Shannon Vetter is a singer and a songwriter who hails from Maysville, Kentucky. It was a joy to speak with him about his upcoming solo record entitled Rapid Cycle and all things music. We spoke a little through email and Facebook, and found out we have some mutual friends most notably the immensely talented Ben Knight, of Ben Knight and The Well Diggers. Through this I found out Shannon was releasing his first solo record, and took a listen to it and dug it. Shannon is exploring sounds, and styles, however at the same time trying to stay true to his roots and where he is now. The record seems to blend itself really well with this exploration.
When Shannon was a kid he said he was a self-proclaimed Beatles “fanatic.” From the early stuff to the White Album. After listening to them so much, the sounds as well and that exploration that The Beatles mastered started him down the road of music. Hearing these sounds, he eventually gravitated towards rhythm and blues and the Motown sound as his ear became more developed.
Shannon plays a variety of instruments and has tried to incorporate these into this album Rapid Cycle. As he put it, “I started playing the saxophone when I was in the 6th grade in a band program. I got into jazz, blues, and classical, and it was over for me.” Hit fast forward and here we are now with him playing in Gideon’s Rifle, and a “funky jam band” Big Atomic. These bands have defined styles, and yet they have lent themselves something pretty unique on Shannon’s solo record, and he has defined that through these eleven songs.
From rock and roll, swing, blues, Americana, folk, country, and soul Shannon has quite literally tapped into the American songbook. This is done in such a way that is his take on the influences from the past and to the modern. The lyrics are an exploration from simple thoughts to more thought provoking ideas. Crafted around specific styles that formed in his head. In his words, “let the song speak for itself” and just letting a love for music handle what the song will lend. The album as well features 16 different musician’s with this feeling of no limitations something more basic than that “who can we get in the studio today?” What everyone offered and created is quite the journey through sounds and purely good songwriting. Rapid Cycle doesn’t flow rapidly, however it ebbs and flows through different genres and styles. All the while, Shannon and everyone involved kept things true to roots. The record is not over produced, and there was a feeling that I got while listening to it breathing through each song. Each song standing on its own, wrapped and presented in a particular style. All of this lends to a listen that was quite enjoyable, and one that has stayed in my cd player.
At the tail end of our conversation, I had asked Shannon what the future holds. He has a run of shows promoting the album, and then according to Shannon, “Working on something else. I want to explore soul, jazz, and R&B more…” and “redefining southern rock.” This man will certainly keep himself busy, as it seems he is going to explore the joy that simply is music.
The wealth of that we have in and around the world is endless, at times seems bottomless, and Shannon seems like one to explore sounds anywhere and everywhere. Lastly, I asked him why music? His answer was short and poignant. Shannon and the players on this record put together eleven songs that are honest and good. Here is his answer, “Why music? Are you kidding? Is there anything else?”