Lonesome Onry and Mean

Lonesome Onry and Mean: Celtic Accordion Queen Sharon Shannon

One of Lonesome Onry and Mean's favorite Pogues tracks is actually Steve Earle's great anti-war song "Johnny Come Lately" from Earle's Copperhead Road album. Earle has frequently spoken of his affinity for Ireland, particularly Galway, which we might call one of his retreats.

It was through Earle, and his song "Galway Girl" on 1999's Transcendental Blues that LOM first learned of Irish accordion virtuoso Sharon Shannon. After the Earle introduction, LOM became somewhat obsessed with Shannon, and delved into her extensive catalog. A master of Irish traditional forms such as jigs, reels and hornpipes, it was quickly apparent Shannon is not only prolific but extremely eclectic.

Her first solo album in 1993, Sharon Shannon, is the largest-selling album of Irish traditional music ever. Yes, that's what it says: ever! And that's saying a mouthful when you consider competition from bands like the Chieftains and the Dubliners.

That Shannon didn't let her success with traditional music limit her horizons has resulted in an amazing aggregation of sounds and styles -- reggae, rock, alt-country, Portuguese, French Canadian and Cajun, even hip hop on her latest work -- sprinkled across her career. Here she is with Nova Scotian fiddler Natalie MacMaster.

Shannon's virtuosity and eclecticism have resulted in a career studded with an amazing collection of artists. A member of the Waterboys before leaving the band when members decided to go in a more rocking direction, she has gone on to work with Earle, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Sinead O'Connor and Kirsty MacColl. Below, she performs with Pogue Shane MacGowan.

Less than a week until the Pogues play House of Blues. We can only hope Shannon will pop in for a little jam with the boys.

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William Michael Smith