Guitarist and singer/songwriter Shannon Curfman burst upon the blues and roots rock scene in 1999 with her major-label debut for Arista Records, Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions. Her exceptionally well-produced, well-sequenced debut album won her rave reviews all over the U.S. and Canada, aside from lots of airplay, even on commercial radio stations in the U.S. Curfman made several U.S. club tours in support of Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions, and garnered huge amounts of publicity, because she was only 14 at the time. Now in her late teens, Curfman may choose to take a break from the rigors of the blues and rock & roll lifestyle to instead attend college, as the young Curfman is as academically bright as she is a multifaceted guitarist and songwriter. Curfman, raised in Fargo, ND, and now based in Minneapolis, says her influences are broad-based: Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Prince, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Rory Block, Robert Johnson, Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, and Chaka Khan. At the time of her debut in 1999, Curfman said her goal was to be like Sheryl Crow: a person who writes, sings, plays a lot of instruments, and also produces her own records.
The home-schooled Curfman co-wrote seven of the 11 songs on Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions, and several of the album's opening tracks were radio-ready, including the bluesy "True Friends" and "No Riders." She was also joined on her debut by fellow Fargo native Jonny Lang, who is four years her elder. Naturally, Curfman could not have made the splash she did without the support of her parents. Her dad is an engineer for the Burlington Northern Railroad and her mom works to oversee Curfman's home schooling and general progress as an up and coming musician. At the time her debut was released in 1999, in the midst of a tour and several television appearances in support of it, the 15-year old said, "This is what I want to do with my life. It's cool being young and knowing what you want in life. I still have time to go to college if I want. I love every part of this -- traveling, meeting people, and playing music of course. Just as long as I'm playing music, I'm happy." Curfman, Lang, and several other rising stars are rejecting the teen group model for success these days, and instead are embracing the music of their parents, blues, classic R&B, and blues-rock. This is an encouraging trend and something many fans would like to see more of, because for the blues to survive, it has to continue to evolve. Curfman takes blues and blues-rock in many refreshing, different directions on Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions. ~ Richard Skelly