“The older you get, the better you are”: Shannon Boshears, 45, musician, singer songwriter, Little Rock, Arkansas
With a family coming from the Delta Area, Shannon had a good shot to learn to love the Blues. When she was a teenager someone gave her a cassette tape of Muddy Waters, this blew her away. Ever since then she tried to learn everything about the blues. In college she started to play the guitar “to keep my mind and hands busy”. Back in the 80s before Bonnie Raitt “hit it big” she came to play an acoustic show in Little Rock with a bass player with an upright bass. Shannon: “I was electrified, I did not even sleep for three days. I had not seen something like it before, this woman was kicking ass, she was strong, she was maybe 40”. Because of Bonnie Raitt – “a white woman interested in the blues” Shannon felt inspired.
When Shannon started to play for a living she had to include cover songs to her programme of originals. A four hour night, means 40 songs – “a lot of people like to listen to what they know”. Even though Shannon made her living solely from music for 12 years she is now pursuing a day job as Director of Community and Public Affairs at Heifer International, an NGO that helps 3rd world countries by empowering the farmers.
The Daphne blue Stratocaster was pieced together by a Little Rock guitar Guru. Her Danelectro was once the guitar of New Orleans based guitarist Dino Kruse. When Lucinda Williams played a gig in Fayetteville, Arkansas (where her father lives) Shannon met her backstage. It felt like being old friends, “she is just an Arkansan”.
Shannon was bothered at first when she turned 45, because she thought music was the young peoples game. But now she thinks: “The older you get the better you are, when it comes to playing music. Playing live is a kind of healing for the people who come to see me play (…) that is where I have to come to peace with my music (…) it is not about chasing the fame, not about big money”. Shannon thinks that when she was 23 it was about her ego and now it is also about the healing that she gets for herself: “People are full of holes, I am full of holes but when I perform I feel whole. (…) My whole life has been a result of that things that I have done through music”.
She will still be playing when she is 60 and 80, and she will be the one influencing people the same way she got influenced by the older ones.
Interviewed: 17. 9.2011