Marin County-based Shana Morrison has proved that talent runs deep in her family. Like her father, the great blues and jazz vocalist Van Morrison, she makes music on her own terms and earns a nice living doing so.
While she may never achieve the kind of acclaim her old man has, she’s managed to tour internationally, release several well-received records and continually grow the fan base of her bluesy pop rock music.
“It used to bother me (being billed as the daughter of Van Morrison), and I was very annoyed by it,” she said in a recent phone interview. “However, over the years I have learned it is a nice tag to have since I love his music and still sing with him whenever called upon. Also, I think everybody in the musical scene I grew up in had parents who were also quite famous, so it was normal to have that problem.”
Morrison, who plays Folsom’s Powerhouse Pub on April 12, still works alongside Van and just finished a tour cycle with him that ended in late 2014. “Last year I toured with my dad and we played Paris, Barcelona, Montreux, and played many other dates overseas,” she explained. “Over the last three years, I would open his show, sing backup for him during his set, and and also joined him for a couple of duets.”
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She’s also featured prominently on his recently released record, “Duets: Re-working The Catalogue,” which also includes appearances by Steve Winwood, Natalie Cole, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples and others. Shana said his idea was “not to pick Top 10 hits but rather deeper cuts” that would work well for their two, juxtaposing voices.
When talking about her music, Morrison is quick to share the spotlight with her band members, dubbed Caledonia (which is also her middle name). She’s effusive about drummer Dawn Richardson, who also played in San Francisco’s 4 Non-Blondes. “I think singing and drumming are very similar activities since they’re both very aerobic,” she said. “We have an excellent drummer, and I truly believe drummers are the very foundation of the band.”
The band is rounded out by Ricc Sandoval, who handles guitar and background vocals duties; Jason Crosby, who helms the keyboards and violin, and assumes additional backing vocals; and longtime bassist Paul Olguin. All of the members of the band have recorded and toured with Morrison for more than a decade, and Olguin has been by her side for 16 years.
Their closeness comes across in what some might call an unusual practice regimen. “Just by looking at each other, we know what to do these days,” Morrison said. “We’ve got it down after all these years, and now we have an annual rehearsal where I introduce new songs.”
Over the years, Morrison, who grew up in Marin and graduated from Pepperdine University with a business degree in 1993, has not been as prolific as some of her fans would have hoped.
Since releasing her debut release simply titled “Caledonia” in 1999 – a collection of homemade recordings – she has released four full-length releases. Her latest release was 2010’s “Joyride.”
Morrison, however, says the long lapses in between records are intentional.
“My albums come less frequently since I use the money made from previous releases to help finance the next one,” she explained. “I like to play songs out over three to four years and let the audience choose what ones work and (the) ones that don’t. It’s a lot of extra work to do things this way, but financially it makes more sense as well.”
Folsom is familiar territory for Morrison, who said she is looking forward to the Sunday afternoon gig.
“We have been playing Folsom for quite a while now, off and on for over 10 years,” she said. “Sunday afternoon is always a great time for a nice show with dancing. My shows always have good crowds here.”
Shana Morrison & Caledonia
What: A 21-and-over show featuring Marin County-based musician Shana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison
When: 3 p.m. April 12 Sunday
Where: Powerhouse Pub (614 Sutter St., Folsom)
Information: (916) 355-8586, www.powerhousepub.com