Shannon Cox is a local musician who plays anywhere from 140 to 150 performances every year. He can been seen performing with the Black Diamond Band, in solo acoustic shows as well as with other performers in the industry.
Cox said he loves to bring friends out with him for his acoustic shows as a way to enhance the performance and give the audience more of a variety.
“I think it makes the show better,” Cox said. “I don’t want to hear myself for that long. Like if I bring Kelsey (D’Amico), she adds the girls songs to the set and of course the girls always like that because it gives them their favorite songs and stuff to listen to.”
Cox said he also loves to play with Eric Thompson who is in Black Diamond Band as well as plays duo shows with Cox.
Other than, Thompson and D’Amico, Cox also plays duo performances with Ben Turnbough.
Cox said the Black Diamond Band plays one or two shows a month together. The band and is made up of Cox on guitar and vocals, Thompson on harmonica and vocals, Mike Tawfall as lead guitarist and sound, Travis on bass with Brad Goodwin and Buck Jackson on drums.
“It has been an amazing experience performing with Eric, Mike, Travis, Brad, Buck and Kelsey,” Cox said. “They have helped me grow as a musician and as a person and for that they will always be a part of my life. They are more like family than just fellow musicians and band members.”
The band performed with Granger Smith and Ashley McBryde when they came to Farmington in May of 2018.
Cox said that night was a lot of fun for the band. He said McBryde and Smith were true professionals and he learned a lot from the experience they brought with them.
“I would love to be able to do that again I really would,” Cox said. “I learned I need to loosen up more because we got on my Facebook live, me and Ashley did, and I was so nervous I couldn’t even talk and she was just rolling with it.”
Cox began playing guitar at the age of 12 and said his love and interest in music came from his mother and father who both played.
“They took me everywhere and places so I could jam,” Cox said. “They used to take me over to Tall Timbers that’s when I started learning.”
Cox said when the night would end at Tall Timbers his parents would invite some of the musicians over to the house where they would then have a jam session.
Other than jam sessions where Cox would play with other musicians, he did not take to the stage until he was around the age of 14 or 15 when he played a birthday party at the St. Michael School in Fredericktown.
“We played over here at the Catholic school in the auditorium, the lunch room, here in Fredericktown,” Cox said. “They had a birthday party and I remember we practiced all morning for that party.”
Cox said this was his first actual performance that he felt like he had to put on, where as the rest, up until then, were just for fun.
“I had never sang in front of anybody and I had to sing,” Cox said. “I’m glad there’s no recording. I’m not sure what that would have been like.”
Since he picked up that guitar at 12 Cox has spent the last 34 years building his skills, traveling to gigs, and making connections along the way.
“I meet a lot of nice people and I get to go to a lot of places,” Cox said. “It has taken me a lot of places I probably wouldn’t have gotten to go if it hadn’t been for music.”
In June of 2015, Cox performed at the Grand Ole Opry with the bluegrass group Cedar Hill during Vince Gill’s segment. The last few years he has been playing locally as well as in Minnesota, Wisconsin and just last weekend he play with Kelsey D’Amico at Alan Jackson’s Good Time Bar and Grill and the Music City Bar and Grill in Nashville.
Cox plays both cover songs and his own original music with Tin Mine and Weekend Dad being his favorite singles as well as the most requested. Both of the songs have a personal connection to Cox with Tin Mine being about where he grew up and Weekend Dad being about his kids.
Right now Tin Mine can be streamed from iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services with more music to be available sometime soon. Until then catch Shannon Cox or Black Diamond playing around the area.
Cox said he hopes to sit down and write some more original songs soon.
“It seems like a few things are starting to open up here and there,” Cox said. “I’m starting to get attention at two or three places so I’m probably needing to get, which I’ve got songs coming my way from Nashville too.”
Cox said it is humbling and he feels honored that others artists trust him and allow him to play their songs.
“It makes me feel good. One I’ve recorded and I’ve got another they’ve sent me,” Cox said it’s kind of a cross over between George Strait style and modern country.”
As his parents did for him, Cox has been passing along the musical opportunities to both of his sons Carter and Ethan. Ethan was the drummer for the Black Diamond Band for the first five years of the band before getting a job in construction. He said Ethan is a great little drummer.
Many who follow Shannon Cox Music will remember a video that circulated of Cox singing his newborn son a lullaby. Carter does not make many cameos in his dad’s videos lately and Cox said it is because as a two year-old he rarely sits still.
“He wants to grab mics, he wants to grab guitar strings, it’s almost impossible to get him to do anything right now,” Cox said. “He will sing all the time and tries to do the notes that they do and everything so I’m sure the music is in him.”
Cox said he is going to try and get Carter to make an appearance on Tunes Tuesday, a Facebook Live event Cox tries to do most Tuesdays around 6 p.m.
“It’s just trying to get the music out there and get more of the community involved on the page,” Cox said. “I’m trying to stay active and they can ask questions or request music whatever they want.”
Shannon Cox will be playing at 6 p.m., Dec. 21 before the Zach Rushing Comedy Show at Hubs Pub in Bonne Terre, from 6 to 9 p.m., Dec. 27 at Hubs Pub in Bonne Terre, and from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Dec. 31 at the Twin Eagle Lake NYE Party in Potosi. The Black Diamond Band will be performing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Dec. 28 at Game Six in St. Louis.
Follow Shannon Cox Music on Facebook for up to date information on performances and to catch a Tunes Tuesday live event.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com