From Harvard to Homeless Troubadour
“Shawn Snyder’s original acoustic folk-rock is lyric-driven, with an organic simplicity, utmost sincerity, and unmistakable groove” (Beat Magazine, Melbourne, Australia), soulfully blurring the lines between folk, rock, jazz, and blues. Whether treating audiences to an intimate solo-acoustic performance or collaborating with other musicians, his live shows are always impassioned and expressively earnest. Shawn considers among his influences the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Lyle Lovett, Martin Sexton, John Gorka, and Louden Wainwright III.
A relatively recent Harvard graduate (with a degree in Religion and a thesis that explored Calling and Vocation in the Contemporary World), Shawn has opted to make the most out of his diploma, putting his studies to first-hand action by passionately pursuing a career as singer-songwriter. Now twenty-six years old, he has been playing the guitar from the age of five and writing music since he was thirteen. Only in college, however, with the mentorship of seasoned singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor, did Shawn up the ante on his own musical endeavors; bringing his songs beyond bedroom walls and to the receptive ears of others in coffee shops, on the street, at music festivals, and in clubs across the country (and around the world).
After graduating, Shawn spent 2004 in California’s Bay Area playing West Coast gigs with his mix and match crew of incredibly talented musicians (including mythic drummer Dave Krusen of Pearl Jam “Ten” fame). His growing American fan base now straddles both U.S. coasts; he’s played stages in San Francisco and Los Angeles’ hottest singer-songwriter spots (including Gary Jules’ Hotel Café in the heart of Hollywood), New York and Boston’s legendary acoustic venues (most notably, The Bitter End and Club Passim), and a multiplying multitude of rooms up, down, and in between.
With more than a touch of wanderlust, Shawn kicked off 2005 in solo-acoustic troubadour mode, taking his music international and down-under. Setting up gypsy-style shop in music-loving Melbourne, he took the scene by storm, managing to “win over the Aussie ear (blank-slate, grass-roots, ground-up fashion) with his distinctive, heartfelt, and homegrown style” (Beat Magazine). In only five months, Shawn obtained quality street press and national radio-play; not to mention booking and playing over thirty shows in some of the city’s most respected venues (including monthly appearances at the renowned Manchester Lane, where Rufus Wainwright also performed during his 2005 Australian tour).
During the latter half of the same year, Shawn returned to his hometown South Florida for a longer-than-usual stay and rapidly immersed in the local musical subculture. Playing an average of three shows a week to always-growing audiences, his name, music, and hair fast become recognizable staples in the scene, and he was acknowledged by CityLink Magazine as South Florida’s “hardest-working solo-artist.”
This uncharacteristically stationary year allowed for the release of his debut solo-album, Dog Eared Pages, and multiple mini-tours were launched in support.
The road proved far too tempting, however, and the nomadic instinct passionately persistent. In August 2006, Shawn took off in his Hyundai Elantra for what’s been more than a year of cross-country coastal pinballing. Over 40,000 Miles to Date. 120 Plus shows. 50 Some Odd Cities. And More Than 25 States.
During this time, via HomeTown PitStops, he also managed to record and release his latest album, Romantic’s Requiem. A nine month collaboration with friend and producer George Zhen, this follow up to 2006’s “DogEaredPages” promises to surprise those only familiar with Shawn Snyder’s solo-acoustic work to date. With nine other musicians weaving their way through its thirteen tracks, “Romantic’s Requiem” is a multicolored concept album of sorts. A patchwork look at love and disillusionment from a variety of snapshot angles, on a winding road through varied musical landscapes. Digging from seven some odd years of songwriting, its tracks prove sometimes humorous, always nostalgic, occasionally painful, and perhaps poignant.
One thing remains consistent in his art. Whether mining the internal world of love, heartache, and soulful striving, or playing storytelling curator to his eavesdropping on the world at large, his observations are always colored with his unique perspective: an affirmation of life, hope, and beauty in the face of sadness and struggle.
And one thing remains consistent in his life. Shawn has never notbeen driven by The Call. He revels in the unraveling of his own story, and though his seemingly irrational path (From Harvard to Homeless Troubadour) might confound others, it is soundly sensible in his own mind, in service of his gut, and in pursuit of his persistent dreams and his PASSION of music
Find Out More and Hear His Music at www.shawnsnydermusic.com
What can we learn from Shawn?
When you follow your heart, it no longer matters that others thought you should have taken a different path in life