Matt & Shannon Heaton

Kelly Lorenz | klimagery.comKelly Lorenz |
Boston-based Matt and Shannon Heaton play traditional and updated Irish music with voices, Irish flute, accordion, guitar and bouzouki. Winner of Live Ireland’s “Trad Fusion Album of the Year,” the Heatons move seamlessly from harmony singing to driving flute tunes, to lush guitar lines, creating a big, layered sound. Musically speaking, the Heatons play the heck out of their instruments (Irish wood flute/accordion, guitar/bouzouki). After years of study in Chicago, and many nights of music in Clare, Galway, and their adopted home of Boston, Irish Music Magazine’s John O’Regan wrote, “their duet playing is tight, sweet, and tasteful, lacking nothing on either technical expertise or instrumental virtuosity.” 

As for their singing, when Matt and Shannon perform centuries-old songs, it feels current, conversational. They make traditional music relevant to American audiences. O’Regan wrote “songwise [there are] hints an older domestic sound, the familiar down home harmonies of The Carter Family and Tim and Mollie O’Brien.” 

Like Richard Thompson or Nic Jones, the Heatons’ music comes from a traditional aesthetic, a devotion to strong traditional bones, and a passion for reaching out to the modern world around them. They are devoted to Irish traditional music and uplift listeners by connecting with each other and the people around them.

“Their playing is masterful and inventive, their arrangements city-smart and spacious. Still, they never forget that Irish music is, at its heart, a neighborly form meant for sharing, not showing off.”
- Scott Alarik, Boston Globe