On Shannon Labrie’s debut album Just Be Honest, she kicks off the proceedings by staring down her demons and admonishing her biggest fears with “Secret,” a retro-R&B influenced song laced with vibrant horns. The young songwriter comes by her fears honestly, battling a serious (and ongoing) illness at age 9 and losing her father at 14. She grew up fast, at first rebelling, then spending several years on a curious solo journey across the country studying philosophy, theology and writing songs before settling into Nashville’s thriving independent music scene.
Adept on the piano and guitar, the singer/songwriter says she was “raised on James Taylor and Lauren Hill.” Music Connection named her as one of the “Best Unsigned Artists of 2012” and she was featured alongside Brooke Waggoner, Matthew Perryman Jones and others on the Nashville Indie Spotlight, a digital sampler available exclusively on iTunes.
Just Be Honest, which was released by Zodlounge Records, debuted in the Top Ten of iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart in February 2013. Perhaps the song that has gotten the most attention is “I Remember A Boy,” backed by soulful guitar tones that hint at Daniel Lanois. The track was an American Songwriter “Daily Discovery” and Bob Lefsetz singled it out in The Lefsetz Letter, noting: “This track affected me. Made me believe like the great singer-songwriters of yore, maybe this woman has something to say. That in this crazy, mixed-up, shook-up world she can illuminate her story and people can relate.”
The title song is a lush, rich plea that would fit alongside a playlist that includes Carole King and Norah Jones. “Gettin’ Tired” reveals Shannon’s penchant for jazz, a gift from her father, who “played original, complicated and beautiful songs regardless of the fact that he was never professionally trained,” she shares. “Heartache of Love” showcases her talent on piano and reveals her more intimate side, reveling in the feelings of love and loss, while a contagious optimism shoves the dark clouds aside in “Love Somebody.”
“In my darkest moments of loss, doubt and pain, I’ve been shown what it looks like to love someone and to be loved. My closest friends didn't run, didn't give up, and didn't let me sink. They stuck with me and brought me to the other side,” recalls Labrie. “I hope my music can do the same for someone else.”