“Affable and unpretentious” would sum up Tony James Shevlin perfectly, yet this UK-based Anglo-Irish musician has a musical pedigree that would have gone to a lesser man’s head. It’s not often you’ll have a solo guitarist playing a small venue who can introduce his next song and casually mention “this was the International Anthem of Peace chosen by Amnesty International” or “I wrote this one for REM”. However, as he starts to play, the tune and lyrics have that rare quality of true originality and you wonder why you’ve never heard of this singer-songwriter before. Tony’s been a professional musician for most of his adult life, and has performed around the world, from Europe to Russia, Africa, America, the Middle East, Australia… in fact it would be quicker for him to tell you where he hasn’t been. In between songs he’ll tell you of times spent in a cell with Shane McGowan singing in his ear or some of his many other tales from a life spent in music.
At the start of 2014 Tony recorded a new Celtic-infused americana album Songs From the Last Chance Saloon which was released on Oh Mercy Records, a label based in the East of England. The album brings together his influences of growing up in an Irish household, listening to the Beatles and Marty Robbins. He then road-tested the songs with a succession of solo shows in and around Nashville, Tennessee. The summer months were spent playing a variety of UK festivals accompanied by his backing band The Chancers.
In 2015 Tony recorded an acoustic EP to accompany the album songs in his live set. In late May he headed back to the US for a tour which saw him visit 17 States and drive 11,000 miles either playing shows or co-writing songs in Nashville, TN.
2016 started with some gigs in Ireland and Scotland, and recording a video for title track of the EP released on Oh Mercy! Records titled Restless Celtic Heart.
In May of that year, Tony returned to Kansas City, MO for radio and television interviews and to play some shows promoting his recording of Kansas City Won’t Let Me Go.
The summer months were spent working on songs he wrote on the 2015 US tour, and were recorded over the winter months.
2017 got off to a flying start with shows in New York and Kansas City MO (Folk Alliance International) and writing sessions in Nashville TN.
A new album American Odyssey was released in August and was followed up by a series of UK house concerts.
Plans for a US tour of 2018 are currently underway.