UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
WITH ALAN K. STOUT

Shawn Caden is a professional musician and currently performs with the bands the Dishonest Fiddlers and Jung Bergo. Caden is a native of Clarks Summit and is a graduate of Abington Heights High School. He also studied audio engineering at Luzerne County Community College. He and his girlfriend, Kate O’Malley, have three children: Phaedra, 5; Aldous, 3; and Ignatia, nine months. They live in Honesdale.
Meet Shawn Caden …

You play guitar, mandolin, saxophone and keyboards. When did you first realize you wanted to become a musician?
When I was in grade school, in fifth grade, I started playing drums in the concert band. I have an older brother who was already into drumming, so I kind of fell into that. When I got to high school, in ninth grade, I picked up the guitar and got into the melodic end of things. And never looked back.

The two bands you’re currently playing with are both doing well. They’ve both recorded original music and each are building a nice following. Can you tell us a little about your work with each project?
With the Dishonest Fiddlers, I just got on board recently (with group founder Dave Brown.) I play mandolin, and I like bluegrass, and Dave writes a lot of original tunes. There’s a couple of festivals coming up that we’re playing, including the Susquehanna Breakdown. Jung Bergo has two CDs, and we’re working on the third. I have a home studio, and we’re doing some stuff there. The first CD was recorded with Bret Alexander at Saturation Acres, and the second CD was mostly recorded at my house. We’ll also be playing some festivals on the summer circuit.

Who were some of your biggest musical influences?
When I first started playing guitar, Pink Floyd was it. First was the grunge area — Nirvana and 311 — but once I started to really want to play guitar, it was David Gilmour. Then, I got into the jam scene, with Phish and the Grateful Dead, and that kind of snowballed on top of all that stuff.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Family stuff. I try to get them to play. I would love to have a house full of musicians. One can only hope. (Laughs.)

Any hobbies? Are you a collector?
Just musical stuff. I love effects pedals. And for whatever reason, friends of mine just dump instruments on my lap. So I have a lot of weird things. I have a zither. I have a rubab. I own two sitars, a harmonium and a Renaissance instrument called a crumhorn. It’s just weird stuff that you’d never see anywhere.

Favorite cities?
Philadelphia and New York. On the West Coast: Portland, Oregon.

Favorite place to vacation?
My family used to rent a house in North Carolina. That was always fun. Beach life for a week was a cool getaway.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
The change of seasons. They’re extreme, but I think I’d get bored living in the same atmosphere all the time.

All-time favorite movies?
Mel Brooks movies. And Monty Python.

All-time favorite TV show?
“Arrested Development.” It’s the most witty comedy I’ve seen. It’s a family you can relate to, but you’d never actually want to be related to those people. (Laughs.)

Favorite food?
I recently got into a more vegetarian diet. Veggie sushi is really good.

Favorite holiday?
Christmas. Everybody’s around. Everybody gets together.

Any pets?
Two dogs, Gryphon and Tyler.

Guilty pleasure?
Whiskey.

Biggest pet peeve?
Communication. Although I’m probably just as guilty as everybody else. But in the day and age of technology when it’s almost impossible not to stay in touch with somebody, communication is still always an issue.

Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends?
I like a lot of Indian classical music. I’ve been playing sitar at my house. That’s an angle that not everybody knows. Other than that, not really. I’m a pretty honest person, to a fault. (Laughs.) Sometimes it gets me in trouble.

Have you had a defining personal moment?
Becoming a father. That’s a big one. I don’t feel the same as I ever had. An emotional rollercoaster. When my daughter was born, I couldn’t see through the tears. It was a life-changing event.

photos by emma black
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