Marc Lee Shannon is a Rustbelt songwriter from Ohio’s “North Coast,” one with years of midwest “fall down, get up, dust off, and do it again” determination. A champion of everyday heroes, his soulful, melodic music chronicles the struggles and redemption of the lost, the found, the deserted, and the delivered.
A veteran studio and touring guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Shannon’s more than 30-year career has taken him from his hometown of Akron, Ohio to Los Angeles and back again. He left home at 19 to attend the Guitar Institute of Hollywood, after which he quickly found himself playing with many top country, rock, and soul artists.
After 11 years of road trips, rest stops, sessions, and performances, Shannon returned home to start a new chapter of his career. There, a friend connected him with northeast Ohio’s favorite son, Michael Stanley, sparking what would become not just a musical partnership, but a decades-long mentorship and friendship.
Following his contribution to Stanley’s 1996 album Coming Up for Air, Shannon became a member of his band, The Resonators, one of Ohio’s top-drawing acts. He performed with the group for more than 25 years, providing electric, acoustic, baritone, and 12-string guitar and mandolin accompaniment for live shows as well as on 22 albums. In turn, Stanley produced Shannon’s first solo record, Any Ordinary Man, in 2007.
In 2018, Shannon stepped back into the limelight as a solo artist to release Walk This Road, musically directed and produced by Ryan Humbert, lead singer of Americana band The Shootouts.
The album showcases Shannon’s musical diversity at its finest. From the energetic title track to the country-tinged “If We Quit Now” to the heartfelt pledge of “Count Me In,” listeners can immediately feel Shannon’s passion for his art form as well as the experiences of the invisible and overlooked.
Shannon again worked with Humbert as producer, as well as collaborated with other northeast Ohio artists on his singles “Friend Like You” and “Let It Go,” including members of The Shootouts, The Vindys, and The Speedbumps along with JD Eicher, Lee Turner, and more.
Outside the studio, Shannon has opened for nationally-acclaimed artists such as Pat Benatar, Jonah Koslen, Blue Oyster Cult, and more.
In August, 2021, Shannon released a new single, “Steady On,” a song that honors his late bandmate and mentor Michael Stanley, while also addressing the grief that comes from the loss of a dear friend.
Now Shannon is looking forward to the release of Lucky 7, a collection of “fun, funky, pandemic-born songs.” The album effortlessly blends Shannon’s musical and lyrical artistry with his southern soul influences, from the cautiously optimisic lyrics of “Leave on the Light” to a gritty cover of Bad Company’s “Rock Steady” to “Deacon of Blues,” which gives pointed shout-outs to legends such as B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Once again handling production, Humbert refers to Lucky 7 as “Marc Lee Shannon visits Stax Records. The album is full of solid grooves, mostly captured live in just a few takes,” Humbert said.The album was recorded and mixed by Jim Stewart in Cleveland and mastered by Paul Blakemore in Nashville.
Lucky 7 is about more than just the music, however. Shannon is also releasing the album to mark his seven years of sobriety.
A passionate advocate for addiction recovery, he has authored a monthly column, “Sober Chronicles,” for The Devil Strip. His podcast, “Recovery Talks - The Podcast,” features lantern holders and lighthouses that freely share their sobriety and mental health journeys, and is available at Recoverytalks.org.
“Seven years ago, I had a sense that I could have a better life,” Shannon writes in the liner notes of Lucky 7. “I was broken, beaten, and lost with no faith in my future. Through medical treatment and the miracle of a healing community, I got another chance to live.”
Along with its seven key songs, Lucky 7 also includes “Steady On,” Shannon’s tribute to his friend, bandmate, and mentor, Michael Stanley. The song, released in August, features longtime Stanley collaborator Jennifer Lee on harmony vocals.
Shannon is joined on Lucky 7 by fellow Resonator David Young on Hammond organ and keys, drummer and percussionist Ed Davis, bassist Kevin Martinez, and a horn section composed of Tim Harker on saxophone, Kyle O’Donnell on trumpet, and Brian Mayle on trombone.
Backing vocals were handled by Jon and Bri Bryant of Welshly Arms. Jackie Popovec and Rick Deak of the Youngstown-based alternative rock band The Vindys also lend their talents to a gritty, dark cover of the Bad Company classic “Rock Steady.”
Cleveland-based photographer Angelo Merendino documented the recording sessions for the album art and produced a video for “Steady On,” filmed in the studio.
Marc Lee Shannon plays solo, with a trio, or a full rocking band in shows that feature songs from his catalog, along with an occasional smart and stylish cover of a song that – in his own words – are "pull over to the side of the road" favorites.