January Jams: Reverend Shawn Amos with Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons
The Reverend Shawn Amos with Special Guests Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons
For fans of: Keb Mo, Dom Flemons, Jonny Lang “modern blues with a nod to the past”
From West Coast clubs, to Deep South joints, to European festivals, to YouTube, to the podcast
universe, the Reverend Shawn Amos’ message of joyful blues is reaching an ever-increasing
flock. The Rev’s distinctive blend of black roots music, R & B, and stripped down rock n’ roll
brings a bracing, soul-deep musical experience to audiences starved for authenticity, for
connection. “I derive a lot of satisfaction bringing people joy,” he says.
His third studio album, The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down, expands that mission. This
time out, he spices up the mix with 21st century Freedom Songs, socially conscious soul, a
stripped-down cover of Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” that slyly reveals the glam nugget’s blues
bones, and an austere version of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and
Understanding?” that turns the post-punk gem into modern gospel. At the center of James
Saez’ (Social Distortion, The Road Kings) no-frills production, the Rev’s voice and harp tie
everything together in a stirring, celebratory whole, both beholden to history and refreshingly
timely. “It’s the oddest birth of any album I’ve made,” the Rev says. “It has a particular depth.”
This sonic evolution is partly the result of over 100 dates in 2016-17, supporting his chart-
topping The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You. On the road, the Rev took risks, listened to his
heart, and honed his chops. In the midst of that came the seismic election of 2016, and the
subsequent altering of the American landscape. All of the above significantly impacted the Rev
as a father, citizen, musician, and African-American man, and all of it can be heard on
The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down.
Special Guests: Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons
Seattle songsters Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons give life to voices that have long been silenced in
American culture. Their award-winning performances are highlighted by story-telling that,
rather than bringing the past to life, vividly shows how the past still lives in the present.
Through their songs, audiences witness current issues crop up again and again in folk songs,
dance tunes, acoustic blues, and prison ballads. Ben & Joe bounce from fiddle & banjo
breakdowns to a cappella field hollers, early jazz to gospel songs featuring Piedmont guitar style
and rattlin’ bones.
With the same versatility that won them the International Blues Challenge in 2016, and allowed
them to record with National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins, the duo celebrates the ways
Americans have triumphed over oppression through the vitality of their art. Audiences walk
away from Ben & Joe’s concerts and workshops inspired to learn more of their own history and
engage more deeply with their communities.