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Shawn Smith: The Quiet American

Meet the cult Seattle singer loved by Pearl Jam and The Afghan Whigs.

Know it or not, it’s entirely possible that you’ve heard Shawn Smith singing. A big bearded bear of a man, he has featured on no less than 20 albums in the same number of years, among them a handful from a Pearl Jam side-band and an almost freakish minor hit single.

Sad thing is that it’s still more likely that you haven’t. For despite being blessed with one of the great voices of the past three decades, and having popped up in Seattle during the early 90s grunge gold rush, Smith’s musical life has been lived mostly in the shadows and on dark corners.

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