Cry Tough

Page 5 of 5

Still, when Shannon acknowledges a young guitarist -- like the young Winter, the adolescent Stevie Ray -- people should perhaps take heed. Shannon and Layton have recorded an album with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. "He's 19," Shannon says of Shepherd. "This guy Johnny Lang is 16, another guy in town here, Guitar Jay, I think he's 16. He's incredible -- I first played with him when he was seven years old at Ann Richards's inaugural ball. Give 'em a chance; what do they expect of 'em at this age?" Shannon says, still taking young guitar slingers seriously when few other professionals will.

"I also got to play with Clapton, the Stones, Jeff Beck, Little Richard. Can you imagine that?" he marvels, like some provincial musician. I point out something that seems to elude Tommy Shannon: They also got to play with him.

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Josh Alan Friedman