[OutVoice] The first Casa StoneWall House Concert Review

Len Rogers SWS len at stonewallsociety.com
Mon Jun 1 12:38:44 EDT 2009

An Evening with Shawn Thomas by Len Rogers

I had never attended a house concert before. Let alone host one, but that's another story. For here I want to focus on the event and especially the guest star, Shawn Thomas. In retrospect, I could not have picked a better guest for an opening concert. Both the house concert and my household are new to Roanoke. So Shawn shared our entrance in to our local community. Actually it was Shawn's direct support which facilitated the audience! So much for you have to have lots of friends to have a house concert. 

I would love to have had a larger audience for Shawn. However, this dynamic performer and storyteller immediately set out to make this intimate experience the best for all. Something which, Shawn apparently knows a lot about. I had worked with Shawn for a bit over five years. That being via email and interviews. Seeing is believing folks. Seeing Shawn perform, being a part of the show he shares is really an inspiring experience. In the up close and personal setting of the house concert I was able to not only see the interaction between Shawn and others. I felt it. Again, something Shawn does very well. 

Shawn's connection to his music is intense. Even more so is his relationship with his music. While performing Shawn's aura of utter contentment is empowering and mesmerizing. It is almost like witnessing a real merging of two absolute powers. Joining together in a "Pippin-esque" gleeful and free expression of oneness. Emotional reactions to his lyrics are frequent and unshielded. I might add by both Shawn and his listeners. 

I know Shawn's music and to some degree his message. But as for performance/concert I was not prepared for what he delivered. I was entertained first of all. I was also challenged to think and examine. In the most welcome way, as is Shawn. Yes Shawn Thomas is a Contemporary Christian Artist. There was no "preach" to his show. A lot of information on inspiration, which was shared in an open and affirming manner. By that I mean, yes it was spiritual, yes it was Christian, but it also was interesting, inclusive, and happy. 

I admit I can be one of those "battered gay Christians" with a 'tude. But not with what Shawn was sharing. His music, and his passion. Both equally connected and intertwined. Shawn delivered songs which enliven and welcome, brought to life by a vocal gift that would be criminal if not shared. The sensation of joy I experienced was very focused on the honest happiness the performer exhibited and shared through his songs and storytelling. 

Artistically as a concert, Shawn was brilliant. On key, in the moment, and in touch with his audience. No eyes strayed from the performer. Toes and fingers were tapping. Faces were smiling. The just over an hour concert flew by. When Shawn announced I will do one more for you, it was a surprise. And one that I wished would not have occurred so quickly. This was a true concert of an artist's music, words, and passion. One of which I was very happy to be a part.

To say there is no spiritual message and or experience to Shawn's show would be not only a mistake, but an injustice. There is nothing closeted about Shawn Thomas. He makes you proud of that, and brings a strong desire for the same. His "Christian" message is delivered with 100% integrity. This is a man who does; talk the talk, sing the song, and more than aptly walk the walk. When Shawn shares his message there is no need for any demonstrated illumination. Shawn is the example of his message. If you were to look up a definition for the word Christian in a good dictionary, it could say Shawn Thomas. He is what he shares. By the same token, the word artist in the same good dictionary could deliver the same definition. Shawn is a total example of his own creative process. An artist with a message that just by being himself is his art. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the night as a musical experience. I was amazed at the intensity of the personal and spiritual encounter. Combined for a really wonderful and not soon forgotten concert. An open, welcoming, peak into a man of strong character intense talent, and tremendous heart. Who is not afraid to share his strongest beliefs in a way which only open our eyes to accepting the value of us all as individuals. A real musical and spiritual marriage. BRAVO!

More Shawn at http://www.shawnthomasonline.com/

More Casa StoneWall House Concert, later on 6-1-2009 at www.stonewallsociety.com & www.outvoice.net 

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