Yvonne Blackwell—Lead vocals, percussion
Michael LaBuono—Keyboards, backing vocals
David Lee—Drums, percussion
Sean Reiter—Guitars, backing vocals
Howard Whitman—Lead vocals, bass guitar
Shadow Merchant is an original progressive rock band based in Philadelphia.
The band got its start in 2007 when radiologists Dr. Sean Reiter and Dr. Paul McGinnis, while working in the same practice, discovered their mutual affinity for prog rock. Both were experienced musicians. Through a mutual friend, Reiter met up with Howard Whitman, a lifelong prog devotee and professional bassist/vocalist.
Two became three, and then another friend joined on keyboards. By 2008, the first incarnation of Shadow Merchant was born, with the band’s name derived from an antiquated term for radiologists. When the keyboardist left, the now-trio set added New Jersey-based keyboardist Donald A. Henney, Jr. to finalize the lineup.
Among Shadow Merchant’s accomplishments are three performances at Philadelphia’s Keswick Theatre as finalists in classic rock station WMGK’s Rock MD competition, as well as four appearances at World Café Live in the Rockin’ Docs benefit event, and a show at NJ Proghouse. The band has also performed on bills with such acclaimed progressive bands as JOLLY and Thank You Scientist.
But the pinnacle of Shadow Merchant’s career was when it was selected to be the Friday night after-party band for the 2014 Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest), an international progressive rock event held each year in Gettysburg, Pa. This appearance also celebrated the release of the band’s first CD, “The Tunnel.”
In 2015, Yvonne Blackwell, a vocalist who sang with the band at its 2014 World Café Live benefit show, joined the band to share lead vocals with Whitman, adding an exciting new dimension to the band’s sound. Later that year, Whitman announced his departure from the band to pursue other projects. Further transitions occurred when McGinnis departed the band in 2016 due to his relocation to California. Henney also left in 2016 to focus on his solo project, Neutron Moon. But Whitman rejoined the band for that year’s Rockin’ Docs benefit appearance, and soon decided to make the reunion permanent.
Setting out to rebuild the band, Shadow Merchant welcomed keyboardist Michael LaBuono and drummer David Lee to the fold in late 2016. With the new lineup solidified, recording of the band’s second CD commenced as rehearsals began for future live shows. The reconstituted Shadow Merchant made its onstage debut on August 18, 2017, playing in that year’s citywide Liberty Music Festival at The Grape Room in a performance that included the live premieres of two new songs from the forthcoming second album, due for release in early 2018.
In September 2017, it was announced that Shadow Merchant would be returning to RoSfest for the 2018 festival, playing both the Friday and Saturday night after-party shows on May 4 and 5. In a unique twist, the Friday show will be an acoustic performance by the band, while the Saturday party will feature an electric set.