Faces of Swallow Hill: Olivia Shaw

Olivia Shaw plays fiddle at a distanced, backyard practice last fall.

In 2019 as part of our 40th Anniversary celebrations, our then Social Media Manager Olivia Shaw started a spotlight feature called Faces of Folk, where we asked members of the community to share their thoughts on folk music, community, and memories of Swallow Hill. From Harry Tuft to members of The Mother Folkers and more, we had a wonderful time catching up and learning more about our people.

We are bringing the occasional series back in 2021 and we are calling it Faces of Swallow Hill, and there is no one better to reintroduce the series with than Olivia! One of our favorite fiddle players, Olivia now teaches virtual lessons from her home while keeping her skills sharp and her bow at the ready for when live music returns.

We asked Olivia what she’s been up to in the last year, what she’s learned from music since things shut down, and what she’s looking forward to in 2021. Here’s what she shared with us:

“This incredibly strange year turned out to be a reset button for my creativity! Downtime away from gigs has allowed me to truly reflect on the music that’s important to me and dream about the stuff I want to create moving forward. I’m lucky enough to have a few close friends who I’ve been playing with regularly to keep the dream alive, but the lack of jams and live music just breaks my heart.”

Olivia Shaw and bandmates
Olivia and her friends mask up and perform when they can.

“With so many aspects of normal life stripped away, I got back to the reasons I fell in love with music in the first place! That love has never faded, but the challenges of 2020 reminded me of the medicinal power of music. There were many instances where a song was the most honest way of communicating with friends from a distance, and even more times when the only way I could relieve the year’s pressure was by writing or playing.”

“In 2021, I hope that we see a return to live music, even though we’ll have to get creative about doing that safely! I think we’ve all realized that we can’t take anything for granted, and I’m looking forward to being surrounded by a group of people connected by a common passion for a band or genre or experience. I never appreciated the irreplaceable bliss of those moments and I cannot wait to get them back.”

Olivia Shaw thumbs up
Olivia gives us the thumbs up and looks forward to the return of live music.