MEET THE BAND: Marc Lee Shannon (vocals, guitar)
A SESSION PLAYER: Shannon grew up in Akron and got a record deal right out of high school. That didn't quite pan out, so he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical dreams in the late '70s. "I got into a guitar school in Los Angeles and everyone there was better than me," he says. "But I toughed it out and after that I did studio work for 10 years and made 100 records probably. Some were really good and never saw the light of day and some were really bad. I played with Rave-Ups, who were part of a popular post-country scene with Lone Justice and the Beat Farmers, and we used to play the Palomino Club. I had a good run. I was like a poor man's David Lindley." In 1990, he moved back to Northeast Ohio and got into "the corporate world." He did a session with local singer-songwriter Michael Stanley for his first solo effort and has played with Stanley's backing group, the Resonators, ever since. He also plays with Stanley in the Midlife Chryslers.
A GROUP EFFORT: Shannon's new album, Walk This Road, represents his first studio release since 2008's Michael Stanley-produced Any Ordinary Man. It features musical contributions from members of Welshly Arms, the Speedbumps, Shooter Sharp & the Shootouts, the Vindys, Ray Flanagan & the Authorities and more. Shannon recorded the disc locally with local singer-songwriter Ryan Humbert producing and Jim Stewart engineering the sessions at Superior Sound, a studio located just east of downtown. "I took my songs over to Ryan, and I wasn't sure about them, but he convinced me that they were worth it," says Shannon. "Jim Stewart did the recording and he is bad-ass. We set up an amp wall and we just went at it. We used some EarthQuaker pedals too. It has nothing but real sounds on it. It's an organic record. I think you can hear it too."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: The hard rocking title track practically has a Social Distortion feel to it as Shannon belts out the vocals over a distorted guitar riff and heavy drums. The Mark Selby-penned ballad "Back Door to My Heart" features cooing backing vocals and old school organ. "Something Going On" benefits from a bluesy guitar riff and nasally vocals; it comes off as a rootsier Elvis Costello. Shannon effectively channels Randy Newman on the woozy piano ballad "Since You Been Around." "The songs on the record are about transformation," he says. "I hate to talk about being a sober guy because people think that if they like to drink a beer they won't like my music. There are a lot of fun songs and love songs. There are one or two that are tough to sing because they come from a dark room place." For the release show at the Tangier, he'll perform with a 7-piece band featuring musicians who played on the album.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: facebook.com/marcleeshannon
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Marc Lee Shannon performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the Tangier in Akron.