You guys, Taylor Shannon has lost his mind. Or he is two people. Remember when Garth Brooks decided to become Chris Gaines and make rock music? Smoke Parade is kind of like that, except I really like listening to Smoke Parade. You may remember Taylor Shannon as a recent Cincinnati Entertainment Award-winning Country Artist of the Year, filling some of the biggest venues in town with crowds in cowboy boots and straw hats. Lately Shannon is going in a different direction with his music. It’s not that Shannon doesn’t love country music anymore, especially since his country music was always as much rock and roll as anything. After going through a few years of some of the highest highs and lowest lows anyone can experience, he just wants to adapt.
I’m not going to say you wouldn’t recognize him, because Taylor is a genuine guy who is never going to change his style for a trend or for followers. He still plays his favorite Gibson flying V guitar and pushes the sound through walls of amps. His band looks a little different, though, pared down to a power trio featuring Seth “Red” Bunton on bass/backing vocals and Zach Backus on drums. Backus has been with the band since Smoke Parade formed, and Bunton has been playing on and off with Shannon since they were kids. The sound they are creating sounds like it, with tones that remind you of the late 1990’s-early 2000’s rebellion against angsty grunge. “Funeral” is an excellent example of what could have come from that era. There are reflections of Bush, Blink-182, and Rage Against the Machine in Smoke Parade’s fast, tight, edgy song performance. When I listen to this song, I can hear that hours and hours of practice (with a metronome, I bet) were poured into working out all of the timing and layers involved.
I’ll tell you, folks. I couldn’t be happier for Taylor Shannon. It’s not easy to have so many expectations heaped on to you at a young age, and it takes guts for someone to shake off their success as well as their failures in order to try new things. Ironically, “Funeral” sounds like it will be a new beginning for Taylor Shannon and Smoke Parade. Catch Smoke Parade at Sparks in the Park on July 3rd in Milford with 500 Miles to Memphis! A video for “Funeral” is forthcoming, and more music is on its way. I can’t wait to hear what comes next!