2016 - Women Who Rock
When Shannon Price was very young, she can only remember that music was her center. Shannon knew all her mom’s and older sister’s favorite songs, and could sit on the organ bench and pick them out on the keyboards.
At the age of five Price’s mom began sending her to lessons on the organ, not the piano, because Shannon loved the organ keyboard, bass pedals and drawbars. When in the third grade, Shannon wanted to play the violin because her sister did. She started lessons, and picked it up easily. Recitals and contests followed for both the organ and the violin, but with little interest from Price.
Whenever possible, Shannon and her brother would “entertain” everyone who came to the house, or even just their parents by pretending to be actors and musicians.
Price picked up her dad’s guitar at the age of 12, wanting to become a folk singer. She got a book of chords and stayed in her room playing and learning the guitar. The next year Price’s sister gave her a 12-string guitar, which went everywhere with her. Shannon’s family couldn’t really afford the cost of lessons at that time, so she continued to teach herself.
As a teenager Price’s interest was only in playing and singing. She would stay in her room and learn songs from Carly Simon, James Taylor, Joan Baez, anything and everything, and then teach her friends those same songs.
Price and her boyfriend, who played bass, began playing in coffee houses at the age of 15. After high school and into college, she put a band together. That was the beginning of getting keyboard after keyboard and loving the different sounds from each one. Price was the lead singer and keyboardist for each configuration of the band, starting out locally in the Louisville, KY area, where she lived, and after college the band took to the road to play music full-time. The band was picked up by two agencies from Wisconsin and Minneapolis that booked them from Florida to Canada and everywhere in between.
Shannon left the original band in 1980 and joined a band out of Fargo, ND where she was in charge of hiring other band members. Bruce Breazeale from Iowa City was one of her additions, and it was immediately a soul mate experience. In 1983 Price and Breazeale formed their own band, the Holiday Road Band. They found players from Iowa and kept rolling on the road from North to South and East to West.
Price left the road life in 1992 as Bruce became terminally ill. The couple moved to his hometown of Iowa City, which had become her home as well since the early 1980’s. Together, they got to know the local music scene and played many places with lots of well-known Iowa City area musicians until Bruce’s illness caught up with him and he was in the hospital more than out. After 21 musical years together, Breazeale passed away on Christmas Eve, 2001. After that time, Shannon worked at West Music as the Corporate Studio Coordinator and also ran the Weekend Warrior program and wrote a monthly article for Making Music Magazine.
Putting Holiday Road Band back together in 2003-2004 was possible and an exciting possibility for Price. Guitar and vocals from Walter Seaman was and still is one of the highlights of the never-ending Holiday Road Band story. With a current stellar configuration of Holiday Road Band, the group is still rolling on, performing just
in Iowa now, and loving it.
“The things that ensued all those years on the road are numerous and I could write a very interesting novel. Times were fun, not so fun, tragic and ridiculous, but all of it was fantastic and I would do it again,” says Price. “I love being called Legendary and the queen of the rock road, it’s a legacy earned from birth.”