By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 22, 2009 at 5:22 AM

Matt and Shannon Heaton’s latest release, "Lovers’ Well," explores the joy and heartbreak associated with love. Aptly, the album opens with foreshadowing sounds of upbeat-yet-melancholy instrumentation, and a few songs later, the lyrics echo the complexity of love in the title track that features the line, "Deep is the lovers’ well, higher than heaven, darker than hell."


Recorded in a friend’s A-frame in Cape Cod, "Lovers' Well" is a collection of 14 original -- and somewhat autobiographical --  love songs rooted in traditional Irish music.

The Massachusetts-based husband-wife musical duo returns to Milwaukee -- Shannon’s home town -- in support of the new CD on Wednesday, May 6 at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 for adults or $8 for students.

Shannon provides most of the vocals, flute and whistles; Matt plays guitar, bouzouki (a mandolin-like lute), bodhrán (Irish drum) and contributes vocals, too.

The album explores a variety of aspects of love and relationships, including the heartbreaking "Bay of Bicay" and the joyful, infectious instrumentals "First Date" and "New Married Couple."

Earlier this year, the Chicago edition of the Irish American News named Shannon the female artist of the year, which had deep significance because the couple met and fell in love in the Windy City.

Also, Chicago is where the two committed to learn Irish music together. Since then, the Heatons traveled the United States and Europe, playing and listening to Irish music while connecting with a variety of Irish music communities.

"After years of trying to learn all we can, to fit in and to show people we respect and are dedicated to Irish traditional music, we are finally relaxing a bit and feeling just fine about also bringing in our own musical touches," says Shannon. "For us, traditional music is our foundation, and we are unapologetic about bringing in other stuff which is exciting and authentic for us."

Shannon describes the extended Irish music community as a "meritiocracy.

"Once you demonstrate abilities and dedication to the music, it can be a deeply supportive scene ... you have to pay your dues and continue to play well in order to command respect from your peers and your listeners," says Shannon. "I love this."

The Heatons describe their flavor of Irish music as "traditional and updated,"meaning their classic sound is infused with modern influences. This makes the Heatons’ music appealing to a wider audience.

"I love that a lot of our audience plays amateur to professional music, and I also love that people can come to traditional music from the outside and get something out of it," says Shannon. "The last time we played New York City, we had a bunch of hipsters drinking PBR and bobbing their heads along with traditional reels. Kind of hilarious."

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.