News & Updates

3.21.09 Paula Cole, Marc Cohn, Songwriters Hall of Fame........(newsletter)
I am playing a show - one show - with Paula Cole this coming week at the Smothers Theatre in Los Angeles - part of Pepperdine University, beautifully situated overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, March 25th (8pm is what I've been told - unofficially)
Smothers Theatre
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263

It is a trio show - Paula, Ben Wittman - her drummer, and myself. I have never played with them and we are not doing a rehearsal. My kind of show! Seat of the pants and in the moment! They needed a guitarist for the show and so here I am.....

I have met Paula several times and actually recorded on Chris Botti's version of the Irving Berlin classic "What'll I Do", which Paula sang on Chris's "When I Fall In Love" album.

I'm sure the evening will be a lot of fun - and certainly exciting from my perspective.

April will be a busy month. Several months ago Amy Correia told me about an artist's retreat that she was going to attend in Wyoming. It sounded like a unique and wonderful experience, both before and after the fact. She put me in touch with the organization and I submitted an application. I was accepted for a "residency" and I will be there for a couple of weeks in the first half of April.

It will be an opportunity for so many things - and for whatever I choose it to be. I have never done anything quite like this before and that is part of what is so exciting.

Later in April I will tour with Marc Cohn, my dear friend of the past eleven years. You can click here to see a list of the tour dates that are upcoming - all on the East coast between April 28th-May 11th. Marc seriously considered doing these shows solo - wanting to combine music and dialog with the audience in a particularly personal way, and also wanting to do something different for himself and his fans. Nonetheless, I will be there! We will accomplish what we do without sacrificing any of the above, and I hope to see some of you along the way.

In June I have been invited to play as part of the house band at the Songwriters Hall of Fame show. The show will take place in New York on June 18th. Once again, Rob Mathes, musical director/composer/arranger extraordinaire is putting together the ensemble for the evening. It is another one-of-a-kind opportunity that he has ushered my way in the past few months: the Kennedy Center Honors, the Lincoln Memorial Inauguration show and now the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In my last email I said that I will soon post photos on my website from the Lincoln Memorial which I have not yet done. I will let you know when new content has been added - and I know it has indeed been quite some time!

Immediately after the Hall of Fame show, I am scheduled for more shows with Marc in the Summer. But this is only the second day of Spring so that is a little ways away............

Before I go, recently I have been hearing - as I'm sure most of you have - about the continuing AIG debacle amidst all the other economic news. I was thinking about how most of the time "the people" don't adequately express "their" voice. And what does that mean? I suppose it would imply a sense of personal powerless-ness in both letting those at AIG and other companies know of my own anger about the kinds of behavior - past and present - which they have enacted upon the masses, and also those in government, of whom I would want to ask so many questions regarding the architecture of this house of cards. Ultimately of course, the choice is mine.

So I was thinking - if I was to picket outside one of those big high-rise monoliths that sports the name AIG, what would be a good slogan for me to carry on my placard? The best I have come up with so far is Adds Insult to Greed.

With that, I will leave you for now. May this day and every day be filled with success and joy for each one of you - and for all those whom you love and cherish.

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Paula Cole
Paula Cole




1.25.09 Inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial.....(newsletter)
Little did I know when I played the Kennedy Center Honors in the first week of December what was to come. St. Nicholas, embodied by Rob Mathes - musician, composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor et al extraordinaire - gave me a most wonderful Christmas present with his invitation for me to participate in the remarkable Inaugural concert/event at the Lincoln Memorial two days prior to Barack Obama taking the oath of office as President - that's President with a capital P - of the United States of America.

There's a pride (not to mention an unparalleled sense of relief) that has overtaken millions of Americans in the past couple of months, and a resurgence, a renaissance of something that might be called patriotism, a kind of joy that a new parent feels experiencing the reality of a new arrival in the family. And this is a large family that is rejoicing! It's that peculiar joy of responsibility, where responsibility has no connotation of burden. It's not a rah-rah patriotism but a truer sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, not based on fear but on hope and positive expectation. How beautiful to once again feel akin to one's kin. And I was there, thanks to St. Nick - a.k.a. Rob Mathes.

After processing the joy of the invitation, feeling slightly overawed, the question arose in my mind, "Why me?". There are many who could honor and represent the position I was asked to fill, as a guitarist of an ensemble that would back up some the music industry's finest, with at least as much skill as I possess.

Having experienced the Kennedy Center process, where things come together in an accelerated sprint to the finish line, it was not surprising that there was little information about this event. I relaxed and realized that it was all being organized here and now and I would know more when I knew more. And so I tried to trust......and wait.

Now the unsung hero of this event, as any one of the musicians would immediately attest, is Rob Mathes. He contacted us about a week after the invitation to ask for a brief bio, knowing that some of the artists might need some convincing about being accompanied by musicians with whom they may have been unfamiliar. Rob had assembled one mighty rhythm section with Kenny Aronoff on drums and Nathan East on bass - both with "who's who" type resumes and fabled reputations. Both of them would be instantly recognizable. There was Michael Bearden on keyboards, Keith Robinson and myself on guitars to cover the funk and the rock and Rob himself on keys and guitar - AND also on the most incredible vocals - guiding us through every song with perfectly representative and inspirational vocal performances at all times.

Then there was Fonzi Thornton, Tawatha Agee and Tabitha Fair on backing vocals and a horn section that comprised Brad Leali, Tony Kadleck, Clark Gayton and the wonderful Lou Marini - he of the original eight seasons of the Saturday Night Live house band.

We were also augmented by copyist Mike Casteel, transcribing and constructing musical charts, Jamsheid Sharifi an arranger and orchestrator of note (and notes!), conductor Charles Floyd who would conduct the orchestra during the show, recording engineer Dave O' Donnell and Ms. Kim Wertz keeping us all organized and informed.

Prior to my departure for D.C. Rob had mentioned that Bruce was "on board". Yes, that Bruce. I was excited to see and hopefully work with Bruce Springsteen once again. It was around the same time that a songlist and most of the artists involved were made known. It was a possibility that we would play Pride (In The Name Of Love) with Bono, but soon thereafter U2 were confirmed in toto.

By the time of our first rehearsal, on the Wednesday prior to the Sunday afternoon show, it was up in the air as to whether we would accompany Bruce. At first it seemed that we would. The band was to perform a level down from the stage, which was being erected on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I had visited and marveled over this wonderful structure just a month prior with no idea that I would be performing one of the most historic shows under Abraham Lincoln's gaze. We heard that if Bruce was to play with the band that he would want some accompaniment onstage, rather than being up there on his own, so Rob had suggested that he, Nathan and myself could have wireless units and take the stage for that particular song. Bruce was apparently amenable to this idea.

The first two days of rehearsal, Wednesday and Thursday, took place at Fort Myer army base in Alexandria, VA. Security was what you might imagine, and on the steps of each house in this self-contained village, were the names of the army personnel written on brass nameplates. The Presidential Inaugural Committee wanted the orchestra to be from the military, and the concert hall that we rehearsed in was set up like a large recording studio, for band and orchestra to play and record.

One of the army staff there to help us was a young man named Marcus Truelove, who appeared to be so excited to have this particular detail. He also plays guitar and was in heaven being around musicians. On day two he arrived with an old bathroom scale that he had modified into a brilliant effects pedal board for his guitar. Marcus was tirelessly willing to provide us with whatever we needed.

One of the great highlights for me of this show was that Stevie Wonder was going to "guest" on his own song, Higher Ground, which would also feature Usher and Shakira. Stevie has been one of my greatest inspirations since 1971 and the release of his groundbreaking album Music Of My Mind, which heralded the major diversion his career took in becoming an autonomous Motown artist. This was the first song we rehearsed, with particular attention paid to the ending, which was taken from recordings of his live performances. The ending is intricate and we spent more time than we could probably afford trying to play it correctly. Nathan has worked and recorded with Stevie on many occasions as has Michael Bearden, and Nathan guided us, feel-wise, as to what he felt would satisfy Stevie.

Part of Rob's onus was to liaise with the artists about the arrangements and he had spoken to Stevie several times already. Stevie had apparently been working on a track to accompany himself, but Rob told him that we would rehearse the song and he would send him an mp3 which Stevie said he would listen to and see if he felt comfortable playing with us. The pressure was on!

We recorded a take and the ending fell apart. Other than the ending, it felt good and Rob decided to do an "insert", where we would record the ending separately and edit it on to the rest of the track. No problem.

A couple of hours later Rob comes back into the hall and says, "Good news. Stevie left a message which I may keep forever. He said - It's allright. It's all's GOOD, it's good - ". We had passed the audition! But he had made a comment: "Don't retard the ending". Rob deciphered that Stevie had "heard" the edit, which is something that would have been indiscernible to most people. Keith Robinson told me that he had heard that Stevie Wonder can beat just about anyone at air hockey! Which would make it no surprise that he can hear an edit.....!

When Rob rehearses the band, prior to playing any song, he talks down the arrangement, talking about the structure and mechanics of the whole song, with each different reference point in mind - rhythm section (including guitars and keys), horns and vocals. Then as we rehearse the song, he is also referring to a representative from the HBO director's staff, who is concerned about the length of each piece and he is also in a constant dialog, with the producers, the TV director, the musicians as to how to present and edit the song. There is always a compromise - and never a compromise. He is for the most part accommodating all needs and sacrificing nothing in achieving that end.

We rehearsed material for Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor with John Legend and Jennifer Nettles, Mary J. Blige, Stevie with Usher and Shakira, Garth Brooks, Will I Am with Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock and we also recorded tracks for My Country 'Tis Of Thee which Josh Groban and Heather Headley would perform, and America The Beautiful which would be sung by Beyonce. Both of these last two songs included orchestral arrangements, as did You'll Never Walk Alone, all of which were written by Rob.

Rob's arrangement of You'll Never Walk Alone for Renee Fleming had been originally created for a concert just after 9/11 and it was to be repeated here.

The weather in Los Angeles when I left was uncommonly hot. If you've never experienced Winter in Southern California, today is the epitome of Winter here at its finest. It is stormy, overcast, chilly but not cold, the sky is relentlessly volatile and yet perfect calm is everywhere. It is magnificent. But a couple of weeks ago was another story, and I knew that the total flipside was awaiting me in D.C.

Necessary contingency plans were prepared in case there would be a Winter storm on Sunday. Also, it was colder than it had been there in many years, and there was a distinct possibility that it would be physically impossible to perform in that super-frigid climate. As I said, the first two days we were at Fort Myer, but the next two days, Friday and Saturday we were scheduled to rehearse on site - both in a heated tent and also onstage at the Memorial, shuttling back and forth - and we were hearing that Friday was to be the coldest day of the week.

Friday was indeed a day of vast juxtapositions. There was the somewhat surreal blend of entertainers and military. I watched as some flag bearers marched to the stage to rehearse and became acutely aware of this being an altogether different kind of event. The man we were honoring would be Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces in forty eight hours and we were weaving in and out of each other, all participating in the same "show".

The "heated" tent, was scarily not too heated on Friday! It was sorted out by Saturday, but on Friday when we walked in to set up and rehearse it was not much warmer than outside. The drill for the most part would be to to rehearse a song with the artist who was singing it and then go and soundcheck with them onstage. This was the other juxtaposition - the cold on stage was so extreme that day, that it was only possible to run through a song a maximum of two times before you would feel physically imperilled.

All the musicians were playing with gloves on except Keith and me. Even Nathan had a glove on one hand! But the horns were freezing - literally. The moisture in the pads of the horns was freezing, rendering them unplayable. There were some small heaters onstage but they were not able to make a difference. Here was this incredible event, and even here on Friday it was such a moving experience, playing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking down the Mall to the Washington Monument and the Capitol - all of this majesty surrounding us, but yet we were enduring such profound physical discomfort at the same time.

We started around ten o clock that morning and the back and forth routine was repeated a couple of more times that day, and as the day went on, it became colder still. We went till about ten that night.

Stevie Wonder was the first act we rehearsed with and he was situated about four feet away from me. The first time we ran the song we got to the end and he said, "" So we tried it again...and again. Rob asked, "How was that, Stevie?". He replied, to the tune of The Beatles song, Getting Better, "It's getting closer all the time!" Everyone broke into laughter. When we finished rehearsing the song, we were all treated to Stevie Wonder jamming on a quintessentially beautiful, intricate and heavenly rendition of one of his songs. "Do you remember this one, Nate?" And the two of them played. Kenny joined in as did Keith and I "chimed in" judiciously....and sparingly. This went on for twenty minutes, a latin flavored rhythm with a patented Stevie Wonder chord progression that was all genius. To hear his voice soar and to watch him play up close are memories I will treasure.

At the end I asked Nathan, "What's the name of that song?" He replied that he had no idea. So into the ether the musical vibrations went. Maybe another in this great artist's vast repertoire of unreleased and maybe unrecorded songs.

It was lovely to see Bettye LaVette again - so soon after the Kennedy Center show, where she had blown all listeners away with her beautiful, soulful voice. She was singing Change Is Gonna Come with Jon Bon Jovi. She sang the first line and I watched as a wry smile swept across Jon's face - a look not only of reverent recognition but also of someone gathering himself. At the end of the song he made a couple of very canny modifications to the arrangement improving the overall framework to everyone's admiration.

Saturday was much warmer in the tent and less brutal outside. We rehearsed with John Mellencamp and Mary J. Blige. As we rehearsed Bob Marley's One Love with Will I Am, Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock, I noticed Jon Landau, Bruce's manager, looking on. I approached him after the song and he gave me a big bear hug. The band now prepared for the Boss's arrival. Bruce's plan was that he would rehearse the song acoustically with a gospel choir, then give it a shot with the band. Rob had lobbied hard for us all to accompany him, and Bruce and Jon Landau were well aware that it was our passion to do so, and that we had worked hard on his song The Rising.

A dozen or so choir members entered and eventually - you can almost imagine a concert-ready audience stomping their feet and chants of Brooooce - Bruce arrived, with his wife Patti, and other family and co-workers. "Hey kid", he said to me and he got to work. Rob was now choir-master and he prompted, exhorted and conducted the singers. I watched Jon Landau, who still listens to and watches his artist with a look of a rapturous fan. Jon was also checking out Rob, and he was visibly moved by the transcendent sound that was filling the tent - a sound so magnificent that I was not surprised when Bruce later said, "Sorry band - I know you guys have worked really hard on my song, but NEXT time, okay!"

He and I chatted for a few moments. He told me that this is the busiest month of his career, between the Golden Globes, the Inaugural and the Super Bowl. I also spent some time talking to his remarkable tour director George Travis, a man who so perfectly embodies Bruce Springsteen's organization. When I worked with Bruce, if I had a problem, if anyone had a need of any kind, George would make it the most important thing that he had to deal with in that moment, and always with the warmest smile you could imagine.

James Taylor had sustained an injury a couple of days earlier and had a black eye. When he arrived I could sense that our energy on this Saturday late afternoon was starting to flag, but once again Rob was able to yank on the reins and help everyone to focus, as he tended to the needs of multiple artists performing together for the first time.

Then there's Garth Brooks - a truly impressive individual. He conveys great kindness and generosity of spirit to everyone. His demeanor had been noted by all at the Kennedy Center. It was again so apparent here. We were doing a "Heartland Medley" with him - American Pie, Shout and his song We Shall Be Free - all with the gospel choir. After practicing with them, and it was getting late, dark and colder now, he said to them, "Aren't you all thirsty? Don't you want something to drink?" He was legitimately concerned for their individual and collective welfare.

Garth interacted with the band more than any other artist and with everyone who wanted to say hi - even onstage after the show with crew members who wanted to take photos with him. I think of how often I have passed judgments about him, his music, his hat, whatever. He is a beautiful man who is large of spirit and shares himself easily. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play with him for a moment.

And so to Sunday, the best backstage pass I've ever owned (!), a balmy thirty three degrees, and an air of joyful anticipation. I had one of the best seats in the house. We were situated right beneath the podium where Tom Hanks, Forest Whitaker and Jamie Foxx spoke. I watched close-up as Joe Biden and his wife, and then as Barack and Michelle Obama entered.

There were "those guys" on the roof of the Memorial with their binoculars and whatever else they needed and a couple of times I spotted someone behind a pillar, unobtrusively looking on as the President-elect spoke, a few feet away from where I stood.

One of my enduring memories will be the ascent to the stage from the ramp backstage, behind all the scaffolding and then making the right turn up the steps where the Washington Monument and a vast sea of humanity then appeared, and I walked up and out into the blessed reality of this once-in-a-lifetime event. All the magnificence, all the energy and love and tangible joy of hundreds of thousands of people.

John Kerry was seated in front of me, as was Eric Holder, the soon-to-be Attorney General. Cold? What cold? I took some photographs, as discretely as I could during the show. Barack, U2, Bruce and Pete Seeger. Tom Hanks and Tiger Woods.

I will post this letter along with some of these photos on my website at a future (not too future) date and I will let you know when they are there to view.

After the show we all climbed up to the stage using the step-stool of Kenny's monitor behind his drum kit. All the performers were still in line to meet Mr. and Mrs. Obama and we joined them. Garth Brooks was at the end of the line signing autographs for people. Lou Marini and I made sure that Rob, who was giving way to other folks, was rightfully thrust forward and introduced to the President-elect who remarked on what a good job we all had done. I also shook Barack Obama's hand.

He congratulated the crew members on their hard work and how they had kept things running smoothly, "Especially", he joked, "when Biden went to the wrong podium!" Michelle was a few steps behind him but now she was whisked away by her husband.

Now, as many of you know, Shane Fontayne is on the one hand my real name, but my even more real name is Michael Barakan, which is a pretty close combo of Michelle and Barack I would say!

I have detailed some of the bits and pieces of these few days. I can only say that the answer to my original question, "Why me?" has been answered for me in so many different ways - from the love of each of the wonderful musicians and personnel with whom I shared time and space - the communal joy of each person out there on the Mall - to the always supportive love of my family and a deeper recognition of things tangible and intangible within me.

I have worked with Rob Mathes on three different events - and at those three events I have encountered three different U.S. Presidents! Bill Clinton at MusiCares in '03, George W. at the Kennedy Center a month and a half ago, and now President Obama. The British may do pomp and circumstance well, but this day at the Lincoln Memorial was as majestic as anything I could imagine - perfectly American, and once again - thankfully - we have the opportunity to feel proud of the best of all that that is.

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1   Shane and Keith Robinson.JPG
Shane and Keith Robinson

2   Rehearsing at Fort Myer Army Base.JPG
Rehearsing at Fort Myer Army Base
Shane and Keith Robinson rehearsing
Shane and Keith Robinson rehearsing
Guitarists with cold hands
Guitarists with cold hands
Listening to Stevie
Listening to Stevie
Rehearsing with Stevie Wonder in the tent
Rehearsing with Stevie Wonder in the tent
More Stevie
More Stevie
Shakira with Stevie
Shakira with Stevie
Jon Bon Jovi and Bettye LaVette
Jon Bon Jovi and Bettye LaVette
Will I Am, Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock
Will I Am, Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
James Taylor and Rob Mathes James Taylor and Rob Mathes
Shane and Keith. Me with hands in a handwarmer!
Shane and Keith. Me with hands in a handwarmer!
Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
The Mall - what a sight!
The Mall - what a sight!
The first and second couple's
The first and second couple's
Onstage near showtime
Onstage near showtime
Shane and Keith - shirts, ties, credentials
Shane and Keith - shirts, ties, credentials
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
The ensemble - band, horns, singers
The ensemble - band, horns, singers
The Edge and Bono
The Edge and Bono


Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen
Shakira, Bono and Renee Fleming
Shakira, Bono and Renee Fleming
Barack smiling
Barack smiling
Barack with secret service
Barack with secret service
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama



12.28.08 Kennedy Center Honors.....(newsletter)
A few weeks ago, at the beginning of December, I had the immense pleasure and honor of performing at the Kennedy Center Honors show in a segment that paid tribute to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who. It has proved to be one the singular highlights of my career thus far.

The whole experience really appeared as a gift, beginning with the invitation from Rob Mathes (musical director, arranger and performer on guitar and piano). Rob, being a gentle man and I suspect a genius, set the tone for the quite wonderful world I entered at his behest.

I flew with my girlfriend Maria, first class, to Washington D.C. That's always a good beginning! Flying West to East in this vast country often necessitates the day of travel to be just that. So we started rehearsals the following day - Friday, December 5th. We convened in a rehearsal room at the Kennedy Center, one floor up from the stage.

With Kenny Aronoff (drums), Zev Katz (bass), Michael Beardon (keyboards), Tabitha Fair and Cindy Mizelle (vocals) and Rob, I began running down the selected Who songs which the star performers would be singing. The singers who were scheduled for after dinner on this day were:
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave, singing Won't Get Fooled Again
Bettye LaVette singing Love Reign O'er Me
Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foofighters, singing Who Are You

The other two performers who would arrive on Saturday were:
Joss Stone singing My Generation
Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty singing Baba O'Riley

Rehearsals were as much fun and relaxed as they were intense and passionate, and the innate power of this wonderful music was immediately unleashed. I took it upon myself to uphold the guitar playing mantle of Pete Townshend's enormous contribution to this music. He was of course almost exclusively the composer of the Who's material, and an iconic guitar player in addition. I was well aware that I would be performing in the company of the honorees and while I didn't want to feel any self-imposed pressure, it ups the ante and was in my consciousness.

But the music seemed to play itself. In a situation like this, one can prepare by familiarizing oneself as much as possible with the material, but there is so much that happens at the last moment. Apart from this tribute, Rob was also responsible for the tribute to George Jones, being in contact with all the singers on both tributes, finding out how they wanted to perform the songs, what keys they would sing them in and liaising with them on arrangements. Most of this occurs during the three weeks prior to the event.

Because Townshend created these songs, they are naturally primarily guitar based in their creation. That lends a song a specific sound in many cases, reflecting the key that the song was written in, and the position that sounds "right" for it to be played on the guitar. One concern of mine while learning the material was the choice of keys and was wondering what would happen if I needed to find an alternative way of playing something which had such a defined signature sound.

It was hard to imagine Won't Get Fooled Again or Who Are You being played in a different "position" on the guitar. If the key of either one was higher by a semitone or two it would be possible for me to use a capo, which can be like an additional finger at times. If the key was lowered, I would have to decide if I was going to tune my guitar lower to accommodate the change.

It transpired that all three of these songs would be performed in their original keys, and that Love Reign O'er Me would be rendered as a torch Gospel performance by the wonderful Bettye LaVette. The other two songs would stick closer to the original in the way we would play them.

Each singer was scheduled for about 30-45 minutes of rehearsal time on this night. Chris Cornell was the first to arrive - a tall, dark and very handsome man who has a gentle intensity about him. I had brought my Gretsch RocJet guitar with me. I had tried various guitars of mine in preparation for the trip and this one, a beautiful black instrument similar in appearance to a Gibson Les Paul, seemed to be the most appropriate for the occasion.

Chris told me that he also has a RocJet. They are not common guitars and it was a point of contact between us. He had used one on the demo of Black Hole Sun, the massive Soundgarden hit. He spoke of the recording of the demo which he said was very similar to the released version, other than that it was very lo-fi and that the drums on the demo sounded awful because he had played them!

With each singer, Rob would first verbally run down the arrangement and any changes he was considering - maybe because of time constraints - before trying the song. We ran through Won't Get Fooled Again with Chris two or three times and his whole delivery was as effortless as it was powerful. This is a man whose physique very much mirrors the beauty and strength of his voice.

I had not heard of Bettye LaVette until a couple of months ago. I found some video of her on YouTube and I thought, "She looks and sounds like a cross between Ella and Aretha." It turns out that Bettye was on the early Motown scene. I was very much looking forward to meeting her after hearing her sing, and I watched as the mouths of the production people in the rehearsal room opened in awe at the way that she sang this song, with Rob's gorgeous piano accompaniment and harmonic rearrangement for support.

She was happy, as was her husband Kevin, and before departing she thanked and kissed everyone on the "stage" including the monitor engineer! How beautiful is that?!

During the break after Bettye left, Dave Grohl's guitar tech, B.B., set up Dave's amplifier and tuned his quite signature Gibson Trini Lopez-styled guitar. Dave is as friendly as can be, energized in a very youthful way, ready to tell a joke, and wore a very warm and embracing smile. His easy-going demeanor perfectly matched the totally full-on aspect of the impassioned delivery in his voice and on his guitar.

Dave consulted me on how I was playing parts of Who Are You, and when he asked me how to play the single note line that the piano and guitar play in the more ethereal bridge section of the song, he just laughed and gave a hands-off look to me saying in essence, "I'll leave that one to you!"

Our equipment, amplifiers, keyboards, drums, spare guitars were all rented from a company out of Philadelphia, Centerstaging, who also supplied two wonderful young men to take care of us, Matt and Chris. When I had asked about available amplifiers, I had been told that Centerstaging only had one of what I wanted. I replied that one was all I needed, but I was then made aware that we would be splitting our time between the rehearsal room and the stage and would require two independent set-ups.

Saturday began for Maria and me with a subway ride to the Capitol. We wanted to see the site where the inauguration will take place and we were able to watch as that "stage" was being built - the bleachers on one side were finished and they were working on constructing the other side atop the Capitol steps. It was inspiring to be there at this most historic time. From there, via a brief trip to the botanical gardens which are just adjacent, we walked down the Mall towards the Washington Monument and on to the White House, where we paused for a few moments prior to returning to the hotel in time for me to be picked up for that day's work.

Our work day started with a rehearsal of My Generation with Joss Stone. Zev, Kenny and Rob had been rehearsing the George Jones set in the morning and Randy Travis and Shelby Lynne had been on hand for those rehearsals.

Joss is a twenty one year old, six foot-plus tall Englishwoman with a gravelly, soul-powered voice. This was probably the hardest song to deliver, because of its place in rock history. How can one do this song justice without sounding like a cover band? Ultimately, you listen to the singer and go for it. The song has several built-in key changes - modulations - and Rob had figured out how he wanted to address those. Joss was relaxed and playful and with repetition, we played it more confidently.

We then moved to the stage - the Opera House at the Kennedy Center. Various people were used as stand-ins for the performers and also for the honorees as everything was being prepared for television. The honorees along with the President and Vice President are seated in the first row of the balcony and various names were on seats in the orchestra section - Clint Eastwood and Quincy Jones were a couple I noticed on the aisles.

We rehearsed with each of the performers and for the first time with Rob Thomas. We actually never rehearsed with Rob in the rehearsal room - only on the stage. His song, Baba O'Riley was scheduled to close the segment. After 9/11, The Who played a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden where members of the police and fire departments of New York had participated onstage as a way of honoring them and they were again invited to appear here, during Baba O'Riley, flanked behind us towards the end of the song.

Sunday's schedule was for a full dress rehearsal and then the show that night. This was going to be my last opportunity on this trip to do any sightseeing and since I had some down time after our run-through, because of the George Jones tribute rehearsals, I walked with Maria by the Potomac right behind the Kennedy Center to the Lincoln Memorial where one has a lovely view of the two mile stretch towards the Monument and the Capitol. After walking past the Vietnam Memorial I returned to the venue to make sure my gear was reset as I wanted, in readiness for the show.

Some of the George Jones performers only rehearsed for the first time with the band on Sunday afternoon and it was an extra workload for those musicians. Garth Brooks was particularly friendly to everyone he encountered and also seemed to be a joy to work with.

I asked Rob Mathes if one typically was able to meet the honorees and he said that sometimes it happened, but it wasn't typical. The show was to be followed by a Gala dinner and dance in the foyer of the Opera House.

The Townshend/Daltrey tribute was scheduled to close the first half of the show, which was set to begin with a tribute to Morgan Freeman and then a tribute honoring Twyla Tharp. We would be on next and then after intermission tributes to George Jones and Barbra Streisand would close out the performance.

During our dress rehearsal I had heard Michael Stevens, co-producer of the show with his father George Stevens, playfully exclaim from the audience, "SHANE -WINDMILL!" in reference to Townshend's signature arm movement. I had resisted all thought of doing that up to now, but decided I might have to give it a go - and so I did some last minute practicing/posing in my hotel room!

And so we were almost at showtime. The audience had taken their seats and we were now waiting for the President to enter, which would signal that the show could commence. I was watching from a TV monitor at the side of the stage. One of the crew guys - and they were all so extremely kind - moved the TV so I could see it better. I said, "You don't have to do that" and he replied by telling me that he and his co-workers were all practicing moving the way I move onstage and he gave me a smile and a shimmy!

I was as nervous as I have been in I don't know how long as we stood on our stage ready to be wheeled into place as a video introduction was playing on a large screen, detailing for the audience The Who's career. "Three minutes"....tinker tinker....adjust my tuning one last time......"two minutes"......adjust my tuning another last time....."one minute!".....make sure my zipper is zippered - adrenaline was definitely pumping....."twenty seconds!".....take a deep breath....and then the curtains open and we are playing an intro to Pinball Wizard as the names of the musicians are announced and then Joss Stone is on for My Generation. I'm dressed in a pinstriped dark suit and white shirt and we're playing, rocking, listening and responding.

I don't know when I first looked out into the audience and up into the balcony, but I'm onstage and looking up at Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Morgan Freeman, Twyla Tharp, George Jones, George and Laura Bush, and Dick and Liz Cheney. This is not a typical gig!

Chris Cornell is next, followed by Bettye LaVette, Dave Grohl and Rob Thomas. The band is sounding great and each of the singers receives an equally rousing welcome and congratulatory applause from an enthusiastic audience and each of them sounds marvelous. Roger and Pete have a visibly moving response to Bettye's soulful rendition of their song and Dave Grohl ends Who Are You with a signature Townshend leap into the air which was just preceded with my one and only windmill! Townshend crosses his arms over his chest and extends them towards the stage.

The audience responds with great appreciation as the folks from New York's fire and police departments take their positions as Rob Thomas sings, "Teenage wasteland...they're all WASTED!"

The curtain comes down and it's intermission. I'm soaked! After a while I'm in the green room, a "pipe-and-drape" construction at the back of the stage where there are TV monitors and I watch George Jones's tribute set as Jack Black, Quincy Jones and Clint Eastwood chat. Jack had introduced our segment and he is complimentary and kind. Caroline Kennedy is seated on a couch and Glenn Close is practicing an introduction she will give. I walk back in to the stage area through security at the same time as Dave Grohl who tells me that he has been around various dancers and that I'm the best dancer he has ever seen!

After the show finished I made my way to the lobby area to find Maria and our table for the Gala dinner. The tables are numbered and though I'm instructed to go in one direction, I notice that the numbers are going in the opposite direction and so I reverse course. I see Rob Mathes and Michael Stevens enter and Rob just says, "Follow me." I thought he was leading me to my table as we made our way through the crowd, but I look up and I see Pete Townshend, to whom I am introduced. He asked me if I had had a good time, as did Roger Daltrey when I am introduced to him too. Little do they know that I was playing Substitute on my guitar in my bedroom in London when I was eleven or twelve years old.

They were mobbed and I was so glad to at least make a point of contact. I found our table and my bandmates and Maria. In between courses the two of us ventured through the hall and we came upon the performers who were seated close by each other. I had connected with Joss Stone after the set in the green room and now I was able to talk briefly with Chris Cornell who had been so kind and supportive throughout the weekend.

I wanted to say goodbye to Dave Grohl and we chatted for a few moments. He had his arms around the two of us telling us of his experience being introduced to the President at the White House earlier that day and the protocol surrounding the introduction, when Bettye LaVette made her way to where we were, telling me how she had been so moved by the solo I played during her song and how it had spurred her on for the final chorus. She hugged me and was so thankful - as was I. When Bettye departed, Dave picked up and finished telling us about his Presidential introduction.

As we walked back to our table I passed Newt Gingrich who looked like he recognized ME! I laugh! This is all so wonderfully weird and magical.

Back at the hotel I had the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone in the band, musicians for both The Who and George Jones and at about 2a.m. we turned out the light prior to our 5:15a.m. lobby call for our flight home.

Of so many wonderful experiences in thirty five years of being a professional musician, this was one of the most honored and humbling events I have been a part of. I have been flying high ever since the show on December 7th.

One never knows how these things translate onto television. They usually appear "less so" than the experience was in person. When Bettye spoke to me after the show, she was in part explaining how she had been told that the TV folks were planning on cutting the guitar solo from the song, because of the need to edit the show and how she had pleaded with them to cut some other part of the song. Regardless, I will always treasure this magnificent experience, as I don't know if anyone ultimately felt more honored on this night of Honorees and than I did.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all. May we all inaugurate a wonderful new beginning in 2009.

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white house
Shane staying warm in front of White House
A Fontayne, a Fonteyn and a Nureyev. Kennedy Center hallway
Kennedy Center rehearsals. Producer Michael Stevens standing in foreground












































































































L to R: Jordyn Blum (Dave Grohl's wife), Bettye LaVette, Dave Grohl, Shane, Maria



10.31.08 Kennedy Center Honors,, YouTube....(newsletter)
Music can provide a profound solace for anyone at any time, and the summer that has passed has been filled with a lot of good music for me, and I have a few things I'd like to share with you now.

I have been invited to participate in the Kennedy Center Honors awards show, in a segment honoring Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who. They, along with Barbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, Morgan Freeman and George Jones are this year's honorees.

The performance is scheduled for Sunday, December 7th and will be televised in December on CBS as a two hour special that typically airs two to three weeks after the event. In the past it has aired between Christmas and New Year.

Rob Mathes, who invited me in 2003 to be part of the band honoring Bono at MusiCares, is once again the musical director for the event, and is also the one who asked me to play on this special evening. (You can read about my MusiCares experience here and scroll down to 2.21.03)

I've got to say, this sounds like something wonderful to be a part of! I was a big fan of The Who in the early days and seeing a recent performance on television confirms for me that Pete Townshend still has every bit the quintessential rock'n'roll attitude and aura. He is as thrilling and vital to watch and listen to as he was forty years ago. His style is still completely authentic and unpretentious and as exciting and original as anyone out there playing today. His "Hope I die before I get old" lyric still holds up. Old is not necessarily based on chronology - not with his kind of vitality. And Roger Daltrey still sings wonderfully too. Maybe the two of them should do something with Paul and Ringo......

I am being featured in a rather in-depth interview on On the home page there's a link to the Spotlight interview and mine will be posted next week, the week of November 3rd, and will run for most of the month of November. I had a lot of fun doing it and thanks to Billy Penn for putting it together. Along with my responses to his questions, there will be some photos of me - and my gear!

Over the course of the summer I have seen some of you at Marc Cohn's shows. We visited some areas that in my ten year tenure we had rarely played. We played close to Memphis in Bartlett, TN - so we were actually Walking In Bartlett - and we had a particularly memorable show at Tipitina's in New Orleans in front of a very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and responsive crowd. It was meaningful to everyone in the room when we played songs from Marc's CD Join The Parade - songs that were written soon after he was shot and at the time of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

To perform those songs for some of the people who lived through that life-changing experience conjured a tangible spirit that filled the room. It felt as though we were being physically lifted up and transported on a gravity-defying journey. There were so many wonderful shows with Marc over the last year and we expect to be back out there next Spring.

In the last few months I have also played a few shows with a couple of old friends whose guitarists were temporarily unavailable. First with John Waite - a trip to Trinidad and then a show on the beach in Santa Cruz in the Bay Area, and then two shows with Chris Botti in Indiana. Two more different musical situations would be hard to imagine! But I loved playing with them both. My relationships with both John and Chris go back to the mid-nineties.

With John there is all the shared, mutual Englishness that we grew up with and all the ensuing mirth and hilarity as we invariably revisit our youth. We rocked hard and loud and the girls still love him!

With Chris, I was also in the company of his incredible band: Billy Childs (keyboards), Greg Hutchinson (drums) and Tim Lefebvre (bass) with Sy Smith on vocals and guest Lucia Micarelli (violin) from Josh Groban's band. They all made it so seamless for me to slip into Chris's beautiful music. Thanks also to Jeremy Plotnikoff, Chris's tour manager and Mickey Beck (sound engineer). And the girls still love Chris too!

A couple of nostalgic videos have posted on YouTube.

The first is a Johnny Average Band video from 1980. It was Johnny Average and The Falcons, a Woodstock based fifties rock'n'roll band that gave birth to Shane Fontayne in the late seventies. We all donned different personnas, leather jackets and Brylcreem - I can still smell it - and we became the local party band. The Falcons, led by Johnny - born Mick Hodgkinson from the Midlands in England - soon after became the Johnny Average Band - playing original, often reggae-based songs. The song in the video, Public Image, couldn't be more eighties however!

The female singer is Nicole Wills (aka Patti Cakes - her Falcon name) and Johnny's wife at that time. There's a brief shot at the beginning of the late Wells Kelly on drums, a great drummer and an original member of Orleans. Frank Campbell is on bass and Tom Nicholson on keyboards.

Second is a video of a Classic Rock Award given posthumously to Mick Ronson, with whom I played briefly but very meaningfully from late 1976-1977, and again on and off over the next few years. Mick was David Bowie's guitarist and foil at the pinnacle of his initial ascendency in the glam-seventies era.

The award is presented to his wife Suzy and daughter Lisa by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and Ian Hunter, the leader of Mott the Hoople. There is some footage of Mick that so dearly demonstrates the beautiful man who truly befriended and championed me. Suzy is working on a full-length documentary about Mick, who is a legitimate and deserving icon for so many current younger musicians.

As a child growing up in England, it was considered wholly inappropriate to ask anyone for whom they would vote and up to a point, even to discuss it. But I will be voting for the only viable option for me - Barack Obama. The first time I heard him speak, and the first time that I had heard of him period, way before any discussion of the Presidency, I was immediately struck with the sense, "This man could be the one". It was an instantaneous, visceral response to the essence that I gleaned over the airwaves in those few moments.

That there could be someone who might restore sanity and bring true, measured leadership - leading with intelligence and grace - seemed too implausible to a cynical mind. But hope is such a tangible commodity - as tangible and invisible as air.

As a baseball and soccer fan I often read of the managerial skills of those coaches who can lead and inspire a group to perform up to their highest individual potential while accomplishing the common mutual goal. It's often spoken how important self-confidence is to successful accomplishment, and when that confidence wanes during a tough stretch, how the manager's equilibrium will bolster and cushion, nudge and cajole, use whatever means that are appropriate for that individual to help them help themselves to succeed once again.

I believe that Obama has those kinds of qualities and that he can be a real leader and statesman with the capability to restore not only the nation's self-respect but also the respect of the world. Bring on the intellect! The world is ready!

Meanwhile Happy Halloween and my sincere best wishes for abundant success and happiness for everyone, however you may vote and whatever you may believe

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Chris Botti
Rob Mathes conducting



3.6.08 Shane at Kulak's Woodshed & other news....(newsletter) 

A lot of time has passed since I last put fingers to keyboard and sent out a newsletter. Since last Fall thru the middle of February, I was traveling on the road with Marc Cohn and playing some of the best shows I have ever been a part of, with our other band members and crew.

But first I want to mention an upcoming evening at Kulak’s Woodshed which I will be hosting.

Friday, March 21st from 8pm – 10pm. It is Good Friday this year. The Woodshed is located at 5230 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91607. As always, the show is webcast live and viewers can email questions and comments in real time. No cover charge at the door, though we pass the bucket as the venue sustains its operations purely on donations.

Also performing will be, Anny Celsi and Shane Barakan. As many of you know, Shane Barakan is my son, and I am delighted that he will play some of his wonderful songs on this night. He continues to be remarkably prolific and his development is tangible. Also, check out his Facebook page.

Anny Celsi is an artist that I was introduced to by a mutual friend, Marvin Etzioni. An original member of Lone Justice, Marvin is also an artist, songwriter and record producer. I hadn’t been in touch with Anny for a while and then she contacted me last week with a lovely piece of news pertaining to myself.

She wrote that one of her day gigs is producing radio shows for Delta Air Lines. She has put my song, Marlene, into a show called Coffee Break that will be airing on Delta during March and April. Marlene is in a mix that she has put together that also includes songs by Donovan, Madelyne Peyroux, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Paul Simon and Diana Krall. It is thrilling for me and I am so grateful to her. I may have to book myself a flight to get the full experience!

Coupled with the fact that she will also be accompanied by her son Ivan, I am happy that she can come and perform some songs at the ‘Shed.

Come and join us, in person – or virtually, if you can, on this very Good Friday. I hope to perform and debut some new material. Since I have been home from the road I have been concentrating on writing, trying to finish various songs that have been incubating over time. We’ll see what I’ll feel comfortable doing! My friends Jon Ossman and Stevie Gurr are planning on joining us also.

Jon has been on the road playing bass with Marc Cohn, so we've seen a lot of each other recently. He is such a consummate player and soul, who brings a beautiful spirit and tone to whatever instrument or style he plays. Stevie, like Jon, is one of the great "listeners" - it's in the art of listening while performing that musicians communicate and contribute their finest moments - and Stevie is a fantastic guitarist, harmonica player and interjector of the not-so-obvious! Jon too, for that matter!

Back to the shows I played with Marc during last Fall and this Winter. From the Midwest to the East in November, then the West Coast and Southwest in December and then the South and back to the East in January and February, I have been aware that the level of performance we have achieved has consistently been reflected in the responses of the audiences for whom we have played – the kind of response that has often been deep, soulful and guttural, where you realize that you have connected in all the ways you could possibly hope for.

Through the years with Marc, people have often expressed their deep level of appreciation for the shows we’ve done, whether as a duo or as a band. I have been performing with him for ten years now and all these recent performances have taken the experience to a new level – one where he himself is feeling more satisfaction and realization than ever before from live performances. The give and take, or give and give, on both sides of the stage, becomes a much larger wave of experience for all.

Over the past few months we have performed songs from Marc’s album, Join The Parade, on Good Morning America, Ellen, The View and the Today Show.

Our next shows at the moment are scheduled for this Summer and they will continue to be a balm for the soul, I have no doubt. Marc's upcoming shows can be found here.

So what else is going on? It certainly feels like a pivotal time in America. Elections, gasoline prices and economic uncertainty doubtless affect us all. I enjoy watching Bill Moyer’s Journal, which can also be viewed on the internet. I wish for a better televised news source of what’s truly going on in the world than what domestic network or cable TV generally provides, and Bill Moyers presents information for which I am grateful.

60 Minutes also did a piece this past week on a marvelous entity called Remote Area Medical that has been providing free healthcare where and when they can.

Evidently more and more people in this country are in more and more need of something greater than they have become used to experiencing.

I look forward to seeing you, sooner – or later. Spring is springing and I wish for the warmth of the approaching season to breathe renewed life, happiness and prosperity for all.

Until next time, salut!

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Chris Botti


Chris Botti


7.28.07 Chris Botti show and recording session
Shane recently played a show with old friend, trumpeter Chris Botti in Victoria, B.C. The venue was the Royal Theatre on June 25th, 2007.

Chris's guitarist Mark Whitfield had a family event to attend and Shane was delighted to be invited. It is Chris that introduced Shane to Sting and over the past decade Shane has performed and recorded many times with Chris.

The show evidently was a great success as Chris's superlative skills as a bandleader were in evidence, constructing a setlist that was significantly different from what his band had previously been playing, maximizing the strengths of the musicians on hand. Shane says,"All that Chris has ever asked of me is to be myself. I always feel like I can fit in when I play with him, because he plays to my strengths. It's an amazing thing."

The show was magnificent, with some beautifully transcendent moments. A couple of days later Shane went into Capitol Studios in Los Angeles to add some guitar on the title track of Chris's forthcoming CD, "Italia", a track which also features Andrea Bocelli and David Foster.

A big thanks to all in Chris's band, Billy Kilson, James Genus, Peter Martin, Sy Smith and Mark Whitfield, and also to Chris's tour manager Jeremy Plotnikoff, his soundman Mickey Beck and his record producer Bobby Colomby, all of whom contributed to what Shane describes as "a sort of homecoming".

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Chris Botti
Chris Botti
photo courtesy of



7.28.07 Shane to perform with Harry Shearer at L.A. House of Blues
CJ Vanston, with whom Shane worked on Joe Cocker's "Heart & Soul" CD which CJ produced, has invited him to play with Harry Shearer at the House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles on August 8th.
It is an 8p.m. show and tickets are $20. "Special Guests" are also advertised.

Harry, being a voice of “The Simpsons”, host of "Le Show" on NPR radio and most reverently for musicians, Derek Smalls, the moustachioed, pipe smoking bass player from Spinal Tap, has released a CD, "Songs - Pointed & Pointless". He is a hilarious satirist, and this is one of those opportunities that Shane says, "I am slightly gleeful to be a part of!"

CJ, keyboardist, songwriter and record producer, was nominated for a Grammy for his work on "A Mighty Wind", the post-Spinal Tap folk music spinoff. Each song on Harry’s CD is a pastiche of a different musical genre, with a pointed (or pointless), usually political lyric. This will be a unique event.

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CJ Vanston
Harry Shearer #1
Harry Shearer
photo courtesy

Harry Shearer
as Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap


1.16.07 February/March shows with Marc Cohn
It is now nine years that Shane has performed with Marc Cohn. And yes, it has been that long since Marc's last studio record. But some things take time - and with a new record in the can, and due for a 2007 release, Shane and Marc are heading out on the road for a couple of different groupings of Winter shows.

First off, it's an early February return to Colorado, for the first time since Marc's shooting in August 2005. There will be three shows in Colorado, one in Park City, Utah. Then at the beginning of March, almost two weeks on the East Coast, featuring a performance at Zankel Hall, part of Carnegie Hall in New York City.

When Shane first met Marc in January 1998, the plan was to tour behind his then newly released CD, Burning The Daze, as a duo. They have often toured in this fashion over the years. At other times, Jay Bellerose and Jennifer Condos have also been part of the band, on drums and bass respectively. Jay and Jen have been busy since the recording of the basic tracks for Marc's forthcoming CD, back in the Spring of 2006, and so Marc and Shane have been going back to "the way we were".

All the upcoming shows can be viewed here.

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from L to R: Shane, Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos, Marc Cohn
Photo: copyright 2005 Tom Dube

from L to R: Shane, Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos, Marc Cohn
Photo: copyright 2005 Tom Dube

5.17.06 Upcoming Cohn shows, Cohn recording sessions
Shane will perform a handful of East Coast shows this summer with Marc Cohn. From Virginia to New York, for a span of ten days in late July, Shane will accompany Marc, as he has since 1998. Details here.

It’s hard to believe that Marc has not been in the studio during the last eight years, but that recently changed when he, Shane, Jay Bellerose and Jennifer Condos commenced work on a new album at L.A.’s Sunset Sound, Studio 2, with producer/guitarist Charlie Sexton.

Over the course of two weeks, much work was done towards completion of the first studio CD for Marc since 1998’s Burning The Daze.

Also accompanying the musicians on various days were:
legendary drummer Jim Keltner (John Lennon/ George Harrison/ Ry Cooder/ Little Village and so many more)
keyboardist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
keyboardist Patrick Warren (one of L.A.’s top session men)
engineer Jim Scott  (Sting, Tom Petty, Robbie Robertson, Red Hot Chili Peppers)

It was a wonderful assemblage of talent that should produce equally wonderful results. 

When one embarks on a new album, there is a lot of faith involved - particularly at the outset, as one is finding out what is going to define the sound of the recording. The songs and the musicians - the interplay between the musicians as they interpret the songs - the waiting - the playing - the adapting to circumstance. All of this is part of the process. Marc came in open-minded from the outset, ready to expect the best and at the same time open to the unexpected. 

As you can see, another part of the process is in the eating!

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Marc Cohn and Charlie Sexton in the control room at Sunset Sound
Jim Keltner and Jennifer Condos - between takes
It's the cake that counts! Thank you, Marc.

3.18.06 KCRW upcoming airplay
Two new tracks are scheduled to be played on Chris Douridas's online radio show New Ground Monday, March 27th. They will be played in the second hour, between 1-2 p.m. PST at .

KCRW's new internet programming launches Monday, March 20th. New Ground will air new shows over the internet, Monday-Friday from noon-2 p.m. PST. It retains its traditional Saturday slot on the radio between the same hours.

The influential Santa Monica, CA based NPR radio station is known for bringing new music to the airwaves. They were strong supporters of What Nature Intended , and recently both Chris and Nic Harcourt have played some new Shane demos. Nic's show Morning Becomes Eclectic airs each day over the conventional airwaves from 9 a.m.-noon PST.

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2.19.06 Live video of new song
Check out the Just Added video from L.A. 's coziest venue - Kulak's Woodshed. Many thanks to Paul Kulak for making this video clip available to us. It features a recently composed song, Raised On 45's, and is performed by Shane with friends Freebo on bass and Mark Goldenberg on guitar.

Freebo is the legendary bass player from Bonnie Raitt's early and great visceral period in the 70's and 80's - now out forging his own name as a songwriter and performer. Mark is the remarkable guitarist who has accompanied Jackson Browne for many years now. He also has his own beautiful solo guitar based music.

Neither of them had heard the song before. It's all part of the beauty of Kulak's Woodshed. There's always a live webcast - - and as you can see, the quality of the multi camera broadcast is top notch.

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Live Video:Raised On 45's
(Click on image to play)

2.19.06 Upcoming shows, including "Father & Son" webcast

Friday March 10th, If you're by your computer you can sample the double dip delight of father and son - two men named Shane - as Shane (the elder) hosts a father/son evening at Kulak's Woodshed. 8-10 Pacific.

Kulak's Woodshed, 5230 Laurel Cyn. Blvd., North Hollywood , CA 91607

No cover – donations are vital to sustaining the venue, however.

Three consecutive Tuesday nights: February 21, February 28 and March 7 Shane is also joining Freebo, Mark Goldenberg, Steve Postell and David McKelvy at Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, 5257 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016


8-11p.m. (except Feb. 28: 7:30-9p.m.)

Friday, February 24 - Recently Steve Postell asked Shane to join him at the new lounge venue, Lot 1224, at the Loews Beverly Hills hotel. They had a great time and will do it again Friday, February 24. 9-11p.m.

Loews Beverly Hills Hotel, 1224 S. Beverwil Drive,
Beverly Hills, CA 90035


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Shane Barakan and Shane Fontayne

2.19.06 Updating Shane's world, circa early 2006

The early weeks of 2006 have found Shane writing and recording, tapping into fresh inspiration. Imbued with creative impetus, he is experimenting with some new sounds and new equipment.

He just returned from north of the San Francisco area where he reunited with childhood friend and mentor Robin Sylvester, now bass player with Bob Weir's Ratdog, to work on a long-standing project from over thirty years ago. Now that's long-standing! They worked together to review some old live and studio tapes by Byzantium - post high school, years before the dawn of Shane, when he was still professionally Mick Barakan. The plan is to release this material in the future. The two old friends used their modern equipment to sonically enhance the old rustic tapes, while preserving everything about the performances.

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Robin Sylvester
(photo by Butch Worrell)
Ratdog show, 12.10.05
at L.A.'s Wiltern Theater

Byzantium circa 1974
L to R: Mick Barakan (Shane), Robin Lamble, James Rubinstein, Stevie Corduner

11.25.05 End of year shows/Discography update
Shane will be performing solo and with Marc Cohn as 2005 draws to a close. He has once again been invited to perform for the Light of Day organization that benefits Parkinson's Disease and ALS research. This year marks the first show for Light of Day away from New Jersey as Shane will join Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Dave Alvin, Peter Case and others at the House of Blues, Sunset Strip on December 12th at 7p.m.

Marc Cohn will perform for the first time since the shooting incident in August of this year, playing four shows between Christmas and New Year in Chicago, Madison, Green Bay and Minneapolis. Show details are at the Concerts page. Marc and Shane will be joined again by Jay Bellerose (drums) and Jennifer Condos (bass).

Check out Shane's discography which has been updated with some 2005 releases.

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For additional information on the event and its fundraising efforts, click on image to link to website.

Bruce Springsteen: The Collection, Vol. 2: Nebraska/Lucky Town/In Concert.
Bruce Springsteen: The Collection, Vol. 2: Nebraska/Lucky Town/In Concert.

8.17.05 Marc Cohn, Shane on ABC's 20/20.....
This Friday, August 19th 2005, at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, ABC TV's news show 20/20 is doing a segment on the shooting incident that recently occurred where Marc Cohn was shot as he and the band returned to their hotel after a concert in Denver.

Shane has also been interviewed for the show, talking in-depth about his experiences that night, and also his relationship to Marc.

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ABC TV's news show 20/20

8.15.05 Shane account of Cohn shooting.
Shane has written an account of the events surrounding Marc Cohn's shooting in Denver on August 7th, 2005.

read the full story here --->

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Bullet hole in windshield.
Bullet hole in windshield.

8.9.05 Shane thanks you for your support
By now, many of you will have already read about the shooting incident involving Marc Cohn and his tour manager, Tom Dube last Sunday night following the Denver show. Both Shane and drummer Jay Bellerose were also in the van when the attempted carjacking occurred, but neither was physically harmed.

Earlier today Marc Cohn issued this statement:
"I feel lucky to be alive and happy to be heading home to my family. I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to the wonderful emergency room crew at Denver Health Medical Center and the Denver Police. My band and I look forward to putting this behind us and going back to work."

Since Shane is still making his way back home to L.A., we are passing along his heartfelt thanks to those who have sent emails and otherwise communicated their love and support over the past couple of days.

When Shane is able, he'll be communicating directly with all of you via his newsletter. (The remaining shows on this tour leg have been cancelled at this time.  Marc Cohn and his management are hoping to reschedule them at a future time.) 

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Shane Fontayne
(click for larger image)

6.11.05 Marc Cohn & Suzanne Vega summer tour
Shane will be touring once again with Marc Cohn this summer. Marc and Suzanne Vega are touring together as a double-bill in July and August. They performed together earlier this year at Towne Hall in New York and decided to embark on this upcoming cluster of shows from the West Coast, through the Rockies to the Midwest. It starts in Seattle on July 20th and concludes in Marc's hometown of Cleveland on August 14th.

All tour dates are listed here --->>>

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Marc Cohn & Suzanne Vega summer tour
(click for larger image)

6.11.05 En route to Jones Beach
A couple of photos from the final afternoon of Sting's Broken Music tour.
Dominic Miller, Josh Freese and Shane were spared the Friday afternoon traffic on the notoriously congested Long Island Expressway with the ultimate in limousine service on the way to their show at Jones Beach.

Check out the gallery here --->>>

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En route to Jones Beach
(click image for gallery)

6.11.05 Sting on AOL Sessions
View Sting's performance on AOL Sessions. This was taped during the band's stay in New York in May, just prior to the conclusion of the Broken Music Tour. They taped three songs and also did an interview, all of which can be seen here.

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Sting and band
(click for larger image)

4.29.05 Sting to perform on Letterman show
Shane will be performing with Sting on the David Letterman show. The show will be broadcast Friday, May 13th. This will mark Shane's first Letterman performance! It comes on the penultimate day of the Broken Music Tour.

Sting performs at Jones Beach, New York, that night with the final performance at Irving Plaza, New York City, the following night, Saturday, May 14th.

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Late Show with David Letterman

3.29.05 Off to the races! Sting at the Roxy.
Sting, Dominic Miller, Josh Freese and Shane performed at the Roxy in Los Angeles for an invited audience of friends and fans last night, March 28th, 2005.

The band has rehearsed for much of the month of March, both in Italy at Sting's home, and in Los Angeles on a large soundstage.

Now they are poised to head out on the road for six weeks, beginning in San Jose, CA on Friday, April 1st.

The set list at the Roxy was:
Spirits In The Material World
Message In A Bottle
Demolition Man
I Hung My Head
The End Of The Game
Driven To Tears
Invisible Sun
Fields Of Gold
A Day In The Life
Soul Cages
Voices Inside My Head/When The World Is Running Down
She's Too Good For Me
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Every Breath You Take
Next To You
Lithium Sunset

For more details about everything relating to the tour, please visit

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The Roxy

1.18.05 More Sting dates announced
New shows have been announced for Sting's Broken Music tour. So far, dates have been filled throughout the month of April.

The tour's focus is primarily to visit college campuses around the U.S. with a stripped down musical configuration of two guitars, bass and drums. Shane and drummer Josh Freese will join Sting and Dominic Miller in this new ensemble.

All show details can be found here --->>>

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Shane Fontayne
(click for larger image)

1.18.05 What Nature Intended award
The 2004 "CD of the Year Awards" were presented to the "Top-40" winners as chosen by a select panel consisting of associates and staff of the website. These CDs "represented the best submissions received for the previous calendar year in terms of musical quality, production and overall theme." is a popular music promotion and publicity company that has been online since 1999. They were named one of the top-ten places to send your music for exposure by the Indie Bible, and in 2004, were selected in several categories by "The Goods" – a section of which highlighted companies that exceeded the expectation of indie musicians by delivering on their promises and providing "the goods".

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11.29.04 Shane joins Sting on Broken Music tour
Sting has invited Shane to join him on his new Spring tour, Broken Music. The tour will feature a new, stripped down band configuration which will consist of Sting, Dominic Miller (guitar), Josh Freese (drums) and Shane.

The tour will take place primarily on college and university campuses across the United States. Shane was introduced to Sting through his relationship with Chris Botti. Earlier this year he accompanied Chris on his stint opening Sting’s Sacred Love tour. (To read Shane’s tour diary report from that leg, link here.)

The press release on this tour can be found here.

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Broken Music
Sting's autobiography

10.15.04 Performing Songwriter praises WNI
"The album of carefully crafted songs is exuberant and shimmery, with ethereal and trippy production nods to Daniel Lanois."

Out of thousands of independently-released submissions, Performing Songwriter selected What Nature Intended for review in its prestigious DIY section, November 2004 issue.
The publication, available at Borders and Barnes & Noble, goes on to say:

What Nature Indented is a dramatic debut release, a critic's album indeed. Fontayne has been playing guitar since the age of 9 and writing songs since 12. Since his formative years, he has collaborated in one way or another with everyone from the Mamas and the Papas, Lone Justice, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Rod Stewart, Marc Cohn and U2. After years of drawing from some amazing musical experiences, he finds himself where he started, cultivating this solo album in his own voice.

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Performing Songwriter
November 2004

10.12.04 Springsteen's MTV Plugged reissued on DVD
On November 9th, fans of this amazing live concert footage filmed in September 1992, will finally be able to view it in DVD format. You won't want to miss Shane rockin' out with Bruce on many of the high-energy tracks.

Shane tell us, "I think Bruce’s original plan was to do something unplugged but when he realized that the date was upon us and that we had not rehearsed for that configuration, he decided that this one would be the way that we were doing it on a nightly basis – hence, Plugged."

The DVD will feature one additonal song--Roll of the Dice--which was not included on the original VHS release.

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You can order the DVD here.

10.11.04 Joe Cocker's Heart & Soul Euro release
Joe Cocker covers classic rock, pop and R&B tunes in this beautifully crafted Heart & Soul collection released in Europe on September 27th (U.S. release is January 29, 2005). Shane performs on five tracks, including the single--Every Kind Of People.

Shane was invited to participate in this project by producer/keyboardist/composer CJ Vanston and shares the billing along with other guitar greats Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Dean Parks, Steve Lukather and Michael Landau.

You can hear Shane's work on five tracks--What's Going On, Maybe I'm Amazed, I Put A Spell On You (featuring an Eric Clapton solo), Every Kind Of People and Love Don't Live Here Anymore (which also features Chris Botti on trumpet).

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For those in the U.S. who don't wish to wait for the January 2005 release, you can purchase
Heart & Soul via Amazon UK.

9.28.04 Shane slated to perform at LOD fundraiser
Shane will be performing his solo material on Sunday,
November 7th, on the third and final night of the 5th annual Light of Day concert series to benefit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF). The event will be held at the fabled Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ.

For those of you unfamiliar with the event, past annual participants have included Bruce Springsteen and Joe Grushecky. Other acts who have appeared include Michael J. Fox, Gary US Bonds, La Bamba, Max Weinberg, Jesse Malin, Willie Nile, Garland Jeffreys, Dan Bern, Soozie Tyrell and many others.

The concerts will benefit the PDF as well as the Muscular Dystrophy Association for their ALS research efforts.  More than $200,000 has been donated from the concerts so far. 
concert details --->>>

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For additional information on the event and its fundraising efforts, click on image to link to website.

9.21.04 John Waite's The Hard Way releases today
The Hard Way is a terrific new collection of recordings. The song list comprises a delightful selection of tunes old, new, borrowed and blue. Shane is a longtime Waite collaborator having recorded, written and performed on several Waite projects over the years. The Hard Way features Shane on six tracks. Instruments include electric and acoustic guitars and six-string bass. Additionally, Shane has cowritten two tracks--Godhead and Son of Godhead.

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  9.19.04 Shane performs on Chris Botti's new CD
Chris Botti's latest CD, When I Fall In Love, releases on September 28th. This is Chris' seventh solo CD project and one which showcases his trumpet playing skills to an even higher level. Shane's distinctive guitar work can be heard on the first two tracks--When I Fall in Love and What'll I Do.

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Shane (left) with Chris Botti (fourth from right) at When I Fall In Love recording session.
(click for larger image)

9.18.04 November--on tour with Marc Cohn
The month of November has Shane touring with Marc up and down the eastern seaboard and the south. Dates include: Tarrytown, NY; Somerville, MA; West Long Branch, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; Annapolis, MD; Jackson, TN; Atlanta, GA; Greenville, SC, and Charlotte, NC.
concert details --->>>

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  8.10.04 New Richard Marx CD
Richard Marx released his highly-anticipated My Own Best Enemy today. It's a beautifully-crafted collection of ballads and rock tunes which highlight Richard's skills as a songwriter, musician and producer. You can hear Shane's guitar on three tracks--(6) Again, (8) Everything Good and (11) Suspicion.

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Richard Marx
Shane (second from left) with Richard Marx (right) at My Own Best Enemy recording session. (click for larger image)

6.17.04 Shane opens two Marc Cohn shows
Shane will be performing material from his debut solo CD, What Nature Intended in support of Marc Cohn. The opening sets are June 24th, Santa Ana, CA and June 25th in West Hollywood, CA.

concert details --->>>

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  5.10.04 Kulak’s Woodshed performance + webcast
Mark Tuesday, May 25th down on your calendars. Shane will be performing his solo material 8-10pm at Kulak's Woodshed, North Hollywood, CA. For those who can’t make it to LA, the show will be webcast. (You can also email your comments/questions to: and Shane will try to answer them live during the performance.)

concert details --->>>

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5.6.04 Shane shares his Sting tour recollections
Shane details his behind-the-scenes experiences as part of the opening act (Chris Botti) on Sting’s North American Sacred Love tour. From the first phone call to the final performance, Shane shares his personal journey via words and photos.

On tour with Chris Botti and Sting…

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Blue Sting
Sting bathed in blue lights during opening night soundcheck.
(click for larger image)
  2.26.04 St. Patrick's Day at Kulak's Woodshed
Parental advisory! Shane is hosting a special night of familial music, Wed., March 17th from 8-10pm at Kulak's Woodshed, North Hollywood, CA.

He will share the evening and stage with his son, Shane Barakan. The evenings at the Woodshed are finishing earlier than in the past, starting promptly at 8 o' clock. No cover charge, the Woodshed is sustained by donations, so you may have to pay to get out!
concert details --->>>

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Shane and Shane
A St. Patrick's Day father and son performance.
(click for larger image)
  2.25.04 Two more Sting shows!
Shane will now be performing with Chris Botti in two additional Sting tour opening slots—March 5th and 6th NYC shows. Shane will be joining Botti band mates Jon Ossman, Billy Kilson, Federico Pena and Marc Shulman for his final appearances on this tour.

concert details --->>>

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2.22.04 Shane joins Dominic Miller for CD release event
Longtime Sting guitarist Dominic Miller will be holding a CD release show on March 4th at Joe’s Pub in New York City. The event celebrates the U.S. release (March 2nd) of Miller’s classical crossover album, Shapes ,which features an additional track (with Chris Botti on trumpet) that was not on last year’s UK release.

Two lucky fans from Shane’s newsletter list won tickets to the event.

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Shane w/ Dominic Miller
Shane performs intricate classical interpretations with Dominic Miller.
(click for larger image)

1.05.04 Shane to join Sting tour opening act
Shane will be performing with trumpet great Chris Botti in the opening act slot for the first part of Sting's North American (Sacred Love) tour. Shane will be performing with Chris between January 23rd and February 18th. Cities already confirmed during those dates include: Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, San Antonio, Dallas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Oakland. For more tour details visit:

Chris and Shane have been long time recording collaborators, touring partners and friends. Chris was a featured soloist on Sting's most recent Brand New Day tour and has contributed his talent to Sting's last three CDs. For more on Chris, visit: and

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Chris Botti
Trumpeter Chris Botti opens Sting's Sacred Love North American Tour.
(click for larger image)

1.04.04 Tribune-Review names WNI as one of '03's best
Entertainment columnist Regis Behe (Pittsburgh, PA's Tribune-Review newspaper) lists his "highly biased and personal look at some of the best releases of 2003." What Nature Intended is one of 18 releases on Regis' "best" list.

The article also appears on's website. Click here.

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What Nature Intended
What Nature Intended
purchase here

12.23.03 World Café interview and acoustic performance
World Café interview and acoustic performance On Tuesday, December 23rd, 3 p.m. eastern, Shane is the guest artist on the prestigious World Café with David Dye radio program. The hour-long show was taped in mid-October with radio personality Michaela Majoun. The session has Shane discussing his current solo career as well as taking a look backward. (He shares anecdotes about life on the road with bands/artists such as The Mamas and The Papas, Mick Ronson, Lone Justice, Bruce Springsteen, Marc Cohn and more.) The session also features acoustically performed songs from What Nature Intended.

The World Cafe with David Dye can be heard on more than 160 stations nationwide. Fans can find their local station by going to:
or they can listen online Monday to Friday at 3 p.m. EST or 2 a.m. EST by going

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Shane at the World Cafe
A "through the glass" look at Shane taping his World Cafe session on October 16, 2003 in New York City.
(click for larger image)
  12.12.03 Music Connection Top 25 honors
We are pleased to announce that What Nature Intended has been named as one of the Top 25 Demos of the Year by Music Connection. (The magazine puts independent releases in its demo category) The selection was based on the highest scores given this year by Music Connection's Demo Critique Executive Committee.

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Music Connection
  12.12.03 Springsteen fanzine features 12-page Shane article
Springsteen fanzine features 12-page Shane article The new issue (#78, Fall/Winter 2003) of Backstreets, the prestigious magazine for Bruce Springsteen fans, hits streets Christmas week and features a lengthy, well-crafted interview with Shane. The interview focuses on Shane's experiences with Springsteen on the '92-93 touring band along with never before published anecdotes from those years.

Backstreets is issued quarterly and can be purchased at various retail outlets such as Tower Records, or direct from the website for $5.95 (and no shipping charge for the current issue).

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12.05.03 New live CD and online store grand opening
Having received many requests for a live Shane performance CD (coupled with emails for various merchandise items) a domino effect began to ripple through the Shane Fontayne organization. Shane suddenly found himself mixing a live CD and we were building an online store.

We are proud to present, Shane Fontayne's Voodoo at The Mint (available at our own store, no less!). The CD captures what Shane considers to be an important performance in his solo career--his Los Angeles CD release party, held June 11, 2003.

Guests RSVP'd as quickly as the invitations were sent out, quickly selling out the room. If you couldn't join us that night, you'll be able to join the event in spirit through the magic of the live CD. (And there's a never before heard bonus track!!)

For more details on the CD, the performance and the band members (which includes a guest appearance by friend and trumpet great Chris Botti), visit the CD section of the store.

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Voodoo at the Mint
Voodoo at The Mint
purchase here
  11.29.03 Shane on Best Buy's Sweet Tracks
One of the dichotomies of the music business is that most holiday CDs are recorded in the middle of summer. This was no exception. When Chris Botti called Shane and asked him to get into the holiday spirit in August, Shane put new meaning into O Come All Ye Faithful. The compilation CD, called Sweet Tracks, is given away free to members of Reward Zone, Best Buy’s frequent buyer program. The CD also features never before heard holiday tracks from Coldplay, Jewel, Seal and Sting.

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Sweet Tracks
  8.17.03 Listening party at
What Nature Intended was featured for a limited time at the Listening Lounge at In case you haven't heard the entire album yet, you can vist the site to listen to all of the tracks. Purchasing info is on the Music tab of this site.

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  8.17.03 Number 62 with a bullet!
What Nature Intended is moving up the Triple A, non-commercial charts, logging in this week at #62. Chart position and spins (number of times tracks are played) have steadily been moving upward. Shane extends a special thank you to the radio stations and supporters in the local markets.

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8.03.03 Sex and the City!
An instrumental version of Little Napoleons aired on HBO's Sex and the City on Sunday, August 10th. (The full version appears as Track 2 on What Nature Intended.) Approximately 45 seconds of the track accompanied a scene where Carrie tells Charlotte to stop crying and enjoy her wedding.

episode details --->>>

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7.30.03 Tour de Shane (Summer 2003)
Think of Lance Armstrong setting off from Paris on the first of many "stages" of the Tour de France. Okay, now think of Shane setting off from Cleveland, mid-August, on the first stage of his tour. Like Lance he will be driving solo, with a wonderful support team assisting him, from town-to-town and state-to-state.

Shane will be visiting local radio stations where he will play live and be interviewed, playing concerts and performing in-store at local CD retail stores. For eighteen days from Cleveland and back's not bonjour Paris...but, in the immortal words of Spinal Tap, "Hello Cleveland!"

For full details click here.

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7.30.03 Triple A Artist of the Week
As a result of steadily increasing airplay, Shane was featured recently at as their Artist of the Week. In general, the AAA radio format caters to an adult audience--Radiohead to Van Morrison. The current focus for What Nature Intended is the non-commercial side of AAA. The play lists there are more liberal, eclectic and current--less "classic". We are pleased to report that there has been a steady, weekly increase in the number of stations playing the CD, chart position and the number of times songs are being played in a given week (spins).

To view the article, click here.

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6.29.03 New York City CD release show
I am delighted to be playing at New York's fabled Bottom LIne in Greenwich Village on August 21st. I will do two shows, opening for Marshall Crenshaw to formally release What Nature Intended to East Coast industry and media.

After our successful Los Angeles launch at The Mint on June 11, 2003, it is very exciting to go and play New York.

P.S.  If you haven't already done so, please sign up to receive my newsletter.  We will be sending out updates and insider information about this event, other concerts and late breaking information.

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Shane at the Bottom Line
Shane opens for Marshall Crenshaw at the Bottom Line.
(click for larger image)

5.06.03 L.A. CD release party
You are cordially invited to a special concert event--the official West Coast release of Shane's first solo CD, What Nature Intended. The CD release party is being held to help launch What Nature Intended to West Coast music industry insiders and media. The party will be held at:

The Mint
6010 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: 323-954-9630

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4.08.03 New haircut!!
"Shave and a haircut, two bits" was the phrase that accompanied the old "Hand Jive"/Bo Diddley rhythm. Such a deal! New photos of the new "do" can be found on the media page.



3.15.03 Batter up!!
See what some of baseball's greats are saying about Shane's new CD...

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  2.21.03 Special pre-Grammy® tribute honoring Bono
On Feb. 21, 2003, I played guitar at a pre-Grammy® show in New York honoring Bono of U2. The organization MusiCares
was honoring Bono as Person Of The Year. The performers that I accompanied that night were Bono, Edge, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle and B.B. King with Wynonna. It was a marvelous night and a privilege for me to witness.

For full details click here.

[posted 2/21/03]
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Shane w/U2
Shane onstage with U2.
Paris, June 15, 1987.
L to R:
Edge, Shane, Larry Mullen Jr.
(read more about Shane's experiences with U2 here)
  2.17.03 Airplay
For the week of February 2nd, What Nature Intended was listed as #3 most requested CD at KCRW. Four cuts from the CD have been played there over the past three months.

Both Nic Harcourt and Anne Litt have played the opening song Weight Of The World. Nic on both Morning Becomes Eclectic and the nationally syndicated NPR show Sounds Eclectic and Anne on Weekend Becomes Eclectic. Nic and Chris Douridas, have played Little Napoleons, on Morning Becomes Eclectic and New Ground respectively. Nic has also played It’s Only Love and Marlene, the latter on both Morning Becomes Eclectic and Sounds Eclectic.

I am grateful to them and their producers, Ariana Morgenstern and James Combs for supporting the CD.

I also am getting played in Sweden by Kalle Oldby, a DJ for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. He has written a review of the CD describing it as:
"Soaring, muscular and Beatles-inspired. It’s as good as it is unexpected. It is Springtime for REAL musicians, indeed."

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  2.11.03 Serenade with Chris Botti in the desert
On February 8th, I performed with Chris Botti to a sold out crowd of 1,100 at the lovely McCallum Theater, Palm Desert, CA. During the set we performed Serenade and Marlene from my CD.

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Shane in Palm Desert
Shane onstage with Botti.
(click for larger image)

1.21.03 Successful ribbon-cutting!
With drummer Jay Bellerose, bass player Jennifer Condos (both of whom played so wonderfully on the CD) and also my dear friend Jon Ossman, another amazing bass player who is playing guitar with me, we played our first show January 17, 2003 at Abuelita’s in Topanga, CA.

Complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony declaring the band "open", we played to a room filled with friends and supporters, some of whom had flown in specially for the show. We had a wonderful, joyful show. A great inauguration.

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