About

Hailed as the reigning "King of Beale Street" Memphis' own PRESTON SHANNON is a powerful guitarist with a compelling and soulful voice that sounds like a cross between Otis Redding and Bobby Womack.

   

Otis Redding

 

Bobby Womack

Preston exemplifies to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" – hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads.

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BEGINNINGS

Blessed with a raspy Bobby Womack-like voice and able guitar fingers, Preston Shannon was born in Olive Branch, Mississippi and his family moved to Memphis when he was eight.   Although his Pentecostal parents didn't initially accept his fascination with blues music, they eventually did when they saw how serious he was about pursuing the music for his livelihood.  

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The seeds of his enduring talent were sown deep in the blues-rich Mississippi Delta and his specialty is a blend of Southern soul and blues and his albums and live shows, always with a horn section, are an eclectic mix of danceable, grooving tunes and slow, soulful ballads.

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Olive_Branch_MS_031_Historic_Downtown

Olive Branch, MS

Shirley Brown

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Shannon cut his teeth with a local bar band called Amnesty, followed by other Memphis-area bands while working days at a hardware company. 

But he became a full time musician when he scored a spot in Soul great Shirley Brown's band and in concert he sang Bobby Womack's part in the soul duet Brown had done years before with Womack himself.  

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It wasn't until 1991 that he put together his own band and began playing the clubs on Beale Street and other hot spots. In the early 1990s, he was discovered playing a blues club by producer Ron Levy who brought Shannon to Rounder Records. .

     

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Preston's dynamic "Break The Ice" album came out in 1994 featuring the Memphis Horns and it made certain that the live magic of Shannon's show carried over to the studio.

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Next Shannon was fitted with legendary Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell (Al Green, Otis Clay) and delivered in 1996 the brilliant "Midnight in Memphis", one of the best Soul Blues records of the past 25 years which ranked #8 on Blues Critic's "Greatest 100 Soul Blues & Southern Soul Albums 1980-2005" and was even considered for a Grammy Award nomination.

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In 1999 came "All In Time", again produced by Willie Mitchell, and Preston Shannon was being considered for three Grammy nominations. Quite a feat for an authentic Soul Blues singer in those days and it looked like Shannon could possibly crossover into the coveted B.B. King-Thrill-Is-Gone/Robert Cray-Smoking-Gun mainstream success echelon.

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Shannon kept playing, ever solidifying his musical prowess on the Memphis concert scene (named "Entertainer of the Year" countless times by the Beale Street Merchants Association). 

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Then in 2006 Preston released his album "Be With Me Tonight" which picks up right where he left off and more than adequately showcases his remarkable resiliency as a talented singer who alternates up-tempo, gospel inspired numbers with slower, soulful love songs and ballads.  

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All this successful journey leads directly to a true masterpiece, Preston's latest CD "Dust My Broom", a passionate and heartfelt tribute to Elmore James which has the added treat of great slide guitar playing by Preston in addition to soulful vocals for which he has garnered some of his greatest accolades to date. THIS IS AN ALBUM NOT TO BE MISSED.

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Shannon's lush guitar playing contains echoes of the Kings . . . Albert & B.B., as well as T-Bone Walker and the rhythmic sensibilities of Little Milton, and proves the fact that Preston is a singer guitarist who can solo himself with grace through a fire-breathing set of slick, urban blues.  

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THE KING OF BEALE STREET . . .

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Preston Shannon is one of our true musical "natural resources" treasured by fans around the world. 

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