Sound Checks

"I never did think that I had enough talent to go out on my own," says Shannon. "But I found that a lot of the artists that we did shows with, in my opinion, couldn't sing as well as I could. And they weren't playing an instrument like I was. That really inspired me, and I decided since I could sing and also play guitar, I should go ahead and put my own band together."

Shannon's band soon became a top attraction in Memphis, the true measure of Shannon's appeal marked by the fact that his shows attracted Memphis locals as well as tourists taking in watered-down Beale Street.

Break the Ice, Shannon's debut for the Bullseye Blues label, was released in 1994, but it wasn't until his 1996 follow-up, Midnight in Memphis, that he really gained widespread critical acclaim. The recording made many end-of-year best-of lists and opened the door for touring opportunities at clubs and blues festivals across America and Europe.

Shannon released his third Bullseye recording, All in Time, earlier this year, and it showcased his ability to update the famed Memphis soul sound of the '70s for a new generation of listeners. Produced by the legendary Willie Mitchell (Al Green's producer), the record should further solidify his reputation as one of today's best blues and R&B musicians. (TP)

Contributors: Terry Perkins, Randall Roberts

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