Shannon Lyon This Love This Love
Published Mar 26, 2011This ex-pat from Kitchener-Waterloo continues to forge his path in Europe and make meaningful music. Lyon's time travelling and living there is documented with the subtleness and skill of a painter finding just the right colour to match the mood of the landscapes he interprets. He uses simple imagery and metaphors such as rain to tell of the pain, the suffering and the renewal. He's trying to "make sense of it all," as we all are on this journey through life. The people Lyon meets and the love he has gained and lost are all well documented. This Love This Love was written and recorded during the songwriter's sojourn in Berlin, Germany. The past and present of this historic city comes alive in the vibe of this ten-song collection. Lyon is also backed by a tight German band that add to the more electric, spontaneous classic rock sound. The title cut opens with a rhythmic beat, which sets the tone. It's a hopeful song, as is the record; it's a document of a sober singer-songwriter comfortable on his newfound journey. It's a letter of hope to listeners ― hope in the power of love to transcend all and hope in what the future can bring.
Tell me how Berlin influenced this new batch of songs?
Berlin is located on the fringes of western continental Europe, so it feels rather isolated. It's built right into a deep forest and there's not a lot of industry, mostly independent ventures. It's also one of the cheapest cities in Europe to live in and continues to be a haven for artists and dream seekers. There are also levels of sadomasochism at play in Berlin, and you can feel somewhat inundated by the macho architecture ― a burdened past, a promising future. It's a lot to absorb and it can have a profound impact on one's artistic outpouring.
You have a fascination with the rain. What does the rain symbolize for you?
I certainly do enjoy the cleansing aspects of rain. I've always been able to move willingly through life, from chapter to chapter, without too much of a hitch. I don't look back too often, to a fault, I'm told. However, I am somewhat sentimental, at times, and rain has always symbolized change, for me ― the washing away of the past.
Tell me a bit more about the Boys in the Berlin Band.
I would say that the songs on This Love were mostly influenced by the Boys in the Berlin Band. Kolja, my guitarist, comes from the Keith Richards school of rock and his experiences certainly had an impact on the overall production and sound of the album. Same goes for his brother Alex, our drummer, whose unique stylings had a large influence on the movement of the songs. And, of course, our Romanian bassist Christian is a very melodic craftsman; Christian actually escaped the Eastern Bloc and fled to West Germany in the '80s. The Boys in the Berlin Band allowed this collection of songs to move towards more classic sounds, lighter sounds, the sounds we grew up with on vinyl and I was more than willing to let this process happen; they were the conduit. I also knew I didn't want to make another, quieter singer-songwriter album. I wanted to rock!
I understand that you are sober for the first time in years. Tell me a bit about your musical journey leading up to this decision and how it affected the making of This Love This Love.
Before Berlin and This Love This Love, I fell into a five-year fog, which started in about 2005. I had a hard time relocating to Toronto after living in Europe for two years. I then lost my record deal with V2. I continued touring, but somehow lost my flame and drive. Later in 2007, my 14-year-old black lab, Pawnee, died, which had a terrible effect on me. I'd lost my best friend and didn't have the emotional tools to handle it. As a result, I started hitting the bottle harder and harder. In 2008, I decided to move to Berlin. I hit the road in Europe again with the release of my album El Sol and tried to find my way, but nothing seemed to be making sense anymore. All those decisions I'd made at the age of 20 no longer seemed to be working for me at 40. There was only one way out of my despair and soon I decided to stop all my habits, which included the drink, the drug and the smoke. I figured "the 20-year party" had to find some resolution ― resolution within its own dysfunctional and self-medicating existence. This Love This Love was written and recorded in the middle of that transition, the big change. And, to be honest, I don't remember writing half the songs on the album, which was a wake up call in itself. This Love is not a dark album, to me. It's hopeful and I was hopeful, to my surprise, because it's one of my least favourite adjectives. Hope always represented weakness and the irrational, for me. (Busted Flat)