Having to cancel a tour of around 50 dates when COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, Shannon says he’s been home the whole time, digging a veggie patch and being a dad. Having missed a lot of dad time with his older children because of touring, he’s enjoying being at home for his and wife Rochelle’s youngest child, Colton, who was born last year.
“It’s been good,” he says of the time spent with his family, “but I don’t know when we can go back to touring. It’s going to be hard to leave him [Colton]. Every time I walk out the door he starts yelling, ‘Dad! Dad! Dad!’
Bayldon Ag managing director Paul Nicholl reflects on his relationship with the popular singer. “Our grandfathers lived near each other in Tullibigeal; we grew up together,” he says.
“Shannon used to play Aussie rules football with us,” he adds, looking at Shannon as they laugh like schoolboys, making jokes about whether Noll could have gone professional or not. He played the sport in Sydney after he left school, which is where he met his wife, Rochelle.
Shannon and Paul deny they have any distant family relation, but they’re obviously good friends with families that go back generations together – the Nicholl family from Condobolin, and the Noll family from Tullibigeal.
As a youngster in Condobolin, Shannon learned to play music and is self-taught.
“There’s not a lot to do out there so you just teach yourself,” he says. “I don’t read dots or anything.”
Shannon is passionate about music and has a strong drive to perform. But he is also comfortable among good friends and people he knows well, and enjoys being at home on his seven-acre property, digging that veggie patch and being a good dad.
The entertainment industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions, with venues and tour dates postponed for at least six months. Shannon says he doesn’t know of any support specifically organised for musicians, and his brother, Adam, has to stay isolated because his wife, Kim, has an autoimmune disease so he hasn’t been physically in touch with his extended family or the outside world.
When asked if Australia can expect a new album from Shannon after isolation ends, he says he’s writing but it’s hard going via video conferencing apps.
“Have you ever tried to write songs using video conferencing?” he says, shaking his head. “I try to use it to work some stuff up, but you can’t hear yourself and then you can’t hear other people. It just doesn’t really work for music. We’re writing some songs, and although we haven’t announced anything, we’ll probably have some new ones.”
Shannon is fiercely supportive of Australian Defence Force veterans, and for ANZAC Day this year he donated the proceeds of his cover song, I Was Only 19, to veteran’s charity Soldier On to support former ADF personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Next time you need farming supplies, drop by Bayldon Ag in Queanbeyan and you might see a couple of boys from Condobolin talking about chainsaws and reminiscing about footy.