Shields continues the tradition of American music with a solo-performance that pulls in styles of days-gone-by. Using his National Resonator Guitar or Banjo accompanied by a unique front porch style of foot percussion and harmonica, he uses his voice as an extension of the past. Lou carries a full sound during live performances while sharing stories, thoughts and experiences with the audience. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe for over 8 years and has released 4 full-length albums and 13 EP’s.
Lou grew up in Chicago, living downtown or in the South Suburbs his entire life. While downtown he owned an art gallery in Pilsen at 18th and Halsted. Lou often creates his art from experiences on the road. He will take a picture of an old home in Mississippi and then draw it later. He exhibits his art in Gallery shows or sells prints out of his merch box. He often blends his art and music by creating album art and show posters for himself and other musicians. In addition to being an artist, Lou is also a Professor of Art at a college in the Chicago-area. He enjoys teaching young students about art appreciation and art history a few days a week.
A few years ago, Lou purchased land and a salvaged wood cabin in the Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin (near Viroqua) where he is setting up an off-grid homestead. Lou loves working with wood and reclaimed materials due to his deep connection to the past. The homestead is filled with antiques he found on the road from stopping at roadside estate sales and thrift stores. In addition to the cabin, Lou has built an outhouse and amazing reclaimed shed plus a screened-in porch. Lou hired the Amish to build a barn on his homestead for woodworking and eventually to have community music gatherings. Lou’s current projects are to rebuild a 18080’s hand-hewn log home, a tiny house for guests to visit his property and share in the enjoyment of the outdoors and get his well working or spring pump to create running water on the homestead. Lou enjoys playing his banjo on the front porch of his Kickapoo River Valley Homestead.
In addition to living in the Chicago-area and Kickapoo Township, Wisconsin he also lives in Madison with his wife who resides and works in the area. Lou has no problem splitting his time between three areas – after all they are not that far apart and it gives him a balance of city and country life. Lou’s heart is on the road and he loves the ability to spend his time in different areas.