BCE Publishing, Inc.
The moving tones of Chuck Cannon’s voice and guitar music will reverberate through Monticello’s opera on Saturday, October 2 from 8 p.m.
It’s kind of like a homecoming for the Nashville-based country singer / songwriter / storyteller. Although born and raised in the low country of South Carolina, Cannon spent many childhood summers around the head of the Wacissa River here in Jefferson County with parents from the Boland branch of his family. He always comes back often and for Saturday’s concert you might not find a venue closer to Cannon’s musical roots.
Her lyrics to “Flies on the Butter” (recorded by Wynona Judd) are reminiscent of the “old tin roof, leaves in the gutter, hole in the fist-sized screen door” of her grandmother’s house in Wacissa, Ethel Boland. They echo experiences like her first kiss and a friend’s firefly lamp that “can bring you back to the place but can’t take you back in time.”
Summers in Wacissa included singing in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, founded by her grandmother Boland.
âThey would hold me up and make me sing a special, with my Aunt Edna playing the piano,â Cannon recalls. âThe church, Jesus and God have been a big part of my life for as far as I can remember. I grew up in the church, in the “education and admonishment” of my father’s church in Myrtle Beach. “
It’s no surprise that spiritual experiences, perspectives and themes shine through in many of his songs, including “If I Was Jesus”, “Give God the Blues”, “Jimmy Johnny and Jesus”, “Oh My Lord” , “Heaven”, and “Preacher Drinking Whiskey”.
In his youth, Cannon and his cousins ââwere often mesmerized by the scary stories and stories told by his uncle, Charles Boland, from Wacissa, which he told his friends. He continued to cultivate his talent for “spinning threads” into an art form that eventually became an integral part of his performances.
âPeople thought it was crazy to want to get into the music business,â Boland recalls. “He did well, though. Everyone loves his songs and stories. I’m proud of him.”
Cannon says he encountered many naysayers early on who couldn’t see his dream come true.
“I just didn’t believe them when they told me I couldn’t do it. They couldn’t see it, but I could see it.”
Cannon does not identify any particular opportunity or event that took his scratching career from a small town to a global audience.
âEvery day of my life I’ve been like, ‘Am I going to be what everyone thinks I’m going to be or what I want to be?’.
He encourages others to listen to their hearts, to listen to their creator, and to follow the desire he believes God places in their hearts.
Cannon can’t remember a single day he didn’t get up and work on a song. His impressive list of successes certainly reflects this work ethic. Country superstar Toby Keith has recorded several of his songs, including hits “American Soldier” (2003) and “How Do You Like Me Now” (1999). John Michael Montgomery’s recording of his song “I Love the Way You Love Me” (1992) was named Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. In 2007, Cannon was honored by Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) for showing eight million performances, and artists around the world recorded more than 25 million broadcasts of his songs.
Other mega-stars he has worked with range from pop artists Paul Carrack (Mike & The Mechanics, Squeeze and Ace) to folk rock Shawn Mullins, Rodney Crowell and Antje Duvekot, to country artists George Jones, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and George Strait, to euro-pop supergroup BoyZone and 80s rock superstar band NightRanger.
âRight now I’m working with an amazing gospel artist, Russ Taff, on a new record,â Cannon says.
His critically acclaimed solo music projects include “God Shaped Hole”, “Love and Money” and “Symphony of Scars”, and he has completed a spoken word project titled “True Stories and Other Lies: Volume One”.
Music critic Jim Simpson of “No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music” calls Cannon a “masterful guitarist, his style ranged from bluesy to classical to Irish / folk, all completely convincingâ¦ Throughout the night whether singing or telling stories, Cannon often had the audience in the palm of his hand – the man is an extremely gifted artist. “
Cannon is, above all, a songwriter, and no one performs a song like the author of that song. His unique guitar style and captivating stories make for captivating live performances that will make you want more.
Tickets for the October 2 show are $ 27 and can be purchased in advance from the Monticello Opera through their website monticellooperahouse.org, by calling (850) 997-4242 or by stopping by the office at 185 W. Washington St., Monticello. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the show, while supplies last. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and the lobby and cash / credit card bar will open at 7:00 p.m., serving beer, wine and cocktails.