FEATURED ARTIST: SHANNON BAKER & SOMETIME SOON
Written by Rick Heldmann on December 18, 2022
‘Shannon Baker and Sometime Soon’ is one of the most entertaining Bluegrass Bands that I had the pleasure of seeing in person, this year. The band is comprised of Shannon on vocals and mandolin, Ronnie Parrish on bass, John Dudley on banjo, guitar & vocals, Chris Hill on Fiddle and more, and Joe Pessolano on vocals, guitar, mandolin, and Dobro. Ronnie is a founding member of this band, as is Shannon, and previously they were in the ‘Classic Stepbacks’.
The band tours regularly throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and is expanding to South Carolina. Larger Festivals expand their region considerably. It may be modesty that prevented them from telling me just how many dates they booked in 2022. As someone, who tried to catch them on tour, I can say with certainty, it was ‘a lot’!
On first review, the new or unfamiliar fan would most certainly be aware of the wonderful vocals offered by Shannon. In trying to describe her voice, I would use the words interesting, entertaining, and thoroughly enchanting. This writer believes that she is an outstanding female vocalist, in the current Bluegrass realm. The band is very solid, versatile, professional, and compliments Shannon to offer a most enjoyable stage and show presence.
Shannon started performing, on her own in Church, when she was very young. Ever since Shannon was 12 years old, her ‘Grandad’ took her to places that played Country music. When he took her to the Bluegrass Barn, in Wilson NC, she attended her first Bluegrass Festival. My take from this is, that Shannon loved the kind, friendly environment that she saw and Grandad already knew of her potential. Shannon’s first efforts at performance on stage were at The Barn, where she found friends to start a ‘put together’ band who could play and compete in a contest there. That band winning, 2nd, 3rd, and finally 1st places in consecutive years.
Although recently embarking on a new potential career as a Digital Reporter, Shannon has the desire to engage in music full time. She hopes that she can take the band or a band with her in fulfilling her dream, from an early age, to ‘sing, play, and create’. After speaking with her in depth and detail, I believe she is on her way. Shannon not only shows wonderful talent and has a very personable nature, but she is deeply serious about what she’s doing, and has a professional desire and direction that is not often found in a person of her age and experience.
One of the things I find most interesting about the band is, apparently anyone can bring forward a tune that they just heard or like a lot, and the band considers using it. The thing that stands out, is that not all the tunes may come directly from Bluegrass or Country, but the band applies the Bluegrass techniques of Arrangement, Rhythm, Chord Progression, and Harmony and adapts the tune. The bottom line is much, much greater potential for diversity and flexibility in their music. So, it pretty much doesn’t sound like the same thing, over and over.
What’s in store for 2023, as it is right around the corner? Shannon Baker and Sometime Soon want to work on engaging their audience and building their following. They want to use lots of new material, Standard and Original, and set lots more show dates. I can’t wait to see them in 2023…
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Rick Heldmann writes featured articles for The Bluegrass Jamboree. For consideration contact Rick via Facebook Messenger or by email.