John Sheehan | Notes From Suburbia

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Notes From Suburbia

by John Sheehan

Acoustic songs and instrumentals drawing from open tuning guitar in styles as rich as folk, rock, jazz, blues, Italian Rennaissance and Irish Baroque sources. John Sheehan Notes from Suburbia Sing Out. The Folk Song Magazine, Summer, 2004 by Todd Daws
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Desert Prayer
3:18 $0.99
2. Last Night in a Dream
3:30 $0.99
3. Self Made Man
4:39 $0.99
4. Cabin Fever
4:59 $0.99
5. My Habits Are Killing Me
2:56 $0.99
6. Let It Rip
4:02 $0.99
7. Imprint
3:00 $0.99
8. It Don't Come Easy
3:59 $0.99
9. Bader's Field
4:57 $0.99
10. Lord Inchiquin
4:13 $0.99
11. Five Ricercars
7:18 $0.99
12. Together We Dream
4:42 $0.99
13. All Around Me Now
3:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
John Sheehan is a Composer/Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter from Ringwood, NJ. Two of John's compositions have been used as backdrops for videos: "Buggy Ride", in a short film on safety called "The Eddie Adams Tragedy", put out by the Weyerhauser corporation and Rocket- Pictures of Seattle Washington and "Cliffs of Moher" for a promotional film for the Emily Williston Memorial Library of Easthampton, Massachusetts. "Landrush", a banjo instrumenal is used to open and close Dave Bryce's 'Rural Delivery' show on 88 Country in Christchurch New Zealand every Sunday evening.

Sincere listeners of his music have compared him to such diverse artists as; Leo Kottke, Jorma Kaukonen, Mark Knophler, Michael Hedges, John Prine, Steve Earle, and Jimmy Buffett. John gives credit to J.S.Bach and John Fahey as well as many more . He has opened for, and/or performed with guitar greats Tal Farlow, Jorma, John Renbourne, and Adrian Legge; as well as, singer/songwriters Chris Smithers, Jonathan Edwards and Dave Malett.

His Modern Man cd has been nominated three times for indie cd of the year, most recently from Just Plain He has won awards from NomaMusic and Kweevak .com .
His third cd ,"Notes from Suburbia" is due out in 2003.

Robert Hicks, All Music guide/Bergen Record said "On the Northeastern folk circuit, guitarist John Sheehan establishes himself as an independent thinker and a rugged individualist who champions finger-style techniques. "His vocal songs show simple humor, yet say something profound about humanity". His tongue-in-cheek songs such as "Modern Man", "Thursday Night Open Mic", "Beyond Your Means", and "My Habits Are Killing Me" tell something of his sense of values as well as humor. He mixes compassion , gratitude and wonder into his performances, also, with "Come Here Friend", "As I Stand" "Life Song", "Self Made Man" and "Last night in a dream".

John's guitar instrumentals are steeped in the traditions of European classical and American contemporary styles. Most requested are "Jump into the Fire" , "The Villain", "Hog Farm" and "Cliffs of Moher".

As First Place winner of the 1991 Candi-Creek Banjo Works Guitar Competition, he was awarded a new D-16 Martin Guitar, autographed and presented by C.F. Martin, IV. Performing original tunes on the Banjo, he took First Place in the Banjo Contest at the Old Mill Village Music Competitions in August, 1997.

Gigging three and four days a week, John also teaches the art and craft of fingerstyle guitar privately in his home. He is the fiqurehead of the New Jersey Fingerstyle Alliance (NJFA), a growing group of professional and amateur musicians sharing their knowledge and appreciation for eclectic fingerstyle guitar.

Throughout his dedicated career, fingerstyle guitarist John Sheehan has blazed musical trails in pursuit of excellence and creativity. A major league player and composer, Sheehan has, for the past 20 years, earned himself critical accolades and the respect of his contemporaries and fellow musicians, while influencing a new crop of guitar players with his blazing speed, unerring sense of taste and finesse.

At age 16, John started playing guitar to counter act his own adolescent loneliness and hyperactivity. Soon, he found a personal focus in classical music that gave his soul and spirit a new and needed metamorphosis. With guitar in hand, John was able to cope productively as an adult artist .

After studying classical guitar at William Paterson College, Sheehan took to the road playing rock, folk and country in bars and restaurants. Although these musical experiences gave John the stage confidence he needed to play in any situation, the music itself was not always fulfilling. By the late 1980's John was ready for a change.

Gathering the best musical memories and influences and amalgamating them into a style was not easy. John wrote, produced and played music that would send a clear artistic message to the world. Instrumental Solo Guitar was released in 1995 to favorable critical acclaim. It is a collection of 12 bluegrass/folk/classical tracks demonstrating John's mind boggling guitar "chops" and propensity for fine melody. "This collection of musical metaphors," he explains "depicts personal traits, habits, strengths and weaknesses spanning the last 15 years of my life. Some were written with the thought in mind of real places and people and some are purely imaginary.

Live radio performances include National puplic radios/ WAMC's The Round Table with Paul Elisha and Susan Arbetter, and WFMU's Irene Trudell show.

His voice, mandolin playing and guitar appear on five other albums; Picking and Sliding the Blues by Larry Amato, Nice Hat by Bobby Syvarth, Parhelion, Scott Appel (One Man Clapping Records) and Nine of Swords, Scott Appel (School Kid's Records) Barrelhouse, Eclectasy. Compilations; WFMU's "Pearl Diving Near the Hudson", Crossroads CD Sampler 99, Oasis Acoustic 2000 and "Carry On".

Jim Ankrom



to write a review

Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Summer, 2004 by Todd Dawson

finger play as nimble as quicksilver,
John Sheehan Notes from Suburbia

In the midst of suburban New Jersey, fingerstyle guitarist John Sheehan takes note of and plays alluringly about the struggle to remain clear of head and heart in a world infringing upon the enduring spirit. With finger play as nimble as quicksilver, Sheehan carries listeners to the Middle East in "Desert Prayer" as effortlessly as he steps back in time to childhood innocence spent at "Baders Field."

An artist inspired as easily by Bach as he is John Fahey, Sheehan recounts in "My Habits Are Killing Me" the struggle to remain true to his muse while playing bar gigs that pay the rent. What Sheehan lacks in strong vocals on numbers such as "It Don't Come Easy" and "All Around Me Now" (a mystical tribute to mushrooms and friends), he makes up for in his fluid articulation and seamless playing. The fusion of contemporary acoustic ("Together We Dream") with the past (Sienese lute in "Five Ricercars" and 18th Century Irish folk in "Lord Inchiquin") is pure and strong enough to keep middle-class angst from kicking down the door to any suburban castle.

Rebecca Schmoyer

The 13 pieces on John Sheehan's latest CD, wryly titled “Notes from Suburbia”, offer a wealth of finger picking as they reflect on human experience — from the revealing nature of dreams to the discovery of the awe-inspiring in the mundane.

John Sheehan is a guitarist of unusual and varied accomplishment. “Notes from Suburbia” is John’s third CD and it is diverse, including Renaissance lute pieces, a guitar arrangement of a traditional Irish harp tune and candid songs influenced by jazz, blues and to a lesser degree, eastern music. All of these ingredients form a showcase for expressive, smart and forceful guitar playing. “Notes” opens with ‘Desert Prayer’ an ethereal instrumental reflection on events following the September 11, 2001 tragedy incorporating the blues and a melody suggestive of North Indian devotional music. With tablâ accompaniment, ‘Last Night in a Dream’— a song about the consciousness-expanding power of dreams — is reminiscent of a 1992 collaboration between blues guitarist Ry Cooder and the Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Throughout “Notes” John employs a sophisticated variety of chords in his arrangements of songs and instrumentals. ‘Together we Dream’ is a moody contemporary fingerstyle piece. ‘Cabin Fever’, a driving, acrobatic boogie of ascending and descending licks and chords, leaves you breathless. (It should really be witnessed live to be believed.)

The CD’s final song, ‘All Around Me Now’ brings to light John’s ability to draw inspiration from the natural world, as well as his ongoing fascination with mushrooms. This regard for nature, along with John’s lack of cynicism and his respect for the aspirations of the individual, makes me feel that in addition to being a great guitar album, the songwriting on “Notes” is quite transcendental. And in these politically and economically uncertain times, appreciation of the transcendental is unquestionably an American sensibility worth nurturing.

Steven Dillon

guitar playing really shines on the foot tapping "Cabin Fever" and upbeat
John Sheehan Notes from Suburbia
2003 Remember I was an artist and member of that long since dead
web site. It was a pretty good gig while it lasted. I joined before all the mega-
stars like Madonna and Aerosmith showed up; you know, during the dot com
explosion. Back then, was a real boon for unknown artists and
offered a bounty of musical gems intermingled with the dirt and coal efforts
of those seeking public acknowledgement. I used to stream music all day
long from the thousands of available tunes, and when I ran across something
really good, I'd put it on one of the several radio stations that I created and
managed. That's how I first came to hear John Sheehan. John is a very
talented multi-instrumentalist and a composer/singer/songwriter hailing
from Ringwood, New Jersey. John's latest release "Notes From Suburbia"
should satisfy both the acoustic instrumental lovers as well as those who
prefer their acoustic tunes with some folk flavoring. John's award winning
guitar playing really shines on the foot tapping "Cabin Fever" and upbeat
"Let It Rip". His interpretations are equally impressive including the Pierre
Bensusan-like, Irish tinged, O'Carolan's "Lord Inchiquin" and the varying
textures and moods of "Five Ricecars" from the Sienna lute manuscript.
My favorite of the CD is the gorgeous tune "Together We Dream" which
feels like a lazy afternoon. "Notes From Suburbia" is another diamond
from one of the most talented artists the world has yet to discover.

Copyright © 2004
Steven Dillon (SAFG)