Throughout his career, Shannon Mier has had a lot going for him. After starting out as a singer-songwriter in Charlottesville, NC, Mier managed to record two albums that earned so much success that Neil Young personally praised his musicianship by referring to Mier’s group as a “very good band” to a large crowd at Scott Stadium in 2002.
Despite the promising start to his career, after the release of his sophomore album On the Failure of Science to Understand My Spirit things began to turn sour. For the next ten years, Mier fell out of love with music and barely picked up a guitar. On the biography section of his website, Mier comments on this time by saying “I thought that if I didn’t attain a certain level of success, that if I didn’t make a lot of money playing music, then it didn’t matter…the worst feeling was when someone would tell me my music was good. That just crushed me, because it reminded me of all the wasted promise. I knew I was turning my back on something that was very important..
Eventually, Mier would return to music making in the 2010s after doing some much needed soul-searching. He began writing new songs beginning in 2011 and then recorded his third album Wheels Up, which he recorded, mixed and released himself.
Writing many of the tracks on this new record must have been a form of therapy that Mier used as an outlet to express his pain and frustration. This is particularly noticeable on the song “Wrong Side of the World”, one of the heartfelt songs on the album, that also may be a bit autobiographical when you hear the following lyrics. “My sister died when I was in Texas, My brother, he fell in the war My mother and father are still living They don’t love each other anymore.”
Growing up, Mier was musically influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The influence of the Red Hot Chili Peppers lingers on the album’s title track, as well as “The Spaghetti Song,” a stream of consciousness nonsense song that name checks Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 song, “Jungleland.” “Alpha Omega” is a folky track with a 21st century sound and features synthesizers peppered throughout it. Although it’s a nice song, the harmonies sound as if they could use a bit of work. On “(Don’t Throw Your) Regrets On My Grave,”,Mier turns melancholy on this heavy, fuzzy song about the devil and death.
This is quite a promising effort from Shannon Mier. Hopefully, he won’t resign from the music world any time soon and his next record will be even better.
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