Shaun Johnson + the Big Band Experience: Big band reclaiming its place at the pop table

Shaun Johnson + the Big Band Experience are releasing a new album on Friday (September 17, 2021) called Made For Her. Shaun is a crooner and this music is a mashup of pop and big band. It feels really fresh.

Shaun plays with Tonic Sol Fa, which is a very popular a cappella group. The Big Band Experience is like the sonic polar opposite – big band sound with horns, pianos and more made familiar, yet new. Being in both has allowed Shaun to experience different shows and style, although I think some of the audience crosses over to both. The music does have that feel of reminiscence. Listening to it makes brings you back to a memory or stage of life.

His lyrics are straightforward, evocative and touching. The stories behind the songs are even more touching. There are layers of meaning that would be difficult to pull from the song – like knowing that This Old Man started with the nursery rhyme and therefore, you could sing the nursery rhyme right over the song. But I think that layering is like spice in a stew, you might not be able to name them all but they contribute to the richness. (The story behind Losing You is heartbreaking and Sing Me Anything is inspiring – but you’ll have to listen for the details!)

There is a likability to Shaun and his music. The songs, especially on this album, seem born of love and appreciation for the people around him and again like the hidden space that ethos seeps into the listener is a wonderful way.

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