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Sean Walshe Debuts New American Son

sean walshe

Sean Walshe is a veteran singer, songwriter, and activist who is making his solo debut in 2024. He got his start in music back in the 1990s. However, life and work would ultimately lead him on some very different paths. An Irish-American native of Long Island, New York, Sean Walshe’s bio tells tales of his surviving forty foot waves on a deep sea fishing boat, and managing the musical education of violent criminals in a maximum security penitentiary. 

Not long ago, a chance meeting with his old friend and producer Rob Fabrioni sparked something in Walshe. He started writing, and soon had an album’s worth of material on his hands. He and Farioni formed a world-class band of musicians including legends like Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), Blondie Chaplin (Beach Boys), and Ivan Neville.

“American Son” is the first song, second single, and title track from Sean Walshe’s forthcoming debut album. The song was released worldwide via all major streaming services on January 19, 2024. Walshe introduces the 13-song set with a cool and bluesy organic groove as he delivers a scathing critique of the mess that has become of the great American experiment.

The song sets the tone for a deeply soulful, insightful, and heartfelt collection of songs from a man who has seen some stuff, and came out the other side stronger. The album was recorded at Rax-Trax Studio in Chicago and Bill’s Studio in Los Angeles, California. Throughout, Sean Walshe’s dream team backing-band lays down blues grooves, roots-rockers, and indie-folk laments built on equal parts Nashville, New Orleans, and New York.

From the wistful yet hopeful “Winds of Change” to the stirring orchestral Americana reading of “The Lord’s Prayer”, American Son is a visceral experience. The stories on the album are alive with emotion, as though Sean Walshe is reading from scribbled notes of unfiltered memories. 

He drops some clever Dylan-style wordplay on tracks like “The Vibe Song” and “Highway 99”, and then rocks out Springsteen-style on “Fortune Favors the Brave”. Tough love tracks like “Epiphany #4” and “If I Could” recall the sardonic wit of the great John Prine. Sean Walshe even drops some Jimmy Buffet island vibes on tracks like “Like No Other” and the reggae-infused commentary of “Small Price to Pay”. It is a sound inspired by the greats of the past, but it is ultimately and uniquely Sean Walshe.

Check out the “American Son” single below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Dive : Pop & Rock playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming service. And get ready for the American Son LP, coming early 2024. We had the chance to chat with Sean Walshe about the record. Read his answers to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.

Sean Walshe – “American Son”

8 Questions with Sean Walshe

sean walshe

Where are you from?

Sean Walshe: I was made in Ireland and born in Queens, NY. Grew up on Long Island and went to college in Milwaukee, bounced around until I landed in Florida some 20 years ago… still I feel like a pilgrim here… I believe that I will be on the road soon.

How long have you been making music?

I wrote my first song in 1980, Then there was not much music until I wrote and recorded a fantastic unreleased album in 1998. From there, I fell off the planet for a while… A long while… As I got back on my feet, I eventually served as the Music Director at 2 Florida State Maximum Security Prisons. 2009 – 2015; then recorded American Son eight years later. I already have a new album written and ready to record…not planning a long break in between this time around.

Who are the musicians involved in your project

Wow; so many talented souls took part; not to drop names, but let’s drop names…

  • Kenny Aronoff (Mellencamp/Fogarty et al) on Drums / Percussion
  • Blondie Chaplin (Beach Boys/The Band/The Stones) Guitar and vocals
  • Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk/The X-Pensive Winos) Piano, B-3 Organ
  • Nicholas Tremulis (NTO) Guitar, Vocals, Arranger
  • Paul Mertens (Poi Dog Pondering/Brian Wilson’s Arranger) Saxophone, Arranger
  • Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering) Violin
  • Woody Goss (Vulpeck) Piano/ B-3 Organ
  • Rob Fraboni (The Beach Boys, The Band, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Eric Calpton…) Producer

So many others…

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Singer Songwriters: Guthrie to Berry to Fogarty to Cash to Sheeran. Rock, Folk, Country, I was very heavily influenced by the NY songwriters (Simon, Chapin, Joel, Diamond) and of course branches of the Bob Dylan Tree…Springsteen, Petty… Irish artists… Luke Kelly, Bob Geldof, Sinead O’Connor… then there are authors: Steinbeck, Joyce, Shakespeare…

What is your greatest non-musical influence?

Since he’s passed; my father. I got to know him there at the end. Blessed for that. He immigrated to the U.S. with an eighth education from rural Connemara, Ireland. He busted his butt to make sure we never lacked anything. He was a great provider that way. Much better than myself. A great American immigration story… He left a legacy to be proud of. I also grew to recognize and understand his mental health issues. I have the same. My music is my answer to those demons and issues.

What inspired you to create this project?

The realization that I was one or two real estate closings away from giving up on the calling. I have always felt that I was called to be a songwriter. To write songs that mattered for a time; songs that connected with people and helped them through a season or two in their lives. I was having comfortable success as a Real Estate Broker and could foresee a plan that I could coast… I had figured it out… the dark days were over… and then driving back from a closing, an angel that looked like Humphrey Bogart came in through my open sunroof, grabbed me by the collar and gave me one of his classic slaps, to snap out of it. I was called to be a songwriter. “What was I waiting for?” … I was in the studio with the entire album written and sequenced 6 months later…

What are your plans for the future (musically)?

I am hoping that with a combination of great songs and an innovative marketing plan to break the American Son album and have a few songs chart. To start from a zero fan base to one that is growing steadily. To grow organically, completely outside the machine of the music industry. To contact bloggers and playlisters directly. To have likes to share with likes.. to reach hurting people and spread good words. To write and sing songs that people relate to.

Once the first song starts to make some noise, I would then very humbly strat calling some of the players and artists in my phone’s contact list… ask them if they would like to join a band and if not, who they might refer me to. My plan would be to put together a phenomenal band and be prepared to hit the road and work hard for the next five years… “if you can see it you can make it”.

I have 2 fully produced albums recorded and a third written and ready to record… the songs are there…

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I plan to devote my music and future success to positively impacting three issues that I am passionate about:

  • Mental Health
  • Hunger / Homelessness
  • Prison Reform

Don’t be a talker, be a doer… 

All the best, Sean Walshe