Wood & Wire North of Despair
released April 13, 2018 on Blue Corn Music
“…they find their stride in stories not about your standard, romanticized American west, but instead about the honest labor that raises up the state on a consistent basis.”
“For Wood & Wire, part of that “Texas sound” emerges from the inspiration they get from songwriters before them, and the band’s refusal to romanticize anything about the Lone Star State’s culture or history.”
“Kamel’s songs are loquacious and gritty. Keeping things just above the haze of right and wrong but aimed straight at no frills. The stories carry the music as the music perpetuates the stories. Tastefully placated on interplay and improvisation, the meat of this record is the messages and characters”
The Texas songwriter tradition casts a long shadow today, and Austin-based Americana roots juggernauts Wood & Wire can easily rattle off a list of songwriters that inspire them, from Willie Nelson to James McMurtry and everyone in between. But ask them about what it is about Texas that brought us so many great songwriters, and they stop cold. That’s because they don’t romanticize Texas’ culture or its past; they’re too busy working their asses off making new music, writing new songs. This isn’t a land made for quiet reflection, it’s a land made for hard work. Respect for honest labor is a central theme in Wood & Wire’s new album, North of Despair (out April 13, 2018 on Blue Corn Music), with songs populated by people like songwriter Tony Kamel’s own grandfather, who built the family’s hunting lodge in Llano, Texas with his own two hands. The characters on the album live large, and aren’t afraid to share their opinions about the modern world. This kind of vivid, haunting songwriting focused on lives spent deep in the countryside is a hallmark of Texas songwriting. But it’s the melding of this hard country songwriting with high-octane bluegrass instrumentation that makes for Wood & Wire’s signature sound. Artists like John Hartford have trod this ground before, blending great songs, bluegrass virtuosity, and a strong sense of place, and Wood & Wire aim to pave the way for Austin’s roots scene, bursting out of the giant expanses of the state with a fully-fledged vision for a new Texan sound. On North of Despair, they bring the ferocity of their live shows to the studio, whipping through barn-burning anthems about hard people in hard times.
Wood & Wire could have returned to Nashville to record North of Despair, but the pull of home was too strong, so they headed out to Dripping Springs, just outside Austin in the Texas Hill Country. Holing up at renowned studio The Zone, they cut the tracks mostly live to tape, with minimal editing. Touring hard for the past three years helped solidify the songs, and you can feel the impromptu joy in each track. Bassist Dom Fisher lends a buoyancy to the music that mixes racing bluegrass bass lines with the backbeat of a great country bass player. A highlight of the group is the interplay between mandolinist Billy Bright and banjo player Trevor Smith, both of whom seem to delight in pugilistic bouts that romp through the songs, as much country-funk as it is Monroe & Scruggs. Though Kamel is the lead singer and songwriter, each band member contributes compositions and songwriting to the new album, a key feature of Wood & Wire’s democratic nature. Bright’s “Summertime Rolls” propels a fire-breathing mandolin line, but he takes a more philosophical stance on “As Good As It Gets.” Fisher’s co-write with Texas songwriter Robin Bernard’s “Texas” has all the balletic grace of a Western à la Townes Van Zandt. Kamel taps not only into his family’s history in Texas, but also his love for the beautiful natural environments of the state; in “Awake in the Wake” he references the sound of cypress trees breaking apart during a thousand year flood.
A life in music can be full of extremes, both high and low, but Wood & Wire have learned to take it all in stride. With the support of loved ones, they persevere along the middle path, “south of rich, north of despair,” as they sing on the title track. Never ones to shy away from hard work, Wood & Wire rely on their humble acoustic instruments and their own hands to make music meant to last. As Kamel sings “I ain’t trying to be the kingpin, I’m just trying to make a living.”
Fresh off the win of TWO International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards, Volume Five has emerged with new music being released on Mountain Fever Records.
Founded by Glen Harrell (fiddle & vocals), Volume Five includes the talents of Patton Wages (banjo & vocals), Colby Laney (guitar & vocals), Chris Williamson (bass & vocals), and Jacob Burleson (mandolin & vocals). These five musicians together blend into a band with true and proven staying power. With countless IBMA, SPBGMA, and Dove Award nominations to their credit, the band walked away with IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year honors just last month in Raleigh, NC. Their previous album, Drifter, received rave reviews, produced several charting singles, and hit Billboard’s Top 5 Best-Selling Bluegrass Albums chart.
With their career moving with an upward trajectory, Volume Five is coming out of the gate strong with “Now That’s A Song,” the first single from their new album. “I had been looking for a good uptempo song and contacted Bob Minner to see if he had anything fresh to send me,” says Glen Harrell. “This one caught my ear right away and I thought ‘now that’s a song.’ A few moments later, after reaching the chorus, I realized that was actually the title of the song! Bob co-wrote this with Shawn Lane and we think it’s a winner!”
With an unexpected, almost subtle dobro kickoff, “Now That’s A Song” blazes into a spirited, straight-up bluegrass melody supporting a sweet lyric telling of a long-time love. Harrell’s lead vocal moves flawlessly with the words while the makeup of V5 proves exactly why they are turning a genre of music noted for its musical dexterity, on its ear.
Nashville, TN — Dark Shadow Recording delivers a singing bluegrass Valentine with today’s release of Crêpe Paper Heart, the label’s second solo album from 2016 IBMA Fiddler and Female Vocalist Of The Year, Becky Buller.
This collection features new songs from the pen of Buller (2015 IBMA Songwriter Of The Year) and her co-writers, performed by past and present members of her ridiculously talented road band, along with an award-winning line-up of guests, including Grammy and IBMA award winners Rhonda Vincent, Sam Bush, The Fairfield Four, Rob Ickes and more.
“It wasn’t supposed to take this long,” said Buller, alluding to the four years lapsed since her DSR debut recording, ‘Tween Earth And Sky.
“But so much good life got in our way!” she continued. “And I’m glad we took our time rather than rushing just to get something out. This album completely changed in character from what we originally planned it to be: we leaned more heavily on my road band; we were able to connect with The Fairfield Four and our other wishlist of special guests…. I’m so proud of it. I sincerely hope you enjoy the new tunes.”
“Becky Buller is a force of nature and her road band is built of serious musicians, all chomping at her heels,” said producer and DSR label head Stephen Mougin.
“On this project, we really wanted to showcase the sound that the audience gets to hear, while maintaining a platform for Becky to collaborate with heroes and friends. In digging through Becky’s phenomenal songwriting catalog, we paired down a substantial list into a collection that represents the flavor of her touring group and highlights her powerful fiddle and vocal prowess. Becky always strives for perfection and class, driving those around her to do the same. The new album shows that in spades! Dark Shadow Recording is proud of Becky and her accomplishments and proud to be a part of Crêpe Paper Heart.”
Crêpe Paper Heart mainly features past and present members of the Becky Buller Band (or B^3, as they affectionally shorten it for social media): Ned Luberecki (banjo); Prof. Dan Boner (mandolin/guitar/vocals); Brandon Bostic (guitar); Daniel “Hulk” Hardin (bass/vocals); and Nate Lee (fiddle).
Special guests are: Sam Bush; The Fairfield Four; Rob Ickes; Claire Lynch; Stephen and Jana Mougin; Frank Solivan; Rhonda Vincent; and Erin Youngberg (FY5).
The album is made up almost entirely of what has been dubbed “Powerful, Original Bluegrass Music,” a mix of secular and sacred songs written by Buller along with co-writers Lynda Dawson (“John D. Champion”); Eric Church band member Jeff Hyde (“Speakin’ To That Mountain”); Sarah Majors (“Heart Of The House”); Tony Rackley (“The Rebel And The Rose”); Blue Highway’s Tim Stafford (“Calamity Jane”); and Bobby Starnes (“Maybe”).
The only cover song on this collection is the bonus track, “Phoenix Arise”, from the pen of Nashville songwriter Lisa Aschmann and Berkley School Of Music songwriting professor Mark Simos.
The Becky Buller Band (with guest vocalists Stephen and Jana Mougin) recorded “Phoenix Arise” and originally released it as a digital download for a donation of any amount at the MadeliaStrong.com website to help the people of Madelia, Minn., who were affected by a devastating fire in their downtown district the night of Feb. 3, 2016. The businesses are now rebuilt and reopen. Thank you to all who donated and downloaded!
Buller has received six IBMA awards thus far in her career, five of those in the past three years, including the history-making combo win of 2016 Fiddler and Female Vocalist; she is the first person ever to win in both instrumental and vocal categories. She is the first woman to ever receive the IBMA’s coveted Fiddler Of The Year award.
She also had some Grammy award excitement this past month when The Infamous Stringdusters won a 2018 Best Bluegrass Album trophy for their Laws Of Gravity release. Buller co-wrote the opening track, “Freedom”, with Duster fiddler Jeremy Garrett. Buller also participated in Special Consensus’ 2012 Best Bluegrass Grammy nominated record Scratch Gravel Road as sole writer of the title track.
My favorite term to use when I’m talking about Chris Jones & the Night Drivers is “classy-grass.” The group’s music is smooth and tasteful, featuring some of the best, most thoughtful songwriting of almost any current bluegrass group. You’re not likely to hear them mash in B, but the contemplative melodies and lyrics they do offer tend to linger in your mind long after the show or album has ended. Their newest release for Mountain Home Music Company, Made to Move, is the latest in a long string of solid albums for the band and has already spawned a number one song with lead single, I’m a Wanderer.
Like usual, the album is heavy on original music, with all but two tracks written or co-written by a member of the band. Jones and bass player Jon Weisberger are both extremely talented songwriters, and they contribute some heavy-hitters here. One of my favorites is the bluesy All the Ways I’m Gone, a jaunty warning to a woman who hasn’t been doing right by the singer. If she doesn’t change her ways, then “late each night when you toss and turn, then you can count all the ways I’m gone.” Range Road 53 is an up-tempo “going home” number, with the racing melody mimicking the singer’s drive across the prairie to the home of his youth. Gina Clowes, the most recent addition to the band, sets the track’s pace nicely with her banjo playing.
Fiddle from guest Megan Lynch Chowning adds to the lonesome vibe on Silent Goodbye, a poignant tale about a woman whose actions have always spoken louder than her words, especially once she decided on goodbye. Living Without, a solo contribution from Jones, tackles life after heartbreak; guest Jeremy Garrett’s sunny fiddle gives the number an optimistic feel. Even more positive, and also from Jones’s pen, is Raindrops Fell, a gentle, country-tinged song about falling in love. Careful listeners will enjoy the clever wordplay in the chorus.
Other highlights on the album include a pair of songs from Weisberger, Thomm Jutz, and Charley Stefl. The aforementioned I’m a Wanderer is an excellent slice of contemporary bluegrass; Mark Stoffel’s mandolin and Garrett’s fiddle intertwine to create a compelling melody, and Jones offers a strong guitar line, as well. The Old Bell is an intriguing take on the Civil War home front, sharing the story of a town’s sacrifice of their church bell: “To an army starved for weaponry, she might provide some hope.” The lyrics are vivid and crystal clear, and Jones’s reading of the song is reverential and mournful at the same time.
ans of good instrumental music will be pleased to know there are two such offerings here, Clowes’ Last Frost and Stoffel’s What the Heck?!. The former is crisp and bright, allowing Clowes and Stoffel to play off of each other for most of the song. While there are hints of more progressive bluegrass in the melody, there also seems to be a touch of old time or even Celtic music. The latter is an energetic romp, leaning more toward the traditional side of things, with some finger acrobatics from Stoffel.
Made to Move is a thoroughly enjoyable album, with a nice mixture of tempos and subjects. Though many of the songs here deal with popular bluegrass themes like lost love, rambling, and going home, they’re not clear-cut imitations of classics and standards. Chris Jones & the Night Drivers offer music that is new and fresh, and for that I’m always glad.
Released a little over a year after Chris Thile took over as host of the public radio variety show A Prairie Home Companion, Thanks for Listening collects ten Song of the Week features from his inaugural season. Each song was an original written for that week and premiered live on the show. Finding a common theme among personal, societal, and political topics in some of the songs — namely, the art of listening — Thile headed to the studio with producer Thomas Bartlett to record selections for a cohesive album. On these versions, the mandolin virtuoso covers stringed instruments except bass and viola, and sings lead, though he’s joined on some songs by guest vocalists Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, and Gaby Moreno, all Prairie alumnae under Thile.
One of the album’s flashier mandolin performances can be found on the spare “Balboa,” whose multicultural wanderlust receives intricate and nuanced accompaniment. By and large, though, Thanks for Listening puts a premium on songs over chops, not that there’s any lack of instrumental proficiency here. An atmospheric track like “Feedback Loop,” for instance, uses a slow tempo, keyboards, and echo along with acoustic instruments. After setting an intentionally lethargic tone, lyrics get at our ability to filter unwelcome opinions on social media and elsewhere (“Feedback Loop, I play you to soothe my closed eyes/Closed mind/Open wounds/Open hate for anyone out of the Feedback Loop”). Later, the poppier “Falsetto” grapples with the constant derision, real and imagined, from a post-election Donald Trump, including what he might have to say about an activist musician. Other songs address fatherhood, family gatherings, and friendship in the context of the time’s technology and politics.
Despite its more collaborative origins, Thanks for Listening plays like a singer/songwriter album from Thile, one with moments of humor, poignancy, dread, and playfulness. Particularly “for anyone trying to hear through the din of a boorish year,” it captures the Zeitgeist of the first half of 2017 with a very human touch.
It’s hard to imagine a better producer for Chris Hillman than Tom Petty, who pledged a proud allegiance to the Byrds with his 1976 debut. That was the same year Hillman began his solo career, putting both the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers behind him, and if that record didn’t burn up the charts, he wound up finding commercial success in the ’80s as part of the Desert Rose Band. Once that group ran its course, Hillman and fellow Desert Rose Band member Herb Pedersen settled into a groove where they’d record and tour in a variety of configurations. Pedersen produced The Other Side, the 2005 album Hillman assumed was his farewell, but Pedersen convinced Petty to produce a new record and Hillman agreed, winding up with the warm, wonderful Bidin’ My Time. Designed as an intentional stroll through Hillman‘s back pages, the album opens up with “The Bells of Rhymney,” one of several Byrds songs here. “She Don’t Care About Time,” a song written by Gene Clark, is here alongside the rarity “Here She Comes Again,” for which Hillman plays bass for the first time in decades. These are conscious evocations of the Byrds‘ signature jangle, but on the whole, Bidin’ My Time‘s heart belongs to the burnished folk and country of Hillman‘s latter-day records. It’s a cozy sound, one that feels as intimate as a front porch but is delivered with the precision of seasoned pros, and having old tunes — including sweet covers of the Everly Brothers‘ “Walk Right Back” and Tom Petty‘s “Wildflowers” — threaded in between the excellent new tunes from Hillman helps make Bidin’ My Time feel like an understated summation of everything Hillman‘s accomplished in his long, varied career.
Situated in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, there is a small town of Belcher. Listen closely and you might hear what is first thought to be the angels singing. It is the sweet, crystal clear, high tenor voice of Belcher’s own multi-talented son of Bluegrass. Add in his powerful and precise Mandolin, a few licks of his Guitar, Banjo, Bass and Dobro, you have the complete package of Kevin Prater. Kevin began his musical voyage at the age of four. Encouraged and mentored by his Uncle and biggest fan, Boone Estep. At age 10, he formed his first band “Elkhorn Grass” . Elkhorn Grass enjoyed 11 years of touring together. Now, over thirty years later, Kevin has traveled millions of miles, played in 49 States and 23 countries. Kevin has moved from being one of the best sidemen in Bluegrass to leading his own talented and unique band, from the hills of Appalachia, creating that Pure Kentucky Sound of the The Kevin Prater Band.
The Kevin Prater Band grew from a long musical association between Kevin Prater and Tom Timberlake. Beginning with the Timmy Cline Band in 1994 and continuing with Redwing in later years. Years into Kevin’s tenure with The James King Band, Tom began encouraging Kevin to do his own music, with his own band. Tom’s persistence paid off. He put the fire under Kevin to pursue his dream of fronting his own band. Soon they were forming The Kevin Prater Band. They started picking together again and working on new music with a couple of local musicians, playing their first show as “The Kevin Prater Band” in 2009. Kevin has been blessed to showcase his many talents through out his amazing career. His solid rythmn and lead is a driving force of the KPB sound. His vocals are the backbone of the group, which the music is built around. Kevin has surrounded himself with veterans of Bluegrass Music, enabling them to create their unique style of Bluegrass and Gospel Music they are quickly becoming famous for.
Danny Stiltner, is one of the most talented bass players in eastern Kentucky. Danny and Kevin have known each other since childhood, when they used to play local shows around their area. They always said they would love to play together in a band, but didn’t know so many years would go by before it would come to pass. Danny is carrying on a legacy started by his father Blake Stiltner. Danny also contributes to the band vocally.
Tom Timberlake, Is multi talented playing banjo and guitar and singing harmony and lead vocals. Tom knows how to accent the vocals and other instruments and make them truly shine. His harmonies are second to none. He goes out on a limb to make everything work perfectly in the band.
Jake Burrows, Jake, as well as his brother Adam, come to the band with a huge resume of Bluegrass knowledge and experience for their young age. Heavily influenced by Earl Scruggs style, Jake brings a firery
Banjo to the KPB as well as an emotion filled Dobro. Jake has a vast knowledge of Bluegrass music, which is evident in his ability to sing any part.
Adam Burrows, Older brother to Jake, Adam brings an energetic fiddle and the ability to dance the stage while playing and singing. His energy keeps his elder band mates on their toes and entertain crowds. Adam is a true Traditionalist when it comes to Bluegrass. Taking time to learn original styles of many legends in order to preserve the music the way it was mint to be played.
The Kevin Prater Band sound comes from a wide range of influences and musical heroes. The Original Seldom Scene, The Country Gentlemen, Osborne Brothers, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Red Allen, The Stanley Brothers, Boone Estep & The Ramblin Grass are among the different styles of music they have all admired and studied together throughout the years. Also steeped in the tradition of Gospel music, they pride themselves on the a capella hymns and great gospel songs that people have come to enjoy. The band also includes Classic Country and Vintage Rock in their repertoire, insuring no two shows of The Kevin Prater Band are the same.
Members of the band are great friends, enjoy making great music and look forward to a long future together. The band enjoys traveling, reconnecting with old friends, making new fans and hope their music will bring attention to the “Pure Kentucky Bluegrass & Gospel Music” they have become known for. Watch for Kevin Prater and The Kevin Prater Band at a show near you. Great things are happening and they want you to be a part of it.
3x IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year and daughter of bluegrass Dale Ann Bradley celebrates her musical heritage with new original tracks, a classic rock cover and a timeless tribute to Bill Monroe.
“I grew up in a tar and paper covered shack right near Loretta Lynn’s childhood home,” reflects Dale Ann Bradley on her rustic origin in the hills of east Kentucky as a hardscrabble preacher’s daughter. ”It was very different. It was not easy,” she says. And even as a girl, she knew she wanted more. With Somewhere South of Crazy (available August 30th), this three-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year shares what has shaped her life and music, by going deeper—deeper into bluegrass, deeper into her own musical passions, deeper into her own history as a veteran entertainer who spent years singing country music alongside her ‘grass at Kentucky’s venerable Renfro Valley.
The result is a set that ranges from first-generation bluegrass classics through long-cherished favorites to brand new songs from Bradley and her friends—but always, always with her incomparably rich voice and east Kentucky sensibilities right at the center.
The title track provided Bradley with some especially enjoyable moments. “We had the best time writing,” she says of writing—and singing—partner Pam Tillis. “I just love her. We sat down, and she had that title line and the idea, and I came up with the melody and some lines—we had worked on a few different things, but this was the one that we finished, and as soon as we did, I knew it was going to be the title track.” Bill Monroe’s “In Despair” may be more unexpected. “I didn’t plan it as a tribute,” Bradley says with a laugh. “But I hope people will think of it as one. I just wanted to showcase a more traditional side of what I do. But I’m glad it’s coming out on his 100th birthday!” The track “Come Home Good Boy” was more intentional and especially poignant, lending itself to Bradley’s first memory of a funeral, when, at age five, a neighbor boy who served with her uncle in Vietnam returned home in a casket.
A smartly selected crew of singers and players frame Bradley’s tender yet muscular singing to perfection. A couple of her regular bandmembers—harmony singer Kim Fox and banjo man Mike Sumner—make appearances, and so do supple, inventive musicians like the Infamous Stringdusters’ Andy Hall, ace studio fiddler Stuart Duncan, bass stalwart Mike Bub, producer Alison Brown (who doubles on guitar and banjo) and, perhaps most surprisingly yet appropriately, young mandolin phenomena Sierra Hull. All those elements come together in the partnership here with singer, guitarist, songwriter and friend Steve Gulley. “We grew up together,” Bradley notes. “Steve and me—we each know what the other one’s going to do.” Yet as strong as the supporting cast is, the focus is, as always, on Dale Ann and the songs she’s chosen—and as always, they’re a deliciously varied bunch.
To a listener unfamiliar with her unique ability to pull songs from the rock vaults and make them her own, Seals & Crofts’ ‘Summer Breeze,’ will undoubtedly be the biggest surprise, but Bradley sees it as a natural. “I’ve always wanted to do that song,” she says. “I don’t pick out a rock tune just for the sake of having one—it has to be one that I always grew up with, or one that I hear that strikes me as fitting into the mix. Sometimes a melody or lyric will just have that feel, just lend itself to the banjo or something like that—like this one, it almost sounds Celtic to me.”
Some songs, like “I Pressed Through The Crowd” and “Will You Visit Me On Sundays,” have been in Bradley’s repertoire for years, yet were never recorded until now. “I was so tickled when Alison gave the o.k. to ‘Sundays,’” she notes, “because it brings back the traditional country that Steve and I have been singing together for a long, long time. And of course, ‘I Pressed Through The Crowd’—I’ve been doing that one for a long time, and it just keeps getting more and more meaningful to me.” Others are more recent. ‘Leaving Kentucky’ was, ironically enough, started in Nashville, but finished after Bradley moved back to Kentucky.
She grew up in southeastern Kentucky and has lived in the Bluegrass State for most of her life; her father was a coal miner and Baptist minister. Bradley auditioned unsuccessfully for the New Coon Creek Girls in 1988 and then spent the next couple of years working as a solo artist in Renfro Valley. She finally joined New Coon Creek in 1991 and performed on the group’s 1994 Pinecastle Records debut, The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore. Bradley‘s first solo album, East Kentucky Morning, came out in 1997 and largely consisted of compositions by Dale Ann Bradley and New Coon Creek ally Vicki Simmons. The project also featured a celebrated take on U2‘s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which helped the album go Top Ten on both the Gavin Americana and Bluegrass Unlimited charts and earn high critical praise.
In 2004, Bradley released the gospel-themed album Send the Angels via Mountain Home Records. Bradley next signed with the independent label Compass Records, which would bring out her next three albums — 2006’s Catch Tomorrow, 2009’s Don’t Turn Your Back, and 2011’s Somewhere South of Crazy. In 2007, Bradley was named Female Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual awards; she would go on to win the award four more times, in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Bradley struck a new recording deal in 2015 with the respected bluegrass label Pinecastle Records. Pinecastle would release Pocket Full of Keys in 2015, which went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Bluegrass Album. In 2017, she returned with an album simply titled Dale Ann Bradley.
Never Standing Still is the fourth project and second solo effort from the award-winning Shannon Slaughter releasing on Elite Circuit Records on November 15, 2017. Slaughter, a Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Award Winner, contributed 10 original songs written or co-written with industry luminaries such as: Ronnie Bowman, Tim Stafford, Mark “Brink” Brinkman, Dale Felts, Terry Foust and Marla Cannon-Goodman, along with songs by Jake Landers and Roger Rasnake. The well-respected talents of numerous musicians and singers are also showcased on this recording with the talents of: Heather Slaughter, Lou Reid, Shawn Lane, Randy Kohrs, Ron Stewart, Steve Gulley, Ron Inscore, Trevor Watson, Cliff Bailey, Tim Crouch, Doug Jernigan, Josh Shilling, and Tracy Burcham.
More about Shannon Slaughter:
Slaughter is a proud alumnus of numerous leading bluegrass bands counting membership in The Lost & Found, Larry Stephenson Band, Melonie Cannon, Lonesome River Band, Lou Reid & Carolina, and Grasstowne. These bands and bandleaders helped shape the foundation of his band County Clare which he formed in 2010. “Being around leaders like Allen, Dempsey, Larry, Sammy, Lou, and Alan really helped me understand the business side of the music all the while forming the basis for what I would call my sound. They have really been invaluable to my development as a musician and bandleader,” said Slaughter. “I am really proud of the unique sound of County Clare that we have created over the last 7 years.”
In 2012, Slaughter was the 1st Place Winner in the Country division of MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest for his original song, “I’ve Hit Everything In My Life (But My Knees)“ co-written by Dale Felts and Mark Byrd. He has written songs for Blue Highway, Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, Lou Reid, Mike Bentley, Larry Stephenson, and more. In March 2013, Shannon & Heather Slaughter and County Clare release the album One More Road that included 3 radio chart hits including their killer cover of “If I Were A Carpenter.” Shannon & Heather’s follow-up album Never Just A Song, released in February 2015, included their #1 chart radio hit “That’s What’s Good In America Today” co-written by Shannon as well as other chart songs such as “Moonshiner,” “There Ain’t No Need To Be Lonely,” and “Ridin’ The Lightning, Ropin the Storm.”