When it came time to record an album for his Greenville-based family band the Sugar, Shannon Clark wanted an experienced producer. The Americana act, performing at Bacon Fest at Lincoln Park Civic Commons in Kettering on Saturday, Aug. 28, hired Grammy-winner Mark Howard to produce “Marks on the Wall,” which was self-released in July.
Howard, who has worked with Bob Dylan, U2, Lucinda Williams and other big names, traveled to Darke County in October 2020 and recorded the exceptional new album with Clark (vocals, guitar), his wife Brittany (drums) and their teenage daughter Navie (keyboards, vocals).
Shannon: “Working with Mark was great. I’d never hired a producer, but I wanted to go a different route this time and try something new. When he said yes, our schedule was a little weird. I wanted to record in December but he couldn’t.”
Brittany: “Mark said, ‘If you want me in the next 18 months, it’s got to be October.’”
Mark: “I was attracted to Shannon’s songwriting skills. He writes really great songs. I really liked the lyrics and the vocal harmonies they were doing. I knew I could make a good record with them.”
Shannon: “When Mark records somebody, he wants 20 demo songs so I had a month to deliver the material. I had about five songs written that I thought had some good potential and I had parts of some others. Brittany and I wrote this album together so we basically wrote 16 more songs in 30 days.”
Mark: “It was quite interesting. They rented this house in Greenville, but when I got down there, we realized we couldn’t record there. It was right beside the road, so there was too much noise and it would’ve been a lot of work to soundproof it. We looked at some other locations but nothing really worked. I said, ‘Well, let’s just make it in the garage.’ I hadn’t recorded an album in a garage in probably 30 years but it worked out really well. We made the whole album there and it sounded amazing.”
Brittany: “We basically sat in a circle so we could see each other. We’d get a song worked up to where Mark liked it and then track it. Most of the vocals were live too. It was great.”
Shannon: “Mark really added some beautiful things and some really interesting sounds. I wouldn’t have done a lot of the songs on there the way he did because I have a one-track mind. He got us out of our comfort zones and the record is better for it.”
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HOW TO GO
What: Bacon Fest featuring Shannon Clark & the Sugar
Where: Lincoln Park Civic Commons, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering
When: 3-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.
More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com
Artist info: www.shannonclarksugar.com
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