Akron musician Marc Lee Shannon has performed all over the country, most notably as the longtime guitarist for Cleveland rocker Michael Stanley. Now, Shannon is releasing his first solo album in 10 years.
A long road
Walk This Road is a fitting title for Shannon's new album. At 19, he left Akron to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. In the 1990's, he returned home and joined Michael Stanley’s backing group, the Resonators. He’s contributed to about a hundred albums with Stanley and other musicians. He's also spent years as a corporate executive.
Last year, he teamed up with fellow local singer-songwriter and producer, Ryan Humbert, to make his first solo album since 2008's Michael Stanley-produced Any Ordinary Man.
"We did it like they did it back in the day. Let's get the best performance and not beat the up the songs. We didn't perform them more than three or four times."
An authentic album
Shannon says his goal was to make the album authentic.
"I really wanted this record to be not like the way a lot of records are made today. You do 14 or 15 takes. It's perfect and pristine. I was hoping to be able to make this as live as possible. The performances are very real and they're not perfect, and I'm O.K. with them not being perfect. That's missing from so many records that I hear today -- that passion."
Shannon says the theme of the record is transformation.
"Everybody at some point in time has a place in life when you hit the wall and you want to try something else. Inside of me, there was something else that was missing. I was at a place at the end of 2014 when I had to rebuild my life and start new."
Then, Shannon says, a meeting with Humbert last April convinced him it was time.
"I wasn't sure if the songs were good enough. It was that meeting on that day where I got the hope that the songs were worth it."
Then, he says everything came together.
"The funding. The timing. The people. The players. The opporunity. Something was saying, 'Yeah, you gotta do it now.'"
When Shannon talks about the album and his journey, he wells up with tears.
"If you don't feel it, then what are you doing it for?"
Shannon and his band play an album release show this Saturday (May 19) at The Tangier in Akron.