"Oh the music! So my search for some breakfast began, then off to the day’s first show. This brought me to the River Stage again for Sean Shiel. This solo singer/guitar player is a must see. The solo player wasn’t uncommon this weekend, having some of the best at this festival. Ed Anderson, Pete Jive, Jaik Willis, Chicago Farmer and we certainly can’t forget Keller. To stand in the same genre of some of those entertainers I thought perhaps there might be some pressure. If there was, Sean wasn’t showing it. It’s my opinion that a solo artist has the most challenging of jobs. You really have to have an extraordinary presence and talent to succeed. I believe all these artists have that. Sean was busy on stage. Keeping the energy high, the lyrics real, and all eyes and ears on him and that guitar, he definitely deserved to have his name in the ring with all these other greats. Sunday was their day."
““What the world needs now is another folk hero, like I need a hole in my head” is a phrase penned by Cracker on “Teen Angst” but in the years since they wrote it, it has been covered by the likes of acoustic artists such as Keller Williams. In my opinion, we could actually use a few more and Sean Shiel is one of those genuine folk singers. In addition to Williams, it’s not much of a stretch to compare his guitar prowess and silver voiced lyrics with Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges. And despite the comparison to Keller, Shiel doesn’t loop, which is amazing considering the complexity that spews from his lone guitar. I caught up with Shiel before the show at Ace Bar this past Wednesday and asked him how things were doing lately with good weather finally upon us. He explained how along with the festival season gearing up he was going to the Canopy Club the next day for a show. Truly great folk players get that way by accumulating shows and experimenting with their audience."(cont”
“Shiel is a seasoned road veteran. Fans gathered at Ace Bar with Sean and his friends from Old Shoe on the last Wednesday of their residency were about to get a treat. Opening with a cover of Trampled By Turtles’ “Ain’t No Use in Tryin’”, Shiel warmed the crowd donning his trademark bandana. Then he quenched his own whistle with a nicely positioned PBR located near the mic stand. Fully hydrated, he launched into a darker Xavier Rudd flavored song he named “J.W. and The Hustle” which he told us was about a certain “unnamed” member of Family Groove Company. Somewhere in the refrain I thought I heard remnants of Australian group John Butler Trio. No didjeridu was present however, it was simply a man and his guitar. A downstate rebound relationship number called “Novocain” had a distinct hoe down feel which got my foot stomping." (continued below...)”
“(continued from above...) "Shiel strung together a nice medley of tunes to round out the set with “Captain Dance”, “No Better Time”, “Coming Around”, “Rail Spike”, “The Grind”, “Perfectly Free”, and “Flight.” Each was delivered to the room with an “awe shucks” type nonchalance that was endearing and never seemed forced. Occasionally, Shiel delved into what certain songs were about, when he wrote them, and gave a run down of where he was headed next. Then he reached down to that mic stand and took a shot that started a group social and got the room’s audio senses limber for the full band experience that followed with Old Shoe.”
“::JAMBASE REVIEW, OPERATION ADAPTATION 2009:: "While in 2008, there might've been a handful of spectators for the earliest sets on Saturday, the house was already pretty packed for Sean Shiel's set around 1:00. The unabashed Keller Williams stand-in was the perfect warm-up artist, as well as an ideal backdrop for the vital hula hoop scene, which included at least one real artist this year; she briefly took over the main floor in front of the bikes and got the kind of attention you're just not going to achieve at a big-name fest. Sheil himself is a crowd-pleaser, wowing us with Phish's "The Inlaw Josie Wales," and refreshingly acknowledging the sincerest form of flattery with Williams' "Freeker By The Speaker." I hadn't seen Sheil since Op:Ad '08, but the man has progressed..." ”