Local Music Tap: ‘Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience’ Album Review
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — According to Emmy-winning singer-songwriter Shaun Terrance Johnson, he was seemingly destined for music from the beginning.
“One of my earliest memories,” he said, “is of performing at state fair talent shows with my little sister. We’d sing Sonny and Cher songs a cappella when neither of us was quite tall enough to reach the microphone.”
Originally from Saint Joseph, Iowa, Shaun went to college at Saint John’s University and settled in St. Cloud. There, he began his career with Tonic Sol-fa, a nationally-known vocal group that has appeared on Newsweek, the Today Show and PBS.
Now, the Shaun Johnson is bringing swing, jazzy big band music back into town with the Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience, blending the musical stylings of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble.
In early November, the Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience released its first album, “What I’ll Do (YouTube Sessions),” which, as the title suggests, is taken from live sessions (recorded at IPR Studios) that the band posted on YouTube (video below).
The album features a variety of reimaginings of both recent and classic hits, including Rihanna’s “Stay,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (made famous by Jeff Buckley). Ray LaMontagne’s “The Devil’s In The Jukebox,” Citizen Cope’s “Brother Lee,” and more. Check out the entire thing here.
For those who appreciate local big band music, this album will serve you well. Shaun’s gifted vocals and the solid talent of the band behind him create rich versions of classics – as well as a Tonic Sol-Fa’s “Oklahoma Wind.”
You can hear the songs live soon, too. The group will play at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center on Dec. 16 for their “Spirit of the Season” Holiday Tour. Check out tour information here.
Video: “Stay” Made Popular By Rihanna
Steve Pikal – Trombone
Jim Bierma – Bass
Dave Stanoch – Percussion
Theodore Brown – Piano
Mark Yannie – Tenor Saxophone
Aaron Moe – Alto Saxophone
Jeff Carver – Trumpet
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