While known primarily for his mind-blowing high-speed, high-precision guitar work, Shawn Lane's range of musical styles was so diverse and varied that he and his music could not easily be categorized or classified, although he had been labeled by some as a fusion guitarist. Shawn drew his inspiration from a very eclectic, ever-growing, almost all-encompassing list of artists of all modes and media, including everything from classical painters and composers, all the way through today's computerized electronic funk and psychedelic. An avid reader and movie buff, Shawn was nearly a walking encyclopedia and is said to have won every game of Trivial Pursuit with his sister.
Born in Tennessee in 1963 and having lived in Memphis most of his life, at an early age Shawn Lane's musical talents began to stand out, even in the ultra-competitive market of top-notch performers trying to break into the music business in the city considered to be the birthplace of the blues. At age 15, the young guitar prodigy was hired by Black Oak Arkansas, a popular country-rock group at the time, and Shawn played with Black Oak Arkansas at Bill Clinton's inauguration as governor of Arkansas in 1979.
The list of associates that have worked with and/or shared the stage with Lane is nearly as long as Shawn's list of favorite artists. He played on and co-authored albums with many other musical greats in addition to producing his own works. Shawn is also known for inspiring other musicians, including Buckethead, who Shawn said started a new guitar style by unwittingly learning to perform a piece which Shawn had assembled on tape one note at a time, intentionally arranged so that Shawn thought it would be impossible to play in real time.
In his last decade, much of Shawn Lane's work was with Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg on Bardo Records, with whom he toured Europe extensively. Shawn and Jonas explored the Carnatic style of India and grew from a sort of fusion style into a more traditional Indian sound.