From the Archives: CityLink Mag Article (2009)

From the Archives:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shauna Sweeney on the cover of City Link!
Pick up a copy of City Link this week!!
Thanks to Colleen Dougher for the interview, Beth Black for the pics and to Jake Cline and the other folks at CityLink Magazine!

This article can be viewed with photo gallery at:
http://southflorida.metromix.com/music/photogallery/making-the-leap/1171978/content

Shauna Sweeney plays her first SunFest

When acoustic Lake Worth acoustic folk-rocker Shauna Sweeney sings about falling in love while protecting your heart or trying to recapture the passion after the urgency and specialness dissipates, she’s not covering new ground in terms of subject matter. But she proves such songs can remain fresh, long after relationships grow stale.

Sweeney has a constantly evolving EP to which she continues adding songs and re-releasing. Cliffjumping, which features musical and production contributions of Summer Blanket’s Keith Michaud, now contains 7 tracks, mostly about love. “As any chick songwriter tends to,” she says. “I gravitate towards the relationship stuff.”

The 24-year-old singer- guitarist and percussionist wrote her first song in kindergarten. “Well, I found what I am guessing is the first song I wrote and it’s in purple crayon,” she says. “I was only about 5 or 6 years old and the first line is ‘A long time ago,’ which I think is funny because I don’t know how long it could have been since I was 5.” Sweeney has been writing songs since. “I was very lucky to go to a school in Connecticut that had a very high arts interest and enthusiasm,” she says. “The music teacher and principal there [facilitated] a school program that recorded songs, so I actually had songs at 8, 9 and 10 years old that were being played on Connecticut public television and doing little local fun radio spots and little things that really got my feet wet .”

After her family’s move to South Florida when she was 15, she picked up guitar and after learning three chords, began hitting open mikes. “I was playing like Jewel and Indigo Girls covers along with my first couple of originals that I wrote on the guitar.” She eventually joined a band called Never Enough. “We would pack 100 of our friends into the Chocolate Moose in Davie and we thought it was Nirvana at 16 years old,” she says. After that she spent a few years living and performing in Boston, Orlando and Chicago. Since returning to South Florida at 19, she’s been playing steadily and now manages several weekly gigs that include solo performances, duos or hosting open mikes, a skill she honed at Tavern 213 in Fort Lauderdale.

Her signature sunflowered guitar is a sunny reminder of her two years at Tavern 213. “It was a really cool experience of bringing 10-20 musicians into this room and having an awesome jam every week,” she recalls. “One of the people who used to come regularly said he was cleaning out his collection of guitars and giving a few of them away to friends and that was one that he gifted to me,” she says. “It was really sweet and it was a nice token, a reminder of all the fun times that we had at that event.”

But like she said at 5, that was “a long time ago.” Still, she’ll be taking the sunflowers with her to SunFest, which she suggests is a good time to hear her new sextet, The Shauna Sweeney Band. “It will be the first time hearing the whole band,” she says. “There’s going to be 6 of us up there and it’s gonna be a good time I’m sure.”

The Shauna Sweeney Band will perform 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Coors Light stage at SunFest, along Flagler Drive from Banyan Boulevard to Lakeview Drive in West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $31 for a one-day pass. Call 800-786-3378 or visit Sunfest.com. For details on Sweeney’s other weekly gigs, visit MySpace.com/shaunasweeney.
— Colleen Dougher

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