somewhat more dramatic and incorporates sound effects in conjunction with the music. Thanks to the solid production quality of the album, these textures do not detract from Janssen's piano playing. Whether they add anything to the songs themselves or not is more a matter of taste. Engineering is usually pretty good, although I think the piano sounded too "bright" at times.
Only occasionally does Janssen exhibit a trace of overkill with the synth strings (which, honestly, is the failing of many artists in this particular musical vein). To her credit, many of her electronic keyboard embellishments are well-placed and add depth and dimension to the music (such as the lush strings on "Peace Afterwards" and the slight lower register cellos on "Bittersweet"). Still, I wish she would have (at times) trusted more to her emotive piano playing and less to the "underlining."
On balance, I think Piano Paintings is an admirable and enjoyable effort. It beats the hell out of a lot of more "name" players who are now just recycling past glory and, to be truthful, some of the music is quite pretty and is almost always devoid of faux sentimentality (in this way, it reminded me, somewhat, of another piano/keyboard artist, Shirley Cason). With a little more restraint exercised in the application of her electronic keyboards (but not leaving them out of the picture entirely), Janssen could prove to be one of the better artists in the adult contemporary instrumental/new age music genre in the coming decade. There are moments on Piano Paintings where the music is fresh and alive with romanticism and emotion wedded to artistry and talent. As such, the CD holds plenty of promise for Shannon Janssen and also stands as a fine addition to the collection of any fan of straightforward new age piano/keyboard music.
review by Bill Binkelman- Wind and Wire
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The Gazette


Cedar Rapids---Those familiar with Shannon Janssen's piano playing, whether through her work at Von Maur, at the Collins Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, on the radio or elsewhere - now can take a bit more of Janssen's music home.

The Cedar Rapids pianist recently released her second CD, "Piano Paintings." Like her first, "Heart Journey," it contains a dozen songs that are soothing and smooth, not unlike the music of George Winston.

This is textbook easy-listening music. Janssen's playing and the synthesized backing glide over the listener like a soundtrack to a Calgon bubble-bath ad. The songs are inventive, and the melodies are seemingly new and familiar at the same time. They are rendered with care, as Janssen's supple playing easily conveys the range of emotions behind each track. Many of the tracks are fleshed out with tasteful orchestration by producer Mark Pence. While they obviously are synthesized, they add texture and depth to the songs.

The songs are inspired by a variety of things. "Hollie's Wedding Isle" is exactly what it sounds like, a processional composed for the wedding of Janssen's daughter. "White Sand" was inspired by a trip to Mexico - though one is hard-pressed to hear bullfights and open markets in Janssen's ballad-temp tune.

Family plays an important role in Janssen's life, with songs for her daughter, mother and grandson included on the disc. "Mother's Day," for her mother, is a light tune that starts with the sound of a baby laughing. "Sweet Dreams," a lullaby for her grandson, is a sweet, sleepy song of slumber.

Nothing here rises about the pace of a leisurely stroll, so you won't put this on to liven up a party. But for a quiet evening or Sunday morning, "Piano Paintings" makes for a nice soundtrack. By John Kenyon - The Gazette
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