Singing for his supper

Salmon Arm's Shuswap Pie Company hosts Shannon Lyon Thursday, July 25.

Shannon Lyon brings his haunting melodies to the Shuswap Pie Company July 25.

Shannon Lyon brings his haunting melodies to the Shuswap Pie Company July 25.

Shannon Lyon’s voice is said to haunt like a heavy, misty fog and leave you singing his songs for days.

“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,” said Bob Egan, who has played for Wilco and Blue Rodeo.

Lyon is embarking on his first lengthy tour since the mid-1990s, Salmon Arm being one of his 24 stops. He brings his quirky 15-song set to the Shuswap Pie Company July 25.

Since 1994, Lyon has released 10 studio albums. Over the years he has shared the stage with artists such as Lucinda Williams, Richard Buckner, Jay Farrar, Ray LaMontagne, Blue Rodeo and Bruce Cockburn.

“There’s always something to learn,” Lyon said of working with other artists. “I just take notes and answer to the song. I have a lot  of questions and very few answers. Keep the heart open.”

He says his ultimate song-writing hero is Neil Young. Although he hasn’t met Young, he feels privileged to have met some of his heroes.

Lyon’s latest album Broken Things was recorded under the Canadian roots label Busted Flat Records, which has released five of his albums.

Recorded in Holland and released last year, Broken Things, is stripped down and raw. Billboard magazine describes the album as “meticulously crafted songs that rely largely on his talent for words and melody … Untainted and Pure!”

Lyon returns to Canadian venues after spending 12 years in Europe. He moved to Holland in 2000, living and touring in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

“It was wonderful to be pulled into magic lands that I hadn’t been to,” said Lyon. “The touring was just very exotic and very fresh and very new. There’s no limits to it, especially in being creative. You can be the king and the queen in the same song.”

He says he has fallen in love with Canada all over again after deciding it was time to come home. He spends his summers travelling and the winters in cabins where his studio is his solace. He has been working with his small recording studio for years, which has been packed up and shipped around the world with him.

When he’s not releasing his own music, Lyon is producing the work of other singer-songwriters.

“The studio is a whole different world for me,” he said. “I love that part of what I do. I love working with other songwriters.”

Most recently, he has been mixing and producing albums for Jamie Clark and James Gray.

“I chase my songs and help other songwriters chase their songs and carry records across the finish line,” said Lyon.

He will come with his acoustic guitar, harmonica and notebook of songs on July 25, drawing music from almost every record. He says he will be performing some songs he wrote almost 18 years ago.

 

“I’m in love with songs and melodies. It’s my life,” said Lyon. “As a young man I got it in my blood and I haven’t turned my back on the muse, I keep chasing it. As long as I can sing for my supper I generally sing my sorrow. There’s a lot of love out there. It’s good to be home.”