The first time I met Shannon Lawson, he was out on his radio tour promoting his
first CD. I was amazed by his big voice and his attitude -- he was as much an
artist as a performer. Over the years, I have run into him a few times, and I
have to tell you, the same things that impressed me about him then still do. He
is all about the music.
The Acoustic Livingroom Session is Shannon along with a couple friends,
Eddie Dunbar and Scott Shipley, playing the music they love. This is raw, pure
music. It almost defies a category; it’s folksy, bluegrassy and country.
They kick it off with “When I was a Cowboy,” a true cowboy song, including the
obligatory, “come-a-cow-cow-yippee, come-a-cow-cow-yippee-yippee-yay.” It’s fun.
Then comes “Bad, Bad, Bad,” a story about my last two wives (not really, but it
could be). Great guitars and vocals on this upbeat number. “Smokin’
Grass” is a cool bluegrass number about a couple guys jammin’ bluegrass music
(that’s the “grass” they’re “smoking,” in case you’re wondering).
“What Doesn’t Kill You (Jimmy’s Song)” is an anthem type song, with each verse
depicting another person working through life’s problems: “When life gets rough,
don’t give up, reach deep inside of yourself, ‘cause what doesn’t kill you makes
you stronger.” “All Because You Said I Do” takes the tempo down, and is a
soulful musical letter to the one Lawson loves. “Ruby’s Got Her Red Dress On”
has an old-time rock feel to it, and Lawson just wails on this one.
“Redneck Love Gone Bad” is a cool song, mid-tempo, with an interesting melody;
you can’t help but sing this one when you’re done listening to it. Then comes
“Banjo Queen,” totally bluegrass, while “Good Bad Boy” is an old-style country
song, kind of like a Johnny Cash tune without the outlaw stuff.
One of my all-time favorite songs is Shannon’s “Goodbye on a Bad Day,” and this
is the way I first heard the song…it’s raw, painful, emotional…no polish, just
his voice and the guitar. It’s great. Then they do some more stuff from his
first CD, Chase the Sun, all of which sounds great in this venue. A few
more bluegrass stories, and they end with “Easy Goin’ Woman,” a song about
living on the road with his girl: “Hey, hey mama, aint this the life, well we
don’t know where we’re gonna sleep tonight. We got no worries and we got no
plans, an easy goin’ woman and a travelin’ man.”
People have written that some of the new artists are “too cool for country,” and
most often that is another way of saying that they aren’t playing country music.
Shannon lost his label but continues on, and in my opinion, is certainly too
cool for the suits that run country music, but God willing, he’ll keep making
music for us. Musically, this CD is a gem. If you are music fan -- country,
bluegrass, folk, acoustic, whatever -- buy this disc. You won’t be disappointed,
and at the same time you will be supporting an artist that needs and deserves
our support. Keep up the good work Shannon; we still hear ya…and a BIG Yee Haw