McNally brings Smoke Signals to Vail |

McNally brings Smoke Signals to Vail

Courtney Riley
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado – While some folks call her music soul, blues, folk or even country, Shannon McNally calls it “North American Ghost Music.”

“There’s a simpleness and a deep tone to it,” McNally said during a phone interview last week. “There’s no irony in my show.”

Her “ghost music” will fill the air of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Tuesday, when she takes the stage with her band Smoke Signals at 6:30 p.m.

Jen Mason, the general manager of the Ford Amphitheater, said she thinks people in the valley will enjoy McNally’s show because she is a “very young, up-and-coming artist.”

Her music is distinctive, she said, because she is the lead guitar player, as well as the lead singer.

“I’m a powerful singer on most accounts,” McNally said. “And you don’t see too many women lead guitar players.”

Expressing emotion

Music is the best way to express emotion, McNally said. She loves the energy exchange that occurs between her and the audience when she performs.

“That’s why in ancient religions, all of the prayers are in song,” she said. “When you learn a song, it stays in your brain in a different way; that’s why people chant things for centuries. It stays in the airwaves.”

She described her performances as “old-school rock ‘n’ roll shows” with “very little fluff.” On Tuesday night, she will focus on music from her newest album, “Western Ballad,” which includes a title track written by the famed poet Allen Ginsberg in 1972, but McNally also will play a broad catalog of her songs from older albums.

McNally said she is excited to come to Vail because it’s such a beautiful place. Although she doesn’t have much free time while touring, she wants to spend time outside.

“When I’m in Colorado, I try to get up on a hike,” she said. “Even if I just have half an hour, I try to do something.”

Courtney Riley is an intern at the Vail Daily. Email comments about this story to

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