I’ve decided that once a month or so, I’m going to go somewhere on a Friday night and check out live music somewhere. I thought I’d start this monthly series at one of my favorite places and an MBIP regular stop for food, drink, fun and festivities, Sky Harbor. Sky Harbor has one of the few piano bars in the Peoria area and there’s a rotating number of musicians that play there on Friday nights. Shannon Moore Shepherd is a musician who recently moved back to Peoria from New York City and that brought back memories for me! Shannon and I know each other via Twitter, facecrack, email and a brief meeting about a week ago when I had a rare non-blogging dinner with my parents at Sky Harbor. I thought it would be fun to see Shannon behind the piano and talk to her about New York and Peoria in between musical moments. And so that’s just what we’re going to do and there’s nothing you can do to stop me! So there!
See, I told you, trying to stop me from this Friday night’s musical adventure is futile! So let’s go inside and let the fun begin!
I love the stone foyer as you enter Sky Harbor, it’s got a real ‘70’s throwback vibe and it just has an inviting feel to it, I don’t know why and I certainly don’t question such things. I just soak it all up and keep moving along while singing a mental song.
The bar in here is just classic, I love it!
And hanging out nearby is Russ, who’s been a bartender here for years and is on the other side of the bar with Daryl’s beautiful mother, Ellen. Always a treat to see both of these fine people!
Here’s the third generation of the Klusendorf clan, Ryan, serving up the first beer of the evening!
As you can see, there’s a decent crowd in here tonight, let’s make our way over there to the right corner of the room...
To the piano bar. Some lovely music is wafting out from this corner and I have to get a little closer to hear it better.
Okay, now we’re in tune! There’s the owner of Sky Harbor, Daryl Klusendorf off to the left with his guitar and to the right tickling the piano ivories is tonight’s featured musician, Shannon Moore Shepherd!
I had heard some people at the bar talking about Shannon and what a beautiful voice she’s got and they certainly were right! Her singing is distinctive and original, yet somewhat familiar all at the same time. And her piano skills are top-notch as well. She’s one of the best musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing and listening to. Her voice is really mesmerizing, you need to come and see her.
Daryl interrupted the singing and asked Shannon if she wanted an order of frog legs and Shannon politely declined...
And went back to singing her wonderful songs! Somewhere a frog just breathed a sigh of relief!
Here’s four shots of her as she entertains the group around the piano bar and the tables beyond. Everyone was really getting into this musical evening with Shannon and that was cool to see!
I love the red chandelier that hangs beneath the Sky Harbor sparkly ceiling and shines a light over the piano bar. Shine on!
Shanon not only does covers of songs by Elton John, The Cure, Joni Mitchell and others, she also has a portfolio of her original tunes that she plays and they are really great songs. Legendary artist and musician, Preston Jackson was seated at the piano bar and was so impressed with Shannon he got up to join her on this original tune called, “Make No Mistakes.”
This was a such a beautiful original song and real highlight of the evening! A wonderful moment in time!
And I’m not the only one capturing these moments on camera...well, I think she’s using a phone, but, well, you know...
Shannon took a quick break and Preston and Daryl teamed up for a rousing version of, “Mr. Bojangles.”
Okay, this really cracked me up! Preston requested the Willie Nelson song, “You Were Always On My Mind,” and Daryl put on this headband complete with Willie pigtails to sing it. I love it!
And now, Shannon’s back from her break playing more of her marvelous music.
In addition to being a musician, Shannon is also a writer and wrote this definitive list of the best dive bars in Peoria for the Whiskey City Collaborative. If you haven’t been to all of these bars, you should correct that very soon! Great feature article by Shannon!
Shannon’s singing another original song, “Young Bob Dylan,” and she dedicated it to me! That was so nice and it made my evening, I’ve never had a song dedicated to me before! Thanks, Shannon!
Here’s Preston and Daryl on either side of the star of the evening, Shannon Moore Shepherd! Shannon will be at the piano bar here at Sky Harbor next Friday night and you should definitely stop by to see this talented singer/songwriter. She also tends bar on Thursday nights if you want to see her working in a non-musical mode!
After the show we all hung out and had some drinks and chatted. Here’s Shannon with her friend, Laurie who lived in New York too and now lives in West Peoria and teaches at Bradley.
Trisha came up and said hello to me. We met at Kenny’s Westside Pub a while back and we had a nice conversation about Little Nut Huts! Nice to see her again!
Towards the end of the evening, Shannon’s husband Steven showed up after work. He just started working at Hearth and stopped by after his shift was over. It was really nice to meet him and it was great to hang out with both of them! One thing I love about doing this blog is meeting kindred spirits and these two definitely are. We had a great time talking and swapping New York and Peoria stories! Thanks to both of them for hanging out and chatting with me and to Shannon for putting on such a great musical performance this evening! We’ll see you all tomorrow!