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Shannon Lawson

Blending country and bluegrass with healthy side portions of blues and rock & roll, singer/songwriter Shannon Lawson was born in Taylorsville, KY, in 1973. Lawson's family was full of amateur musicians who had frequent picking sessions at home, and he first began trying his hand at his uncle's guitar at age four; three years later, he got a nylon-string acoustic of his own. In high school, Lawson formed a rock band, but along with a slew of hard rock covers, he threw in twangier numbers by John Anderson or the Eagles to the setlists. After graduating from high school, Lawson relocated to Louisville to attend college and in his freshman year, he scored a gig with a local blues act (all of whom were African-American, except for Lawson), first playing lead guitar and then adding lead vocals to his resumé. After a couple years, Lawson left the band and began playing Louisville's coffehouses as a solo acoustic act; before long, he hooked up with a bluegrass band called the Galoots and they soon developed a passionate local following for their high-energy mixture of acoustic country and blues. The Galoots released two successful self-distributed albums, and the group obtained a manager, Mandy Snider, who developed a particular interest in Lawson; the two fell in love and would eventually marry. While in the Galoots, Lawson began writing songs for the group, and his tunes won him a deal with a Nashville publishing house, though his move to Music City also forced Lawson to leave the band. After hearing Lawson sing on one of his publishing demos, an A&R man from MCA Records' Nashville office became curious and after a showcase solo gig in Nashville, Lawson scored a major-label deal in 2001. His debut solo album, Chase the Sun, was released in the spring of the following year. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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