Press about Jon’s 2019 International Blues Challenge win:
Here are a few more samples of Jon’s consistently rave reviews:
“Jon Shain is a master of the Piedmont style of blues guitar fingerpicking, and while he’s had no shortage of regional acclaim, including winning the Triangle Blues Society competition last year, he also managed to claim top honors in 2019’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis. And once you’ve gotten the nod as a bluesman in Memphis, well, you can basically hang your hat anywhere. But Shain doesn’t box himself into being strictly a blues player, either. He works bits of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and more into his sound. His last couple of albums exemplify the open-endedness of his approach. Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday Soon is full of harmonically modern singer-songwriter material, while Getting’ Handy with the Blues is a roots-minded tribute to blues legend W.C. Handy. But whichever side of Shain is in the spotlight, be assured that you’ll hear a six-string heavyweight at work…”
— Indy Week, Durham, NC (August 2019)
You really recorded a strong album …a very good selection of songs recorded with both talent and good spirit ..your voice and your efficient fingerpicking are such a pleasure…nothing ostentatious, you just found the perfect way to make these songs shine….Excellent, really….
— Mike Penard, DJ – Radio ISA, France (January, 2018)
Jon Shain’s sly Piedmont roots feel authentic and fresh on last year’s Reupholstered, which exceeds even his high standards.
— Chris Parker, Indy Week (July 2015)
Jon Shain brings a fingerpicked folk sound that sparkles like fine crystal with similar delicacy and scintillation. He’s well versed in Piedmont country blues but equally adept at soft-spoken story-songs, delivered in a dry, easygoing tenor.
— Chris Parker, The Independent Weekly (April 2012)
Jon Shain’s latest solo album, Times Right Now, is his usual stew of country, blues, ragtime, and bluegrass. Shain continues to put out high quality tunes that are executed exceptionally and full of southern flair. There’s no denying the technical skills of Jon Shain and his bandmates. They do a great job of expressing the subtle differences among the various styles. Their blues has a grit to it and their ragtimes display humor.
— Triangle Music blog (December 2009)
What makes Jon Shain’s Army Jacket Winter rise above the wealth of earnest singer/songwriter material available is the charming atmosphere he creates.
— John Patrick Gatta, Relix Magazine (October 2007)
Shain is a blues guitar guy with terriffic Piedmont style finger picking chops, but here he proves that he’s a songwriter, too. The clean production makes each arrangement shine and his band is top notch….
— Jamie Anderson, Sing Out! (October 2007)
The first song on Jon Shain’s new disc, a cover of Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On,” is a pretty fair indicator of what you get with Shain. Which is not to say Tom Petty, mind you, but a Wildflowers-era mix of fingerpick blues, gentle-yet-wry lyricism, and more than a little bit of warmth—in other words, comfy as the old G.I. castoff and thrift-store favorite referenced in the title. The sixth release on his own Flyin’ Records (named after Shain’s old duo Flyin’ Mice), Winter sees the North Carolinian moving in more of a Randy Newman direction, and frankly, it looks rather good on him. Subtle accordion, nylon-string guitar, dobro and grand piano all share in the mix with Shain’s trusty (if rusty) Silvertone acoustic here, and the result, more often than not, is golden
— Timothy Davis, Harp Magazine (July 2007)
Jon Shain is proof that singer/songwriters with brilliant acoustic fingerstylings and insightful lyrics are still around and going strong. Shain’s Army Jacket Winter is an array of stories about love and restlessness, backed by acoustic/electric guitars, accordion and dobro. Fans of Keb Mo, Jimmy Buffett and Randy Newman will dig Shain’s mood on this album.
— Kathleen Wehle, Southeast Performer Magazine (July 2007)
The first person that came to mind while hearing was Jeff Tweedy, that honesty and upfront feeling of a voice, guitar, and a harmonica, nowhere to run but into your consciousness. Many of his songs are about emotion, whether those he feels, or observing the world and wondering what the next man or woman is feeling. This is evident in pieces such as “Another Month Of Mondays”, “To Rise Again” (a song about a post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans), and “Throne Of Gold”, where the passion in his voice, the lyrics, and his playing is enough to make you want to open a bottle and drink your miseries away…Is Shain a depressing songwriter, not at all, but that tradition of writing blues-influenced lyrics with country and folk compassion is what makes his songs work. It’s honest and to the point, it will make you want to yell out loud “Yes, Jon Shain, I know exactly what you mean.” Shain deserves to be heard, and I hope he will continue doing this for many years to come.
— John Book, MusicforAmerica.org (May 2007)