The Astonishing Adventures of Shannon Heaton

Tunes, tales, and weighted blankets
Episode Trailer

Learn how and why Shannon Heaton creates the Irish Music Stories podcast, as Matt Heaton turns the mic around in the sunroom studio. Tune into this Old-Time radio (half) hour celebration of community, DIY ingenuity, and weighted blankets. And learn about the future of IMS!


Thank you to everybody for listening. And a special thank you to this month’s underwriters: Jeremy Hurley, Bob Suchor, Tom Frederick, John Ploch, Ian Bittle, Finian McCluskey, Sean Carroll, Jonathan Duvick, Chris Armstrong, Ken Doyle, Susan Walsh, Rick Rubin, Suezen Brown, Paul DeCamp, Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, David Vaughan, Brian Benscoter, and Gerry Corr.

Episode 58-The Astonishing Adventures of Shannon Heaton
Sharing tunes, stories, and weighted blankets
This Irish Music Stories episode aired December 14, 2021

Speakers in order of appearance
>> Brad Niemcek: World traveller, writer, Old-Time radio cast member
>> Erin Larson: Editor, Old-Time radio cast member
>> Sharon Murphy: Retired educator, author, Old-Time radio cast member
>> Shannon Heaton: flute player, singer, composer, teacher, and host of Irish Music Stories 
>> Matt Heaton: Pennsylvania-born, Boston-based guitarist and bouzouki player
>> Nigel Heaton: young announcer for Irish Music Stories


>> Brad: Your attention please! The newest edition of Irish Music Stories features the thrilling adventures of Shannon Heaton. 

>> Shannon: Feels very weird to turn the mics around here. I’m normally the interviewer…

>> Brad: We take you now to the Heaton studio, where our reporter Matt Heaton is on scene.

>> Erin: Over in the studio!

>> Brad: Look!

>> “Sharon: It’s a flute player!

>>” Brad: It’s a podcaster!

>> Erin: It’s Shannon Heaton!

[ Music: “Lakeside Barndance,” from Honk Toot Suite

Artists: Éamonn Coyne & Kris Drever ]

>> Shannon: I do sometimes feel like a strange visitor from another planet, fighting a never-ending battle for truth. Society and trends can often feel a bit… alien. But with the Irish Music Stories podcast, I take a look at stuff that ‘lurks in the hearts’ through the more enduring lens of tradition vs. pop culture. For each episode, I assemble a few earthlings to speak about a central topic. The stories start in the Irish music world, and then they pan out wider. I guess it’s my way of  uncovering new perspectives…. and mulling on something for a moment. 

Like, how do you raise a creative, empowered, resilient kid? Uuuuuh. Certainly not one answer. But it’s a slightly more manageable puzzle if it’s filtered through, say, a story about a Boston tween traveling to Ireland to compete in a music competition.

>> Erin: Heavenly days!

>> Shannon: Maybe not quite as silly, or corny, or tall and fantastical as old time radio hours. But it’s a small moment of adventure and investigation. A little pause. The kind of space that radio can offer. Less stimulating and maybe more nourishing than Instagram. Or binge watching Squid Game.

[ Music: “G Chimes,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Brad: I’ve always heard that radio was “theatre of the mind.”

>> Erin: That’s pretty good, Johnny. But that’s not the way I hear-ed it…

[ Music: “John’s Theme,’ from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: Well no matter how you hear it, here’s a recent conversation I hadwith Matt Heaton, in our sunroom studio. 

[ Music: “Bb Groove,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

We spoke about Irish Music Stories, about the simultaneously simple and lofty goals of the show.

>> Sharon: Just the facts, ma’am, Just the facts. [Dragnet]

>> Shannon: OK, well…. This is Matt Heaton.

>> Matt: And this is Irish Music Stories…

[ Music: “Woo Dr Hythm,” from Foreign Fields

Composers: Petter Berndalen, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Seán Mac Erlaine

Artist: This is How we Fly ]

… the show about traditional music and the bigger stories behind it. Like how a podcast can dial up gratitude, unite a community, and can be made with a tin can and a string.

>> Matt: Are we starting?

>> Shannon: I don’t know. You’re the one in charge.

>> Matt: Well, thank you very much, Shannon, for sitting down and having this chat with me. It’s, it’s a delight to get to speak with you. 

>> Shannon: Yes. It’s an honor to speak with you as well, Matt Heaton.

>> Matt: Yes. So full disclosure. I am not an impartial observer in this. Because I’m in fact, your husband. And have lived through the Irish Music Stories podcast from day one. 

>> Shannon: That’s right. 

>> Matt: But I’m hoping to use some of that insight to share with your listeners some things about the Irish Music Stories podcast. 

>> Shannon: Cool. 

>> Matt: Okay. So let’s go back to the beginning. Why a podcast? Why did you decide to do this?

>> Shannon: Okay, so I love Irish music. And I do truly love the fact that bundled into this musical tradition—this social tradition—is all of this non-musical stuff: all the friendships; all the business of kind of like paying your dues, I guess: learning all the tunes, and the people you meet along the way. You know, that’s all in the playing of it when you share these tunes with each other. I kind of love that narrative to begin with. And it’s really exciting every time that I have a chance to share with people that bigger story. 

Until I started this podcast, I guess my way of sharing that was on a stage with you. 

>> Matt: Mmm hmm.

>> Shannon: When we would play our duo gigs, I would give a little bit of the backstory of this tune or that tune to sort of show the bigger, broader picture.

>> Matt: Right. And to involve the audience more.

>> Shannon: Yeah.

[ Music: “Ormond Sound,” from Live at Millennium Stage (with stage banter)

Composer: Paddy O’Brien

Artist: Matt & Shannon Heaton ]

>> Matt: You play Irish flute, you sing, and you tell stories on stage. Why did you decide to make a podcast?

>> Shannon: Well…  I like listening to podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m running. So that immersive form has always captivated me. I myself love creative writing. I love projects. I love the recording process, stitching things together, arranging things. And so it kind of ticks all the boxes for me, really.

And then the ability to tell these stories in other peopl e’s voices, from other people’s perspectives. And I can add elements of sound design. You know, you can hear us walking. You can hear, um, things going on in the story to put you right in the middle of the story instead of ‘just telling.’

>> Matt: It is a great medium for that, because you can create a much more immersive environment for a listener. 

>> Shannon: And, you know, I can make it kind of poppy and a little bit more accessible further by underscoring, um, sentiments and feelings and moods. And let us not forget that you have created very beautiful, tasteful underscore to color these stories, to bring out maybe emotions that the narrative suggests. And let’s talk a little bit about that process. 

>> Matt: Sure

> Shannon: How has that worked for you, Matt? Can you describe to our listeners how we create some of those stylings? 

>> Matt: Yes, the way that was created is I would often be doing something. A nd Shannon Heaton would say to me, “Hey, I need some guitar underscore.” And I would come into the room and she would have the microphone…

>> Shannon: She hahaha. Her.

>> Matt: Yeah, you. And I would just get my guitar. And she would say something to the effect of, “I need something kind of chimey in E-flat, uh, for about eight seconds.” And then I would try and play something based on that instruction. And then she would say, “ No, no, maybe not chimey. Maybe a little more bell tolling.”

[ Music: “Triumph Theme,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: Hahaha

>> Matt: And so each little thing would kind of be built up like that. 

>> Shannon:  And then we gave them all little names, like, um, ‘Heartstrings theme’

[ Music: “Heartstrings  Theme,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: ‘Firefly by Twilight’ or something like that. Wasn’t there one?

[ Music: “Rockabye by Twilight ,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: Meaning of life

[ Music: “Meaning of Life,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: Oh, and then little bird lullaby. Do you remember little bird lullaby? 

[ Music: “Little Bird Lullaby,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

It was this sweet little A major thing that you played. And then at the end, this little bird was like, “bwee bwee.” So if anybody has ever noticed that at the end of it, it really happened.

>> Matt: Okay. So back back in the day, back in the beginning, did you have a whole bunch of stories you wanted to tell? Like, ideas for multiple episodes? Or was it like, well I’ll try this one time and see how it goes, and see if I like it, and take it from there?

>> Shannon: I definitely thought big from the beginning. I had a bunch of ideas at the very start. And I was actually working on five or six different stories all at once, just to sort of see where things would go. 

>> Shannon: Fom the start of this project, I knew I wanted to share stories from guests in their own unique voices. And I wanted to share the magical story of Irish music itself.

And I wanted each episode to find a few answers to a non-musical question.

[ Music: “Fitz,” from Fitz – Single

Composer: Mike Lease

Artist: Avanc ]

Something fun. Something entertaining. Something relatable. Like…

>> Sharon: Can a girl form a small mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy, entitled Englishman?

>> Shannon: Yeah, that sort of thing.

>> Matt: Do you find that when you have a story that you want to tell—you’re putting this together—does it change greatly from your initial idea? Like when, once you get in there and start making it?

>> Shannon: Oh, big time. In the beginning I let things go wherever they naturally went. And that can be a bit unruly, because I’m wanting to make this well edited, very clear narrative. And if things keep changing with every guest that I talk to, you know, it’s a lot of revising. 

I’ve found over the years to try to hold just a little faster to my initial kernel. That that ends up being a bit more efficient. But if we get on a tangent, I’m going to allow it. But I’m going to make a little sidebar that this might be cool for a future episode. 

[ Music: “The Phoenix/Pyry,” from January EP

Artist: The Assembly FKA Popcorn Behavior ]

And so you might have a guest who appears in one episode and then appears a season later in a totally different episode about a totally different topic. It was from the same conversation. It was just, we went tangent. 

>> Matt: You must have at this point, a pretty large collection of interviews of recorded interviews with people.

>> Shannon: I feel lucky to have that. And I feel lucky to get to talk to a lot of our peers about things that we don’t normally talk about when we’re just getting together to play music or hang out.

>> Matt: Are there any interviews, um, in particular that, that stand out as favorites? Not necessarily how, how it went into the episode, but just remembering the chat?

>> Shannon: You know what, I’m always surprised. Uh, I have a notion that this interview is going to be a lot of fun. Or this interview is going to be really tender. Or this interview is going to be really thoughtful. And I’m always surprised. You know, it always goes somewhere else, um, in a wonderful way. Every conversation that I’ve had with people I have to say has been just, uh, rewarding, and interesting, and surprising. 

[ Music: Chimes reprise ]

>> Shannon: Surprising. Funny. And incredibly insightful. There’s so much warmth and wisdom in these conversations with musicians, and dancers, and scholars. People who really know and love traditional music. There’s so much more than I could ever include in 58 episodes. After five years of podcasting, I’ve got a lot of great stuff in the vault.

[ Music: “Mutey Big Build,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Shannon: Early on, I did have some incredible chats with people: interviews that were like three and a half hours long.And as fun as that is, I don’t do that anymore because it’s just too much to go through.

>> Matt: Yeah. Definitely your working process has gotten much more efficient and defined, as one would hope

>> Shannon: The other cool thing about my working process is out of necessity over the last year and a half, a lot of my interviews that I would have conducted in person at festivals, at venues all went remote. I didn’t do many remote interviews before this time. And in some ways it’s made it much easier to talk to the people that I really want to talk to for this particular episode. It’s not just, um, people that I want to include who happen to be playing at a festival or at a venue close to us.

>> Matt: Or people that, you know, you are traveling to another country. I mean, this is a tangential theme of the whole pandemic time. I think has made it a lot more normal for people to reach out to people who are very, very far away. And it no longer seems like a weird thing to do, which is kind of nice.

[ Music: “Preparations for a Journey,” from Koibitotachi – EP

Artist/Composer: Akeboshi ]

>> Shannon: And that said, I will say my interviews with people in Japan, in Scotland, in Ireland when I was traveling in those countries, they do have a special presence for me. But I think it’s only me who feels that. I think I’m getting over that need to be in person with everybody. Like, when we’re in a Zoom call together, we’re still in person. Even if it’s somebody I’m meeting for the first time, 

So talking to people in the interview, that is a highly connective time, so sweet. Mulling over what they said and then putting the whole thing together—finding music that suits each of those moments. That’s also a really sweet, surprisingly connective experience for me with those guests. I really feel like we’re in the room together hahaha! when I’m putting those episodes together. And of course, I remember some of the things that my guests have said probably better than they do, because they send them once. But I’ve been building that conversation into a script and listening to it over and over again. Yeah.

( music swells )

>> Matt: Interviewing people, getting to talk to people—that’s probably where most immediate connection happens. But… what are some of your least favorite parts about this project, about making a podcast and putting it together every month?

>> Shannon: Mmm. Ok, well, the two biggest challenges for me have been the deadline. The monthly deadline is punishing. 

[ Music: Woo Dr Hythm reprise ]

Even when I have, you know, five stories rolling at one time, and so I’m working on things over a long period of time, when it gets to the end of the month, the one has to be finished. And it is rough. Would you concur?

>> Matt: I would. I would. Crunch time does come along. Uh, why, why the deadline? I mean, it is self-imposed, you could just, you know, say I’m going to roll it out whenever it’s ready. Do you… do you find that having the deadline, you know, is an accountability thing. Or do you just think that it’s better for scheduling?

>> Shannon: Well, I think if I’m hoping for people to listen to this podcast, I think if I just kind of throw one up whenever I have it ready, I think that’s a lot to ask people to keep track of. I think I would lose a lot of listeners. Hmm. I guess. 

I also do think that if—like any project—it’s just sort of a someday-maybe-love-this-project, want-to-work-on-it-when-I can, I’d probably be less likely to finish things. I mean, it’s true, I don’t know that I’m ever completely a hundred percent satisfied with each project. It’s just, okay, it’s done. It’s done for this deadline. I’ve done it. I mean, could I go back and revise everything and do it even better, and spend more and more time on everything? Yes. And I know that about myself. And so maybe by having the monthly deadline, it does kind of push things out, instead of continuing to hone and hone and hone.

[ Music: “Mountain Grooves,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ] 

Another thing that has been completely overwhelming is, um, how to present this podcast online. How to make a website that can present transcripts, and photos, and videos, and, you know, making pretty artwork for each episode. I hope these shows can be a resource, can be a window into the tradition, can be a lovely snapshot of some really wonderful, thoughtful, important figures in the tradition. 

[ Music: Little Bird Lullaby reprise ]

My thanks to Jamie McClennan, who is a great musician, a wonderful friend, and a wonderful conceptual graphic designer who helped me create, finally, um, this past year, the Irish Music experience that I always wanted. And also to John Ploch, and to Tom Frederick, and to Susan Millstadt, and to a bunch of friends who helped me transcribe the episodes. And my thanks to Sally Tucker for helping get a database of all the music.

>> Matt: Yeah. If I may address your listeners, if you listen to the podcast using a podcast catcher and haven’t actually checked out the website, it’s worth a look. It really, really is a special collection of stuff. And, and seeing all the additional materials, um, beyond just the audio of the show is pretty great. 

>> Shannon: Matt Heaton: Occasional interview host. Regular script editor and sound designer for Irish Music Stories. And gentle, supportive cheerleader for, where you can, indeed, find loads of bonus content. and where you can…

>> Brad: Say the secret word and collect one hundred dollars. Actually, it’s where you can kick in some dollars.

>> Shannon: Hah. Well, here’s Nigel Heaton, to acknowledge this month’s sponsors:

[ Music: “Pound the Floor,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

>> Nigel: Thank you to Jeremy Hurley, Bob Suchor, Tom Frederick, John Ploch, Ian Bittle, Finian McCluskey, Sean Carroll, Jonathan Duvick, Chris Armstrong, Ken Doyle, Susan Walsh, Rick Rubin, Suezen Brown, Paul DeCamp, Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, David Vaughan, Brian Benscoter, and Gerry Corr.

>> Shannon: And that is our son, Nigel Heaton.

>> Matt: Monthly reading the names of donors. And if you have been a listener for five years, you have heard him grow from a six year old to an 11 year old.

>> Nigel: (saying thank you at various ages)

[ Music: Meaning of Life reprise ]

>> Shannon: Nigel has also weighed in on stories. He and I produced a story together on supernatural music. And over the last five years, I’ve noticed too, he has become very good at video editing. And loves dropping in music and really expert places. 

>> Matt: It’s True. You mentioned a whole bunch of people who have, who have chipped in and helped out in various ways. I feel like there is a community of folks who are listeners to the Irish Music Stories podcast who go above and beyond just listening to an episode. A lot of podcasts go the Patreon route where, you know, it’s an official signup thing. And you opted not to do that. How do you feel about that? Do you like it?

[ Music: “Belle,” from B&B
Composers: Jennifer Wrigley (“Mrs. Violet Eunson”) & Shannon Heaton (“Belle of the South Shore”)
Artists: tricolor ]

>> Shannon: Hmmm. Yeah. It seems like just another thing to do. And just another thing for people to do. I kind of love the idea of just putting something out there. And if it is useful and people feel like kicking in, if and when and whenever and however they want, that seems great. Um, yeah, Patreon would probably, I don’t know, yield more regular, uh, donations. And then it would be more organized for certain people. But I just kind of love the anarchy of just putting something out there for the sake of putting it out there. And then if somebody feels like supporting for the sake of supporting, that’s good. And I guess that’s where I’m at today. Just offer the podcast. And just let it reverberate in any way that it does or doesn’t.

( music swells )

>> Matt: So this is, um, the end of the fifth season of the podcast. Has it met your expectations? Has it, um, confounded them or changed them? Or did you think when you started like that you’d be still doing it five years later?

>> Shannon: I had no goals other than, uh, the creative impulse to do it. And I guess I wanted to tell these stories in a way that would be creative and rewarding for me. In that way, I guess I’ve met my goals. Um, I didn’t have any notions of how long I would do this. Or what resonance this might have for the Irish music community. There are some really beautiful, thoughtful figures in the tradition that you can find throughout all five seasons. Um, so not to be too grandiose about it. But I think maybe it has some longevity.  I think I’ve made each episode to be timeless. I’ve gone out of my way to not mention particular studio releases of my guests so that it isn’t a promo piece. But also, so that it doesn’t date the story. So I guess I’m happy with what it’s done, and what I’ve been able to do with this podcast. 

>> Matt: Do you know what’s next for the podcast?

>> Shannon: Well… I am so enamored of the online home for Irish Music Stories. I keep calling it that instead of the website, because I really think of it as this comprehensive, immersive experience where you get to enjoy the stories that I’ve created. And then you get to see some of the videos of the guests. You get to read the transcript, you get to see photos and, you know, learn more about all of the figures.

I think continuing to develop that would be so satisfying for me. It would be like seeing through this vision that I have. And do a little bit more creative writing, do a little bit more companion essays. Um, roll out some content that folks haven’t heard before—you know, some of those great interviews, oh, there’s so much that I wasn’t able to include. So having some bonus footage that I share with people I think would be really great. 

I mean, I would certainly.. I love the idea of the bonus footage. You know, the tangents that didn’t fit in the episodes. Because there are so many… you know, you’ve had so many fascinating guests. It would be great to have that stuff accessible.

>> Matt: Do you feel that, uh, making this podcast has affected your performing in any way? Like your, you know, onstage playing the flute for people, that part of your life and that part of your career? Has it had much influence or?

>> Shannon: I think I’ve always been really happy to share this Irish music that we love, Matt Heaton. 

[ Music: “G Meditation,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist/Composer: Matt Heaton ]

And our take on these tunes and songs, which I really enjoy working on with you. I think I’ve always enjoyed sharing those with people—on a stage or in a learning environment. I think through making this show and hearing from so many other performers and also so many other people who are passionate about this music (maybe they’re amateur musicians, they don’t do this for a living, but they really love it), I think it’s expanded my appreciation of all levels and all types of engagement in Irish music. And I think I’m more grateful than I ever, ever was for all of us. Like it really takes everybody: from the person learning the tin whistle and knowing three polkas; to the seasoned tradition bearer who has spent her whole life writing incredible tunes and sharing them with the world; or the dancer who has shared their steps with people in Japan and in Boston and brought them all together. 

[ Music: “As the Crow Flies,” from Half Day Road

Artist/Composer: Liz Carroll ]

It really does take everybody. And I think I get that more than I ever did before. So I think in that way, it really has affected me as a person, as a whole musician. And so as a performer, I mean, whatever, as somebody who is in the performance and the practice of sharing this music. Yeah. I think it’s probably, um, enriched me.

>> Shannon: Covid times have also given me an even deeper appreciation and affection for all of us, with our different types of engagement in traditional music and dance. When our 2020 shows and tours canceled, Matt and I performed a little online. But what we’ve found most resonant (and hopeful useful) was a weekly YouTube live-streamed music session, through which we’ve connected with a welcoming, supportive, and wildly diverse community.

>> Brad: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. Shannon Heaton knows. Or at least thinks she does. Hahahah!

>> Shannon: Hahahaha!

>> Matt: All right, Shannon Heaton. Let’s talk tech.

>> Shannon: Oh, God.

>> Matt: Early, early episodes were recorded on what program?

>> Shannon: Audacity. 

>> Matt: Which is a freeware editor, highly recommended.

>> Shannon: Yes, a very powerful freeware editor. A little cumbersome for a project like this with many tracks.

>> Matt: Totally not designed for it. 

>> Shannon: Totally not designed for it. Um, and then eventually I moved to Hindenburg Journalist. We’ve also used Digital Performer for certain bits of the podcast. That’s our recording software that we use for music. 

You know, anybody can make a podcast with any old freeware software. You don’t need to have anything fancy. Anything will do.

>> Matt: Tell me about your audio interface that most of the podcast was made on.

>> Shannon: Well, unfortunately it has just aged out. But for years, and years, and years, recording this podcast, live-streaming, you name it. I used an M Audio preamp with one channel.

>> Matt: M Audio Fast Track, which I believe as of this interview is about 13 years old, which is a lifetime for computer gear. 

>> Shannon: Hee hee, yes.

>> Matt: So we were just recently were forced to upgrade to a Motu M2, which I’m kind of excited about. And you’re a little bit sad.

>> Shannon: I’m so sad. I love having done it all on super ghetto gear. I mean, super fine, super great gear that I would not have changed, because the hardware is fine. It’s just that it doesn’t want to talk to software anymore.

>> Matt: Mmm. And your microphone

>> Shannon: Is a Studio projects B1, which is not coveted.

>> Matt: No, it was in fact given to us for free by our friend, Eric Merrill, when he moved out of town.

>> Shannon: And it’s fine.

>> Matt: It really is. Now there’s one other aspect of the Irish Music Stories sound that the listeners may not realize. Uh lacking a proper isolation booth, you have hit up with the following technique. 

>> Shannon: Wait, I have to go get it. Okay. Um, yes. I have a weighted blanket that is lined. It’s so beautiful. And it’s so snugly. And I find that if I “put it over my head like this, it makes a better studio. So “I’m Shannon Heaton and this is Irish Music Stories, recorded under my weighted blanket.”

Hahahahah! So stupid…

[ Music: John’s Theme ]

[ Music: “Down the Burn, Davie Lad,” from The Boston States

Artist/Composers: Katie McNally Trio ]

>> Shannon: I just love the idea that I have made a lot of this podcast using duct tape and string. You can do any creative project—record an album, make a podcast, start a revolution—with the gear that you have at home. And it’s really not what you use, it’s what you do with it.

>> Matt: That is very much like playing music. Isn’t it?

>> Shannon: It totally is. Get a tin whistle for 12 bucks. And you can learn all the Irish music that you ever, ever could possibly know on any instrument that you have lying around.

>> Matt: That’s one of the things I love about it.

>> Shannon: Is it?

>> Matt: Yeah! I love hearing people do, too know, works of great genius and beauty on completely under par equipment. Because it just proves that it’s all about what’s in your head and in your heart. It’s not what you’ve bought, you know? Having great gear means you’ve spent money on great gear, which is fine. But producing something really beautiful means that you had something beautiful to say,

I’m so grateful to make this project. If nobody listened, I think I would still get a lot out of it. I really enjoy talking to folks, and thinking about these stories, and assembling these episodes. It’s especially rewarding and an honor that people do listen.

[ Music: chimes & John’s theme ]

>> Matt:  I have one more important question for you. Uh, what time do you want to eat lunch?

>> Shannon: Now. Hahah.

>> Brad: And so our heroes move from the makeshift studio to the kitchen, shedding their heavy cloaks of soundproofing and donning light cooking aprons. 

[ Music: “Demon Ducks of Doom,” from In Transit

Artist/Composer: Jamie McClennan ]

>> Shannon: This episode was produced by me, Shannon Heaton

>> Matt: And me, Matt Heaton

>> Brad: And me, Brad Niemcek

>> Erin: And me, Erin Larson

>> Sharon: And me, Sharon Murphy!

>> Shannon: A super heroic team to end season Five!

>> Matt: Visit to chip in

>> Shannon: And to see essays, and videos, and photos, and colorful images

>> Matt: You can also get in touch with us through the website, if you want to talk tech

>> Shannon: Or if you need to borrow the weighted blanket

>> Matt: Or the old Fast Track M Audio

>> Shannon: Thanks a lot for joining our family radio hour. And if you haven’t heard the other 57 episodes, find ‘em at

[ Easter Egg:

>> Sharon: Is anyone out there? Is anyone out there?

Companion Chapters

Related essays

Bonus Content

Related videos

Companion Chapters

Related essays

Cast of Characters

Episode guests in order of appearance

Shannon Heaton


World-reared, Boston-based flute player, singer, composer, teacher, and host of Irish Music Stories 

Matt Heaton


Pennsylvania-born, Boston-based guitarist and bouzouki player who also plays music for families

The Heaton List