Shannon Williams grew up on a tobacco farm in the piedmont of North Carolina and got his first banjo as a high school graduation gift. He taught himself to play over the following summer and just never stopped. Shannon has started numerous bluegrass and Americana bands, including the Americana group "Second Draw" with whom he has played since 2005. In the 13 years he has played with Second Draw, which includes release of two albums titled “White Dog" and "The Last Draw", Shannon has been able to hone his distinctive three finger banjo playing style as well as his song writing abilities. More recently, Shannon teamed up with flat picker guitarist, Jay Gallimore and Bassist, Gerry Choate, both from Central Virginia to form a trio group called the GO-TOs.
Music has been an important part of Jay’s life since early childhood. His earliest recollection of taking an interest in music goes back to the early seventies and a Kingston Trio record from his dad’s collection; that record is now in Jay’s collection. He recalls repeatedly setting the needle on the vinyl and singing along with Tom Dooley. His interest in music continued and began to evolve to include 70’s rock.
Jay played the clarinet and snare drum in his Middle School band. He got his first guitar at the age of 15 and learned to play using an instructional book that transcribed songs by the Eagles made easy for guitar. Soon after learning to play, the lure of the electric guitar and rock and roll began to take hold. Jay played in a rock band called Isosceles during High School with two of his friends. After High School, his interest in music continued to evolve drifting back to acoustic folk/rock and country. Jay played in an acoustic duo called Landslide during this time period.
It wasn’t long after Landslide disbanded that Jay was exposed to the music of guitar legend Tony Rice and the musical genera’s of Bluegrass and Newgrass. Jay considers this exposure to be the biggest influence on his musical experience; it would forever change his perception of and desire to play the acoustic guitar.
Over the years, Jay has and still enjoys playing music jams and participating in open mics. He is excited to be writing a new chapter in his musical book of memories with Shannon and Gerry.