While known primarily for his
mind-blowing high-speed, high-precision guitar work, Shawn Lane's range of musical styles was so
diverse and varied that he and his music could not easily be categorized or classified, although he
had been labeled by some as a fusion guitarist. Shawn drew his inspiration from a very eclectic,
ever-growing, almost all-encompassing list of artists of all modes and media, including everything
from classical painters and composers, all the way through today's computerized electronic funk and
psychedelic. An avid reader and movie buff, Shawn was nearly a walking encyclopedia and is said to
have won every game of Trivial Pursuit with his sister.
Born in Tennessee in 1963 and having lived in Memphis most of his life, at an
early age Shawn Lane's musical talents began to stand out, even in the ultra-competitive market of
top-notch performers trying to break into the music business in the city considered to be the
birthplace of the blues. At age 15, the young guitar prodigy was hired by Black Oak Arkansas, a popular country-rock group
at the time, and Shawn played with Black Oak Arkansas at Bill Clinton's
inauguration as governor of Arkansas in 1979.
The list of associates that have worked with and/or shared the stage with Lane is
nearly as long as Shawn's list of favorite artists. He played on and co-authored albums with many
other musical greats in addition to producing his own works. Shawn is also known for inspiring other
musicians, including Buckethead, who
Shawn said started a new guitar style by unwittingly learning to perform a piece which Shawn had
assembled on tape one note at a time, intentionally arranged so that Shawn thought it would be
impossible to play in real time.
In his last decade, much of Shawn Lane's work was with Swedish bassist
Jonas Hellborg on Bardo Records, with whom he toured Europe extensively. Shawn
and Jonas explored the Carnatic style of India and grew from a sort of fusion style into a more
traditional Indian sound.