Kevin Shay Johnson 

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Folk Singer, Guitar
Also See Cascadia Folk Quartet; Rick Meyers



Have a listen.  I play acoustic guitar and harmonica and sing folk, blues, and country. Some are original compositions, some old favorites, some traditional.  I play what I love.

"He plays songs in the key of light... Whether it’s something by Woody Guthrie or Tom Waits or a song Johnson’s written, when tossed out in the comforting frame of his deep voice and clean guitar work, the tunes seem impossible not to like.  He’s one of those lucky people who’s doing exactly what he should be doing."
—Andy Parker
  The Oregonian

"Kevin Shay Johnson was given the gift of a songwriter's pen.  He listened well to his teachers; Cohen, Dylan & Prine, but ultimately it's all Kevin... Looking over his shoulder he takes aim with a gutsy, no frills, street smart, earthy voice you feel deep in the middle of your soul."
—Steve Einhorn, singer/performer with Kate Power
   Quality Folk


Kevin Shay Johnson originally hails from Connecticut where, as a teenager, he and his friends taught themselves how to play guitar. He was a designated driver at Woodstock.  True story, folks. In 1980 he rode his bicycle across the country to settle in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and extended family.  He's long been an active part of Portland's thriving folk music scene playing with The Whammadiddle Dingbats, Cascadia Folk Quartet, and Free Range.

In 2007 he released Some Day Fly Away, his first recording of all-original songs.  Love, life, work, and longing frame the emotional canvas on which Kevin paints the stories of his life. Gritty, funny, poetic, and personal—an intimate listening experience, as if he's sitting in your kitchen playing these songs just for you.  Some Day Fly Away also includes Alberta Hardy, violin and Jon Lindahl, slide and lead guitar on a couple of cuts.

Praise for Some Day Fly Away

"An honest and open voice. Very clever, very cool.  My favorite song is Working On My Love (for you) which is tender without being sentimental.  John Lennon taught us that 'warts' are OK to show to others and it takes courage to sing what is typically unsung.  This is a very touching song."

—Marv Ross, producer, songwriter
   Quarterflash, The Trail Band

Kevin also plays with:

Cascadia Folk Quartet Lawrence Huntley: hammer dulcimer, bass; Mick Doherty: hammer dulcimer, bass, vocals; Kevin Shay Johnson: guitar, vocals, harmonica; Chip Cohen: fiddle.

"They combine a gorgeous, crystalline purity of sound with an affably warped sense of humor."

—John Foyston,
  The Oregonian

"The most delightful, effervescent sounds... uplifting..."
Willamette Week

"...Some of the finest folk musicians in Portland, which makes them some of the finest in the whole Northwest.  Their performances are beautiful, exciting and funny."
—Chris Nielson,

Free Range Rick Meyers: banjo, mandolin, autoharp, musical saw, square dance calling; Kevin Shay Johnson: guitar, vocals, harmonica.


Some Day Fly Away —Kevin Shay Johnson, 2007
Slim's Almanac —Kevin Shay Johnson, 2002
Cascadia Folk Quartet —Cascadia Folk Quartet, 1996
Lucky! —The Whammadiddle Dingbats, 1989
Saturday At The Market —The Whammadiddle Dingbats, 1987

An Anachronism In His Own Time —Kevin Shay Johnson, 1984


Copyright 2016

Contact  Nancy Tice    503-774-2511 


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