Shannon Shaw
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A garage rock diva whose music merges the sounds of

doo wop and '60s rock with the bold attitude of indie

and underground sounds, Shannon Shaw first gained an

audience as the leader of the group Shannon & the

Clams. Born and raised in Northern California, Shaw

grew up on a musical diet of '50s and '60s oldies, and

while studying art in the 2000s, she fell in with like-

minded musicians to form Shannon & the Clams, rising

through the indie rock underground on the strength of

albums like 2013's Dreams in the Rat House and 2015's

Gone by the Dawn. An alliance with Dan Auerbach of

the Black Keys led to him producing 2018's Onion, as

well as Shaw's solo debut, a country-accented set

titled Shannon in Nashville.

 

 

Shannon Shaw was born on May 21, 1983. She grew up

in Napa, a community in Northern California, where her

father was a firefighter and her mother worked at a

psychiatric hospital. Shaw grew up in a Mormon

household, where one of the few radio stations her

parents approved of played nothing but oldies from the

'50s and '60s. As a teenager, Shaw was a misfit who

spent much of her time avoiding the jocks who enjoyed

making her life difficult. When she was 15, Shaw's

boyfriend gave her a bass guitar, a Danelectro with

silver glitter finish, but she didn't take to it at first,

and it wasn't until she was 25 that she gave the

instrument a second chance, learning to play and write

songs after a tumultuous breakup.

 

 

Around this time, Shaw was attending the California

College of the Arts in the East Bay Area, where she met

Cody Blanchard; they didn't get along well at first, but

after watching a video project he'd made, Shaw

decided she'd found a kindred spirit, and they struck

up a friendship. Blanchard played guitar and shared

Shaw's taste for vintage sounds, and before long they

decided to form a band. Recruiting fellow CCA student

Ian Amberson to play drums, the first lineup of Shannon

& the Clams debuted in 2008. The following year, they

released their debut EP, Hunk Hunt, and a full-length

album, I Wanna Go Home, was dropped by Oakland-

based indie 1-2-3-4 Go! Records before 2009 was out.

 

 

Soon, Shaw was doing double duty, fronting Shannon &

the Clams and playing bass in another Bay Area retro

garage band, Hunx & His Punx. 1-2-3-4 Go! brought out

the second Shannon & the Clams album, Sleep Talk, in

2011, and the group dropped a number of singles

through 2012. Shannon & the Clams next struck a deal

with the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label, which

released their third album, Dreams in the Rat House, in

2013, and in 2014 the band played a tour of Australia.

By the time Hardly Art brought out 2015's Gone by the

Dawn, the group had gone through some changes; Nate

Mahan replaced Ian Amberson on drums, and they

expanded to a quartet with the addition of Will Sprott

on keyboards.

 

 

After learning that Shannon & the Clams' Australian

tour happened in part because the Black Keys' Dan

Auerbach, a fan of the band, had recommended them to

a festival promoter in the Antipodes, Shaw and

Auerbach struck up a friendship, and Auerbach proved

to be a valuable ally to the group. First, Auerbach

signed Shannon & the Clams to his Easy Eye Sound

label, and produced their fifth album, Onion, released

in February 2018. Four months later, Easy Eye

premiered Shaw's first solo album. Shannon in

Nashville teamed Shaw with a studio band that included

veteran session men Gene Chrisman and Bobby Wood,

and saw her adding country and pop accents to her

retro garage sound. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi