A Brief History

Shannon Lyon rose to fame in her hometown of Kitchener (west of Toronto, in the heart of southern Ontario) almost immediately after forming her first band, Strange Days, in 1989. After one album and a national tour (during which the band opened for fledgling East Coast band Tea Party), the band broke up and Lyon decided to pursue a solo career. For the next five years, he straddled the line between acoustic trubadour and hard rocker, earning a loyal Canadian audience with each album.

In 1999, he signed with Toronto's Square Dog Records and released Summer Blonde, the first album to showcase his new, introspective songwriting style. The album became a favourite with roots rock fans in Canada, and Lyon (backed by the World Record Players) spent the next year sharing stages with everyone from Blue Rodeo to Richard Buckner to Oh Susanna. In early 2001, Lyon made his first trip to Holland on the advice of fellow singer-songwriter Rob Lamothe. The reception was even greater than in Canada, and by the end of the year Lyon had a deal with Dutch label Inbetweens Records, which released Dharma in Europe in March 2002. The following year he recorded Wandered in Holland, which caught the attention of Toronto-based V2 Records. Lyon became the first Canadian artist to sign with V2 Records, joining the ranks of artists such as The White Stripes, Paul Weller and Moby on V2. More tours followed, including Lyon's first trip to Australia, where his honest and straightforward approach immediately captivated his audience and led to the sale of several thousand copies during his short stay.

In 2004, Lyon helped found Canadian roots record label Busted Flat Records, whose first releases were live albums from his various world tours. The first, Bound, was recorded in Holland, the second, Someday Mourning, in Germany. Although these are mainly acoustic solo experiments, Lyon has not forgotten his rock roots and continues to tour and record with his long-running band World Record Players. Currently, Lyon can be found somewhere in the world supporting his new album Safe Inside, released in February 2006.


SHANNON LYON Bio (2006) Quick Facts:

  • Kitchener, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, has released 9 solo albums since 1994
  • first Canadian artist signed to Richard Branson's V2 Records, which released critically acclaimed Wandered in 2003
  • latest album is Safe Inside, recorded in Holland, and released through Inbetweens Records in Europe and Busted Flat Records in Canada
  • has toured with/opened for: Jay Farrar, Ray LaMontagne, Bruce Cockburn, Richard Buckner, Blue Rodeo, Fred Eaglesmith, Skydiggers/Cash Brothers, The Sadies, The Troggs, 54-40, TPOH etc.
  • since 2001, has toured more frequently in Europe and Australia, building arguably a higher profile than at home -- Australia's ABC network has called him "The next Neil Young."
  • 2000's Summer Blonde featured duet with Richard Buckner, followed by U.S. tour together
  • backing band The World Record Players often includes pedal steel guitarist Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco, Freakwater)


"Shannon Lyon...twangy troubadour!"
New York Post(USA)

"Meticulously crafted songs that rely largely on his talent for words and melody...untainted and pure."
Billboard (USA)

"Shannon Lyon is a performer that from a distance resembles the late Nick Drake but unlike the tragic English troubadour the Canadian is blessed with a healthy sense of relativity."
OOR (Holland)

"An alluringly warm and rich vocal style that just beckons you into listening over and over." Wandered is Superb!
Altcountrytab.com (UK)

"The twangy, lilting, gently countrified pearls Shannon Lyon strings together leave little doubt that the sing/songwriter is among Canada's most uniquely gifted."
Now Magazine(Canada)

"Shannon Lyon's music goes straight into your heart, it slips into your soul and turns it into a grey fog."
Rootstown (Italy)

"The songs are sometimes pure and easy-going, sometimes bleak and
introspective, but always satisfying and always real. Highly recommended."
Canadian Musician

"When I hear Shannon, I hear the rhythms of the Midnight Cowboy, the harmonies of an earth-bound angel, the acoustic guitar that knows the pain of a heart, the steel guitar that stirs the lonely and restless lovers. But most of all I hear the voice that echoes Earle, Farrar and Buckner, a voice that haunts you like a heavy fog on a barren field on a cool October morning."
Bob Egan(Blue Rodeo, Wilco)

"Summer Blonde has a great flow from start to finish, wonderful story teller, sharp edged vocals, this guy is Canadas next big folk star."
Altcountrytab.com (UK)

"personal, quiet, emotional and damn honest!"
Roadtracks (Germany)

"The moment that Lyon entered the stage it was clear that we were about to encounter an emotive set of intimate songs. He demands the attention of the audience as the room filled with the soft sounds of the soul."
Inpress (Australia)

"Neil Youngs harmonica, Townes Van Zandts melancholy and a page or two from Buckners songbook."
See Magazine (Canada)

"A musical reverie that keeps this lover of heartfelt acoustically-driven music dreaming of the next time this storyteller takes the stage."
Umbrella Music (Canada)

"After countless tours throughout Holland, Belgium, Germany, Canada and Australia, Shannon Lyon is back in his homeland preparing to set out on the dusty backroads of Ontario starting in January 2004. It has been a spectacular year for Shannon with the release of Wandered in Europe (Inbetweens), Australia & New Zealand (Collision) and Canada(V2). Wandered made several 'Year End' lists in 2003, including Exclaim Magazine's Top Ten of 2003 tucked in between Jay Farrar and Gilian Welch."

"Lyon's sound -- in both his guitar work and vocals -- carries that timeless combination of haunting chill and fireside warmth found on classic country recordings." 
The Georgis Straight (Canada)

"[The songs] boast smooth harmonies, which aptly complement Lyon's deep twang, and are also moving in their simplicity."
Eye Magazine(Canada)

"Shannon's timbre lets all the mood roll out between the words in growls, breaths and hills of emotion...... fuck him!" Richard Buckner

"Wandered is a pathos primed passion play which deserves success!"
NuCountry.com (Australia)

"Wandered - TOP TEN Best Folk/Country/Blues 2003"
Exclaim (Canada)

"There is something deep, dark + lonesome in Lyon's music, tunes that have as much in common with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark as they do the new generation."  
Time Off (Australia)

"On Wandered, as with his previous effort Dharma, his sound puts him in a league with contemporaries Richard Buckner and Ryan Adams while also drawing comparisons to classic troubadour songwriter Townes Van Zandt." Milesofmusic.com (USA)

Wandered - Ottawa Citizen -
Eugene's Top Ten Albums of 2003

Wandered - "Folk/Roots # 12 Top Discs of 2003"
Galaxie Satelite Radio


Safe Inside (Busted Flat/InBetweens) 2006

Someday Mourning (Busted Flat/Festival) 2004

Bound (Busted Flat/FAB) 2003

Wandered (V2/BMG) 2003

Dharma (InBetweens) 2002

Summer Blonde (Square Dog/Outside) 2000

Tales Of A Yellow Heart (Swallow/EMI) 1997

Mods Rule (Swallow/EMI) 1996

Buffalo White (Swallow/EMI) 1995

Interview February 2003 Vulture Free Press - Sydney, Australia

Vulture: We're here with Shannon Lyon, singer-songwriter from the Canadian North country. Hello kind sir and welcome.

Shannon: Yes hello thank you. It's good to be back.

Vulture: It has been said that you tend to wander, endlessly, taking stage and country by storm. Can you elaborate on that?

Shannon: It can also be thought of as a measure or a measurement that somehow suggests that the scene and the country would dare to travel so, really, throw in a sentence melodica, a day or a year, because it doesn't travel without... um, shit. I'm stuck. (Laughs.) It could really be, you know, it could be there or I could be there, in that place of wandering, or I could say wonder. Touring is killing me, like time has no mercy. It also weakened my speech tonight. (Laughs)

Vulture: Interesting way to put it.

Shannon: Umm, put what ?

Vulture: I'm commenting on your choice of words, they way you speak. Is that a Canadian dialect?

Shannon: Canadian conditioning as "I am from" the landmass? Canada is really no different from Australia. Take away the beautiful beaches, the killer surf and... (long pause)... Well, having said that or having said that, (Laughs) I'll have to agree with that. Soon I will be warm all year round on this bloody side of the world. Will you take me? What a beauty, a happy homecoming, if you know what I mean, a happy pull, like a sweet promenade or a kiss, or maybe showing horror pictures or friends talking about impressions or answering stupid questions that I just giggle at and say yes, yes, yes. That's it, you know, this exchange, here, in this place, in this time, in this place and in this miracle. When we wander, you know. It's all because of that.

Vulture: Ok. Lets talk about your album Wandered. I read in your bio that you recorded Wandered in a 17th century farmhouse in the south of Holland. What was that experience like?

Shannon: It sure was a crazy time of course, I feel that we have to wrap ourselves in filth and beauty all in one sitting if you know what i mean. I need to find something whole. Holland being a16th centurian posting stable, and we're talking for the world man, being there made it that much more deliberating. Dutch prosperity is based almost entirely on overseas trade right. That being said, I completely depended upon the historical value for the final mixes. Seepage if you will, ghostly seepage. It rattled my kid brain, like your first piss up or your first love. There are no limitations in creating ya know. Not only was I king and creator, but I was bishop and destroyer and it doesn't bother me to inflict such aggression upon it all ya know. I took it all into consideration. If we needed to hold a fucking seance then thats what we would have done ya know. I'm more interested in rattling my immediate cage than my neighbours. I dont even have neighbours! Really at the end of the day my songs and my thoughts are really just scratchings on the floor of my cage. (LAUGHS)

Vulture: Once again, an interesting angle from an interesting Canadian. Would you agree that an angle is necessary in the process of writing.

Shannon: I've got no use for angles or agendas, no use for it ya know. We'll leave that up to the religious and political leaders and all that nonsense. Life's answers for me aren't going to be found in books. Man invented everything ya know, guitars, religion, war. (LAUGHS) How the hell did those three come to mind. I've no use for theories or idealisms, what we need is real love ya know, real moments. The beautiful moments when I'm able to step outside my mind. Then and only then can I quietly observe what's really going on without naming things ya know. Thats when the songs can be heard, and thats where if find the subtleties. These are the moments that bring on the melodica and my muse. These are the voices I hear which is not to say that it's some kind of affliction, its more of a retreival, an offering ya know. Yeah man, its really just an exchange, I feel its patterns and i feel its warmth. Not unlike a gentle show of affection. Its always gentle.

Vulture: Would you say that you have a responsibility as a songwriter, to reveal a truth?

Shannon: Well i suppose i'd have to ask you what is truth ya know. That's where I'd be forced start. I'm dealing with a strong constitution here. I cant fool the fooler. ya know. [LAUGHS] I'm still working on observing the observed. (LAUGHS)

Vulture: Do you feel its necessary to reveal parts of yourself in your songs. Are these songs about your life experiences or is this mostly fiction. The song Barcelona for example, you have a way of revealing a deeper feeling although the listener is most likely going to be drawing on his or her own translations because the story line is somewhat oblique.

Shannon: Oblique, yeah right, Barcelona. I couldn't agree with you more and I couldn't disagree with you more. [LAUGHS] I mean It's just a song ya know. I lived in Spain for 4 months. Or did I? Ya know. Who's to know really. The most important thing about this type of exposure is the journey, not the place of origin or the destination. Im not concerned with time travel, I'm here right now ya know. This is where I stand, this is my time. Barcelona is just a dream to me now. Like placing fixtures on walls, they can be removed, noone here gets out alive, thats the fucking romance and thats the glitch according to human condition. And of course we've fixed that problem with after life and and after glow haven't we, all you have to do is follow a certain set of guidelines, rituals and rules and we'll be rewarded with this and that ya know, it's not that complex is it? I've no use for any of that drama.

Vulture: You mention having concerns. Would you say that we as a people should be more concerned politically with the state of affairs. Should we be getting more involved somehow?

Shannon: You know, real transformation starts right now ya know, up here in the head and that that leads us to heart as we like to say. Ultimatley we live in the mind where memory is stored, which is the residue of experience and thats where most of us will remain until our dying days. Its up to me to un-condition myself so that I can see the road clearly ya know. Not with blinders as a life is seen through screens of conditioning. We see the world as we are and not as the world is ya know. Everyone is fighting for your mind. The politician wants you on his or her team, the guru, the religious leaders all want you to join their team. The demands of everyday life are staggering ya know. I mean, when I'm at home. It all comes to a close. Coming home is one of the most important features of touring or possibly of life. Its all about the leaving and the letting go ya know. Thats what life is for me, thats reality. Life is moving very fast, faster than we know, ask any sexagenarian and they'll tell ya just ow fast things are going. It's all not worth the trouble ya know, the drama of it all, drama falls like rain. I'll take the open road and maximize its potential, and I'll break it in as it breaks me in. Thats all we need, a sense of freedom and love with an understanding of the concept of self acceptance. There's enough people wanting to hold you in that line ya know. I keep looking straight ahead, always have and I always will.

Vulture: The home is where the heart is as we like to say it here in Australia. So what about love and expression?

Shannon: Oh well ok, now you're talking. [LAUGHS] That word love has been so misused, so spoilt, so trodden upon ya know, but we need to use that word so we need to give to it a totally different kind of meaning. How do we really understand that that...(LONG PAUSE)...extraordinary sense of energy? I think we need to understand suffering. And somehow go beyond suffering, otherwise we couldn't possibly understand the responsibility for the greater good, which is real love. Is that making sense? (LAUGHS) So, to understand this responsibility for the whole, then it all has to start with the individual ya know, and therefore that strange and beautiful quality of love, we have to get beyond the suffering.

Vulture: What kind of suffering are you talking about?

Shannon: First of all what is suffering and why do most of us suffer? We're getting away from the music now aren't we. (LAUGHS) What is suffering? Why do human beings suffer? Thats the shit I'm talking about. This has been one of the greatest problems of life for millions of years. Apparently very few people have gone beyond suffering, and they've become either heroes or saviors, Dylan, M.L King, or they become neurotic leaders, and there they remain. But ordinary human beings in ordinary life ya know, never seem to get beyond it. We seem to be caught in it. Human conditioning needs un-conditioning, now that sounds familiar. (LAUGHS) I think we all need a dose of John Lennon and then we'll start seeing things clearly again.

Vulture: Lets get back on track with the music again here, what are some ofthe highlights you've experienced in Australia so far?

Shannon: Highlights? (LAUGHS) Oh I've got some highlights. Man this country is amazing, I swam with fucking dolphins in Koombana Bay in South Western Australia just last week, that was something else. They're beautiful creatures, come right up to me they did. I latched on to one and he pulled me half way out to the surf, bloody amazing. I'd have to say that sailing the Indian Ocean on the west coast just outside of Perth was one of the most frightening, eye opening experiences of my life ya know. I was with my mate Nick and he invited me out for a few days of sailing. We were contimplating a trip to Papua New Guinea but a strom sent us back. Powerful place that ocean man, and of course this is my first time so i don't know what to expect. Man, we were being lifted up 15 to 20 feet and when the swell would break it left us freefalling straight back down. I thought the hull was going to split for sure man,(LAUGHS) we managed for about 7 hours and finally navigated ourselves back round to shore. Never again.

Vulture: That sounds a bit un-nerving mate.

Shannon: Never again. (LAUGHS)

Vulture: Have you been travelling by your lonesome or with other musicians?

Shannon: Well, I bought this old Valient Ute, (LAUGHS) you know the one I'm sure. So I'm mostly travelling alone. I might stay in Australia for 7 months or so. I'm still considering driving straight up to Darwin instead of flying. We'll see. Have to be up there for the 15th of March.

Vulture: Festival of Lights?

Shannon: Yeah thats the one, should be great, or even amazing if i get the chance to finally meet Gordon Lightfoot.

Vulture: Fellow Canadian who will also be playing the FOL yes i did see that. Super mate.

Vulture: Well once again it's a pleasure having you back in Australia and thanks for talking to us here at The VS. Cheers mate!

Shannon: Thank you again.