Shannon Slaughter strikes out on his own

OK… it’s official.

What most any bluegrass watcher has known was inevitable has been announced. Shannon Slaughter is leaving his position with Lou Reid & Carolina to focus his energy on County Clare, his own group with his talented wife, Heather.

Shannon told us that it’s a decision that has been brewing for some time, but that it was a hard one for him to make.

“I have great respect for Lou and what he does, but it’s time for me to take the reins of my own band and my own career.

Lou and Christy have been so good to me, and Trevor Watson is one of my best friends in the world. I hate to leave a band where I feel so comfortable and like the people so well, but Heather and I have talked a lot about this, and it just seems like the right time.”

And we expect that Lou wasn’t shocked to hear the news. He’s seen Shannon’s star rising since the release of a solo project, The Sideman Steps Out, in 2011. Plus he knows that Slaughter has assembled a band primarily made up of musicians near where he lives in Alabama, and that they are working on a CD of their own.

Another element of Slaughter’s decision is found in the key word, Alabama. He and Heather moved there not long ago, where Shannon teaches in a local high school while completing his masters degree in history. Traveling back and forth to where Lou’s band is based in North Carolina has been tough, taking him away from Heather during his time away from school.

For Shannon, it keeps coming back to timing.

“We just bought a house here in Alabama, and have some really good guys playing with us. Heather and I are excited about all the good things that could happen with this band.

 I’m 43…  if I’m ever going to do it, now is the time.”

Shannon is on guitar, and Heather on bass with the two of them tag teaming the lead vocals. Rounding out County Clare is Ronald Inscore on mandolin, Casey Murray on banjo, and John Boulware on fiddle.

For the immediate future, Slaughter will continue on with Carolina.

“I’m going to work out a notice based on whenever Lou can find a replacement. He’s been nothing but gracious, and I really appreciate and respect him as a boss, friend and mentor.”

County Clare spent this past weekend in the studio, and have posted a rough mix of one of the tracks on their web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.